At Greenwich St. Jewelers we often ask, “What inspires you?” As artists, professionals, family members, community members, and as women… We want to hear about what lights that spark of creativity. How to keep on going and get things done, or how to finally rest and let it all go. And maybe most of all, how to realize that there are precious “gems” (if you allow us that shameless jewelry metaphor) in every experience and environment. Here’s our first installment in a series about inspiration.
This past March, I decided to treat myself to a special trip for my 45th birthday. The goal was to do something creative, fun and new. There’s nothing quite like giving your brain a shake-up with a new activity and a beginner’s mind.
In my research I discovered FlowerSchool NY, a place where top international florists teach aspiring florists. To be honest, my experience with flowers didn’t extend past buying a few bodega bouquets and rearranging them in a vase, so this seemed a bit of a reach. But when I saw they were hosting a trip to Mexico which included workshops at Frida Kahlo’s Blue House and in San Miguel de Allende — two experiences that had been “on my list” for years — I immediately dashed off an email to ask if total newbies were welcome. SPOILER ALERT: the answer was yes.
Less than 3 weeks later I found myself in Mexico City with Master Floral Designer Ingrid Carozzi of Tin Can Studios, the FlowerSchool NY team and the rest of the group, from serious hobbyists to professionals. Big GULP. My nerves were for naught however, as it became pretty clear that what we’d be learning was more than working with flowers, it was about the creative process — not only as artists and professionals, but as people. And it got me thinking about how I could apply that creativity to my work at Greenwich St. Jewelers.
The first day in Mexico City was spent at Frida Kahlo’s famous Blue House. Our workshop was in Kahlo’s courtyard that day, which, no surprise, was an incredible environment. The initial assignment from Ingrid was to find inspiration in the story of Frida herself.
Ingrid was quick to point out that while Frida made the paintings we love, she was also in a lot of physical pain, and lived a challenging life. Creativity doesn’t just come from things we find immediately beautiful. You can use the beauty and the pain, even things that seem weird and off-kilter to enrich an aesthetic, or to simply shift your perspective.
In Ingrid’s demo arrangement, stunning in her signature untamed style, there were wild native blooms blended with unusual ingredients like overripe fruit and dried tomatillos. I tried to wipe my mind of fear and expectation and simply enjoy the process of working with the astonishingly vibrant flowers. The result was that I took my time (I was the last one done 2+ hours later) and ultimately completed an arrangement I was proud of. Check it out below:
Next, we were charged with making a grand arrangement with the inspiration prompt of a traditional Mexican embroidered shirt. This seemed like quite a stretch to me. However, after Ingrid’s demo where she taught us about restraint of with a neutral palette and how to add pops of color, I felt encouraged to give it the old college try. It turned out restraint was a little challenging for me - no surprise - being the only participant designing with a hand full of Jamie Joseph rings!
For the final workshop we traveled to San Miguel de Allende. There was inspiration everywhere in this stunning colonial city. It was impossible not to be seduced by the rich hues of mustard, terracotta, and burgundy, juxtaposed with vibrant bougainvillea, reminiscent of the palette of Jane Taylor spring jewels we just got in! This project would be our most comprehensive: an event concept for a mock client, including floral and table design. Ingrid showed us how she uses mood boards and considers all different aspects of the client’s personality, taste, and intentions to create a tailored experience.
One of the greatest lessons I learned on the trip was of collaboration and community. There was something that felt so uniquely kind — and inspiring — in how Ingrid shared her creative process transparently, from a place of compassion and generosity. She is an artist who lives by the principle of helping other artists.
Obviously, this trip was a privilege, so it’s clear that I was inspired by such a beautiful place, and a curated experience. But what I came away with were ideas that were simple and will stick with me as tenets in my creative life. In fact, they’ve already been put to use.
At Greenwich St. Jewelers we’ve recently started doing seasonal campaign shoots, which are big productions and something relatively new for us. Using what I learned, saw and felt in Mexico, I crafted story and mood for our spring campaign, considering the similarities between floral design and jewelry: it’s about the details, unexpected moments and evoking emotion.
The Greenwich St. Jewelers’ spring campaign and collection gave me a reason to rethink the ways I believe jewelry is meaningful. On a superficial level, it’s about how jewelry can accent a well-lived life. But deep down, I know it can improve life.
To me, it’s more than adornment. The process of collecting and wearing jewelry is about acquiring things you really love, pieces that speak to you, and that make you happy. Jewelry can make you feel more finished, add bits of beauty to your day, or help celebrate an important moment in your life. On an even deeper level, you might consider your jewelry as a kind of magical power talisman, as I do.
So, working that into the shoot, you’ll notice the how directly the color palette was influenced by our travels and the workshop inspirations. I wanted the colors and the light to feel fresh, and to channel the energy of a woman living her best life —aligned, intentional, confident.
All in all, the basics behind what inspired me on this trip and later on in our shoot can happen anytime, anywhere. Carving out space and energy to try new things, finding a like-minded community, looking for the beauty in the environment, and most of all, looking to the example of other artists. They’re lessons I’ll hold onto for life.