Archive for June, 2012
Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
We have always been huge fans of Mary Engelbreit. We love her work, loved her Home Companion magazine because she supported artists and so beautifully shared how to, what and why. So today I, Deb Carruth, am writing this blog because we are so excited to introduce The Mary Engelbreit Collection by George Carruth! Doesn’t a great story begin with… it came to be one day when….well it did come to be as I was perusing the web and decided to take a look at Mary’s website. Intrigued to see the licensing opportunities button I took a look see. It came to me that creating some of Mary’s designs in stone would be a wonderful idea. This probably sounds ghoulish, but my comment to George was “this is just what I would do if you were dead! I would try to find great artwork to re-create.” George’s response was basically, ”why do I have to be dead?!” Which of course is absolutely true. He also responded with, “I’m not sure I can do her work justice.” Which is absolutely untrue.
I quickly sent off an email to the info contact asking if we could indeed work with Mary Engelbreit. Almost immediately, my computer binged with a very happy and friendly email stating yes absolutely, Mary would be so pleased and honored to work with George.
This took me by surprise as George and I had only a brief discussion regarding the idea. The ball was now in the air and conversations began in earnest around the idea of whether or not to take on this project. The difficulty was George felt unsure about re-creating her work as his work is monochromatic and Mary’s is alive with color. George just wasn’t confident it would translate to the level he demands. Part of this uncertainty also had to do with the reality that George can only create so many designs within a year…so time became integral to the discussion.
Meanwhile Mary’s staff diligently followed up with me…repeatedly… more often than I like to admit, even going so far as to arrive at our showroom in the Atlanta AmericasMart. John Mavrakis, integral to Mary’s team, laughed with me & pointedly asked what was the hold up. To make a long story a little shorter, I responded that it was really a matter of convincing George that he should go for it. The awkwardness for me was that I put this ball in the air without having given George the time to thoroughly absorb the idea and get on board. So when George voiced reluctance, I felt that I had put both he and I in a compromised position, a position of embarrassment with Mary Engelbreit. It was truly a catch 22 for me as I had initiated the idea and Mary’s team had responded so very positively. Frankly I felt pretty foolish. The motto, nothing ventured nothing gained comes to mind, but still…………oh my.
Obviously and happily, George came around. He gave it a great deal of thought and I believe he took it on, in part, because he believed in me. Thank you George! The turning point occurred when George received a packet from Mary, pouring over 200 images, & contemplating the best to re-create in stone. We had piles of yes, no & maybe all over our dining room table, finally settling on 5 of our favorites. A Mother’s plaque, a nativity, two iconic Engelbreit images, and a new concept altogether we dubbed the “forever postcard” complete with a pencil for creating the message.
The man sculpted day and night. I kid you not & do not exaggerate ever about his work ethic! He worked and worked and worked. George typically sculpts 10 hours/day well into the night. For this project it was 16…..Welcome to our life!
Photographs of the work were sent back and forth to Mary & a plan was put in place to visit her studio the end of May in order to personally present the designs!
Truly it was a pressure cooker at the studio in order to get the designs made from the original sculpey piece to our cast versions. Short video filling molds for the collection. Then the excitement of the first cast piece and which patina do we like best. While it was intense, it is also what makes it all such fun.
Off we went to St. Louis for our visit with the Mary Engelbreit team and Mary herself. Her studio is just what you would expect..full of color & happiness. It was a delightful meeting of like minded people. I can’t tell you how content we feel with this endeavor and how excited we are to see the response to this collection. Formal introduction of these first 5 pieces will be the end of July…so hold onto your hats!