Saturday, May 2, 2009

For your eyes only II:
The Big Idea

Ryan and Melissa are both energetic, creative, multi-faceted people. They met at the University of Alberta where they both went to grad school for Speech Pathology, the field in which they both work now. Ryan remembers being impressed on their first date when, after he scoffed that there was no way Melissa would finish her enormous Scottish meat pie, she replied that she could, and she did (following it with dessert). They find as much joy being out in the hills and mountains near their home in High River as they do on the myriad worn stone terraces dotting the Italian coast, where they went for Ryan’s brother’s wedding. Ryan writes and produces music, and Melissa is part of a scrapbooking group and is a founding member of The Unicorns, a club she started with several classmates back in school. They have a wide circle of close friends involved in activities ranging from mountaineering, to networking, and nightclub ownership to administration. On their first night at our house for dinner, they offered to wash the dishes and I got to see Melissa’s endearingly cute smile. They are equal parts geek chic and gregarious. They’re involved. They’re in there. They are wonderful.

When Aaron and I visited them in High River, they told us of their travels, together and apart, through Italy and Morocco, places they visited together (like Cinque Terre),

things they did besides each other, like stomping grapes,

things they saw

and things they brought back, like these Moroccan lanterns

and this goat skin lamp.

The reverence in their voices when talking about travelling was readily apparent, so it was to these faraway places that I nudged my thoughts in putting together our second proposal.

When Ryan and Melissa were last in Edmonton, he casually mentioned that they wanted suggestions on wall treatments for the reception venue to add more colour, namely fabric for draping. The venue is a rustic and beautiful lodge on Vancouver Island, with pale walls and taupe carpet.

Ryan's request presented a challenge. Checking my resources around the city, I wasn’t able to find fabric I could buy in large quantities while keeping within their budget and so I wandered the catacombs of memory in search of something else. And then it came to me: paper!

Aaron and I went to Staples to suss out prices for paper, and paper definitely fits within their budget.

We’d used paper for an installation in art school to great success (I got an A on the project), and, it so happened, in the colours Ryan wanted for their wedding,

so I knew the medium could work wonderfully for them. (And there are school and paperwork and scrapbooking connotations as well! How cool is that?) And so, armed with a new|old medium and source of inspiration, our thoughts turned to what to do with it.

We could crumple it,

cut it,

roll it,

sculpt and layer it,

hang it grid style,

even mold it into irresistibly delicious clouds of exhaust (these papers are cupcake wrappers).

(All photos are of Anthropologie store or window displays—I urge you click here for a Google Image Search. Their visual people are geniuses. They even managed to make me love marshmallows. Marshmallows, for Jeebus’ sake! But I digress.)


Our concept had to be relatively simple to execute, as we would be decorating with the help of Ryan and Melissa's friends and relatives, rather than our usual crew. We were also bound by the usual event decorating restrictions (i.e. no nails in the walls...luckily, we are at least allowed tape and candles). I returned my thoughts to Ryan and Melissa’s happy place and waited for something to come. be continued...

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