monday’s can be a little rough so i thought i’d try to make it a little better by giving you the march calendar a day early :)
i love march…those first few days when you realize a light jacket is enough, the trees begin to come alive again and the air isn’t quite so bitter, you leave work and it’s still light outside…it’s the best feeling. i am very much anti-winter but it’s worth suffering through just for the sweet feeling when spring thaws the earth.
i think our graphic designers captured that feeling perfectly with the march calendar… click here to go to our flickr page, where you have the choice of downloading either the regular or widescreen version.
earlier this week i had the wonderful opportunity to visit the studio of floral and event designer sullivan owen, which just opened in queens village in philadelphia. i love talking to people who are passionate about what they do…their love for their craft is infectious. i could have spent an entire day in her beautiful studio listening to her talk about the artistry behind floral arrangements and watching her work.
when designing her studio space, sullivan wanted to use a soothing palette with shades of soft gray and white so that when entering the space, your attention goes straight to the flowers. indeed- when i walked in, my eyes were immediately drawn to the pops of color peppering the studio.
when she was younger, sullivan worked at one of the first urban outfitters stores. she recalls the president of the company visiting often to chat with employees and see how the store was doing, and it was a huge inspiration for her to see someone with a dream who was able to make such a successful career out of it. her dream was to tie together her fine arts background with her love of flowers, which is exactly what she is doing today.
in addition to floral arrangements, sullivan owen offers complete event design – from mood boards and color palettes to textiles like bouquet wraps and table linens. to her it is about creating an entire atmosphere- an idea that reminded me very much of our free people stores.
bits of inspiration from around the studio: vintage knick knacks, beaded belts, books and handmade table linens from her own wedding.
a beautiful wall of vases and jars that can be rented for events – with the exception of the shelf of vintage glass bottles, which are her private collection inherited from her grandfather and serve as inspiration.
when i arrived, sullivan was in the back finishing up an arrangement, and i sat and watched while she talked excitedly about how the floral industry is starting to attract a younger audience of people who appreciate the fine arts. with her own background in the arts, her approach to putting together an arrangement is very much like an artist painting a picture – paying special attention to color and texture, and layering in a way that is also almost like fashion.
a mood board hangs over her work table and incorporates fashion, color and landscape – all things she thinks about when putting together a bouquet.
the flowers sullivan works with are all very special – for example at top left, a ranunculus that comes from japan where these delicate flowers are designed to be perfect. the one at bottom right is a dutch variety of the ranunculus, with a really unique color gradation. at top right is the anemone, a beautiful black and white flower with hints of purple that is one of her favorites to work with.
above and below are what she calls the “spare parts vase” – where the flowers go if they’re cut the wrong length, the stems break or they just don’t make it into a final design. she doesn’t like to throw them away, plus they’re quite beautiful!
she gave me a quick little lesson in putting together the above bouquet, and then i tried my own:
i think i could use some help… luckily sullivan is going to be holding classes at her studio so you can go learn all about how to put together the perfect bouquet, and then take it home with you :) i will definitely be attending! you can find more info on the classes here.
the studio is open by appointment only – i definitely recommend checking it out. go see the website for more info and to see more photos of her incredible work: sullivanowen.com.
i adore these globes by ImagineNations! they take vintage globes and decoupage artwork onto them, and they also do custom commissions. what a rad idea. i would love a patchwork globe… hint hint display team!
our vintage buyer brought an article over to jemma about how to feng shui your desk at work, and i immediately decided my desk needed a makeover. my feng shui was all wrong… and with the beautiful weather we’re having today it felt like a good time to do some spring cleaning!
here’s what my workspace looked like before – a cluttered mess!
to feng shui my desk i followed the instructions above as well as i could with what i have here at work. i put my plant, dreamcatcher and buddha figurine in the back left (or top left) area, with a photo of the sunset over the pacific in the background to make it feel as zen as possible. the bottom left area has a collage of photos from my latest trip, just kids, “music we like” from amoeba (a great music reference), my little journal and peaceful accents of blue. at the top right i have photos of loved ones and notes and cards from friends at work, and at the bottom right i hung some scraps of fabric to inspire creativity.
here’s the end result:
it may not look much different but it sure feels better! now i just need to feng shui my apartment…
good morning! today’s DIY is once again inspired by our spring store displays – specifically, the colorful silk scarves floating around the ceiling. our team dyed and hand-painted each one of these scarves themselves! i think they’re beautiful and such a great way to add some color to a space for spring.
what you need:
for our displays, our team used silk scarves from dharma trading co. and dye-na-flow silk dye.
the dye can be applied to the fabric by simply dipping it in the dye or by using a brush, squirt bottle or sponge to create different patterns on the scarf. once dry, iron the fabric for a few minutes to fix the dye, then wash in cool water with synthrapol and rinse.
i love the mixture of printed and solid scarves our team used!
if you check out the instructions for the silk dye here, there are a number of other cool dying methods you can try, such as sun printing:
i never heard of this method before but what you do is arrange cutouts or found objects like leaves and flowers on the fabric while the dye is still wet, and lay out in the sun for a couple of hours. when you remove the objects you’re left with ghosts of the shapes that look really beautiful.
i love the idea of sewing a bunch of scarves together like our display team did…they look like prayer flags. i am definitely going to try this and string them up in my apartment!
i mentioned artist sylvia marius the other day…we were particularly inspired by her deconstructed umbrella for our store displays, but as i was looking through her website i found myself completely in awe of all of her beautiful work. this quote helps give you an idea of where she’s coming from:
“I am an inexhaustible collector of fragments of life.
With these roots as my own vocabulary, I create fragile and
delicate objects with a more-than-uncertain use; scarified
sculptures put-back together by a hazy hand.
They are: Aerial objects, a sum of fragments put together from
end to end…
Often, in my world, things seem to hold each other together by
one thread. However, in reality, they are connected by several
her home looks incredibly inspiring as well:
“There is the first sight… Casting itself onto various objects.
Then… A gathering of objects: Building blocks fashioned from
a collection of testimonies:
Fragments of history, gathered during the constant
movement of life…
Fragments placed together for a purpose:
Observe… But particularly… Repair.”
in the dressing room area of our pittsburgh store, look up and you will see these amazing chandeliers made out of deconstructed paper umbrellas dancing overhead. they were inspired by the amazing work of artist sylvia marius:
i was immediately intrigued by them and went down to ask our display team how they were made. they were kind enough to give me a little lesson on how to do it and let me use their supplies to make my own! it’s actually not hard, as with most projects it just takes a little time and patience.
what you need:
a paper umbrella- you can find these in chinatown or online at amazon or party supply stores. don’t worry about the design or quality of the umbrella because you’re going to cut it up!
you’ll also need some cord or heavier string, thread, beads and scissors. i used some strips of fabric our display team had lying around as well, but just for decorative purposes.
our display team had some really pretty beads they let me use, but you can find beads at any craft or art supply store.
start by cutting the paper out from between all the framing – make sure not to cut the white string part! also our team, and i, opted to leave some of the paper on the frame because we like the way it looks and it gives the chandelier some color. i was able to pretty much just tear the paper right off, this part was easy.
for the next step, measure out pieces of string to reach from the end of one spoke to the end of the umbrella handle – i tied some of the fabric strips just below where i was attaching the string so it wouldn’t slip down – you could also tape it into place.
it’s ok if the spokes curve a little bit too – i actually liked how it looked that way. i also wrapped the entire handle in fabric strips… which i probably should have done before tying all the string on… ;)
now its time to start stringing beads! to leave spaces of empty string in between beads, just knot the thread around a bead and continue.
tie the strands of beads right to the spokes of the chandelier at random intervals.
and you’re done! hang the chandelier somewhere that you can admire it, and enjoy :)
even though our stores all get the same seasonal displays, there are always little touches our fp girls put into each one to make it unique. our new pittsburgh free people looks incredible, right down the tiny little details…
welcome to steel city!
i love all the oddly-angled beams. as for the scarves, our display team dyed and hand-panted each one themselves!
i adore this wall! it has such a great vintage, fifties feel.
and perhaps my favorite part, this suitcase filled with trinkets is amazing! i would love to do this as a way of commemorating a special trip…take the suitcase you used on the trip and adorn it with decorations and trinkets from your travels!
another gorgeous store! stay tuned because there’s one part i didn’t show you yet…
Hi! I’m Free People’s creative design assistant and February guest blogger! I consider myself lucky, because I get to help with the creative process in developing the image of Free People, and also have my hand in styling. I work directly under our creative director, who is best described as creative sunshine.
our creative director on our February catalog shoot preparing for the next shot.
Ok, so here are some tidbits from this catalog’s creation process: the concept was first outlined and sketched in a notebook by our creative director.
Here are some tears that were collected for inspiration on how we’d like the shoot to go before we get on location.
Finally shooting day arrives and the end result is like magic!
stay tuned for more posts from me this month, and check out my personal blog here!
i mentioned last week that we opened two new stores – one in houston and one in pittsburgh. they both debuted our new spring displays, making them a bright and inviting space beckoning for people to step out of the cold and inside their doors. our display team blows me away every time – this spring’s combination of strips of fabric in cheerful easter-egg shades, parasols and colorfully patch-worked suitcases is like a warm burst of sunshine for the soul.
here are some images from houston:
the scarves sewn together remind me of prayer flags!
this suitcase “sculpture” is beyond amazing…the suitcases are covered with fabric and dripping with trinkets that the free people girl has picked up on her travels.
beautiful work, display team! stay tuned for pittsburgh photos later this week.
today i have a special tour for you of the home of one of our visual display artists who lives out in california! she actually used to work here in the home office, but relocated to the west coast to work on displays for our stores in the western region. she’s very talented and the epitome of a free people girl, as you’ll see in the photos of her home and personal style.
i’m already jealous.
you can see that she has been hard at work – on our spring store displays!
i love the record player, and the requisite chewbacca mask – we have a bunch of them floating around home office :)
she told me that her grandmothers have been huge influences on her life. the photo at top left is her grandma ella, about whom she says, “she died when i was young, but i resemble her most and admire her work ethic and grace. she raised my dad and he raised me to explore and travel. he took me on trips across the country when i was young and as an adult. that father, daughter time has been so rewarding to me as an adult. we have been on a lot of adventures as a family!”
the most important thing in her home is the “wall of objects” at bottom right. she’s pointing to a photo of her grandmother joan, about whom she says “she taught me how to sew, crochet, knit, and cross stich. i spent a lot of time crafting with her. she and my mother taught me how to be creative in everything i do throughout the day. the two of these ladies have been very inspiring!” she also collected giraffe figurines, and the ones at bottom left were the first ones in her collection.
check out the slideshow for lots more photos of her lovely home!