Today will be a different day in the Atelier….for an old friend has come back and I feel that it is a great time to pause and take notice. So I won’t share stamping projects today but I will share…share things that are dear to my heart. There are people and things that make a lasting impression on your life. Some of these people and things remain constant parts of our lives, others are intersections, and yet others are dear to us and then leave us. But the impact, learning, and exchanges that take place forever change us. From the Atelier today I wish to share the return of an old friend, memories of a past friend.
Many years ago two such events took place in my life. The very first edition of Victoria magazine was released in 1987. Each and every month brought new aspects of life of another time…yet it guided us in ways to impart these gracious aspects into living today. In 2003 I was so saddened to get a notice in the mail that Victoria would cease publication. Four empty years and then the notice that it would return…elation, exuberance, and exhilaration almost euphoric sensations took hold of me.
Founded in 1987 by Nancy Lindemeyer, Victoria was the authority on romantic living, home and garden, fashion and beauty, food, home decorating, collectibles, and profiles of remarkable women. Its mission was to create a community of kindred spirits – those who recognize the importance of beauty, manners, and tradition in our daily life.
Victoria Magazine featured, I believe in it’s debut issue, Georgia Vance, a very remarkable woman. This gracious lady was a wife of a retired US Army officer (like me), and was our nation’s leading authority on dried flowers. Some of her magnificent arrangements decorated the Diplomatic Receptions rooms of the US State Department and famous homes and palaces. She lectured nationally and conducted workshops at her farm in Virginia.
I was living in Germany employed by the US Army at this time but was most fortunate when I was back in the states and got a copy of Victoria magazine’s first publication. For the next two years I had friends send me the magazine, from which I devoured each and every detail. Being a “Southern lady” I love all aspects of gracious living on a daily basis. The magazine so impacted my life that in the summer of 1991 when Michael and I married, I incorporated many aspects of Victorian living in the Victorian lawn party we hosted for our Wedding Celebration. We had letterpressed invitations and I had the pleasure of meeting two wonderfully talented ladies that introduced me to the world of print pressing in the traditional manner.
That year brought many other changes into my life. I left government service and began to study floral design. I had the best of teachers in Michael Polychrome and yes, you guessed it…Georgia Vance. I also met Joan Machinchick, a master calligrapher, whose work Flourishes,llc is proud to share with people through our stamps. In a sense my own Pandora’s Box had been opened. A metamorphosis had begun.
I had the pleasure of attend a long weekend workshop at Georgia Vance’s elegant farm home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is no way I can possibly impart the impression of that time with this gracious and talented lady and her sister Lurena Mae Shank. To learn floral design was my intent…my reason for being there. Oh, but what I came away with was so much more. You see, Georgia Vance embodied all the gracious aspects of life and elegant living into everyday living. Classes came with morning coffee, and afternoon tea no styro cup here…beautiful porcelain cups, silver trays, small croissants, and linen napkins. Each meal there was a treat, each different, each special, each with the correct but unimposing elements of china and crystal. Each and every detail was attended to, but never did I feel overwhelmed or as if I had come unknowing of these aspects of life. For Georgia Vance, it was her way of life. Her teaching manner was the same way. I could expound for long periods over all I learned there and took away with me. When I was ready to travel home I called Mike. He asked how it had been, what I had learned..I was exuberant and announced that now I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up (I was no spring chick at this time)…I wanted to be a Georgia Vance! She remains my internal bar of excellence, my inspiration in being a teacher, and mentor that has given me a torch to carry and pass on to those that travel days and time with me.
I talked with Georgia sometime in 2000. We had a lovely chat and I told her of my dream of the Studio, my Atelier and Flourishes, that flowers would for me become an ad-vocation rather than a vocation…she told me that she felt life would be good. It was our last chat. Georgia Vance died at the age of 94 in Nov 2002. We had walked our days together.
My passion for teaching, work in the Atelier, the smell of the inks when I silk screen, the feel of a stamp in my hand, the thrill at the stages of conceptulizing a drawing and then bringing it to becoming a stamp that others will then impart their personal touch in their artistic expression, to bring together another community of kindred spirits…they are all part of my very core.
This week when this new re-introduction finally came I was thrilled. A elegant friend had returned. Phyllis Norton Hoffman has returned our Victoria. The magazine is as elegant in photos and execution–it is as if it had never ceased to be…..perhaps even if it was only in our hearts and soul, it had not! For it is as beautiful and wonderful as ever. The photographs are beautiful, pages so inspiring, a sense of joy and beauty abounds…it is Victoria! Thank you Phyllis Norton Hoffman and Hoffman Media,LLC. Let the ball begin for this princess!
Then truly surprised as I leafed thru Victoria’s new pages I found even more to cherish– for a young friend of mine now graced a page in Victoria. Could this be? Could it be that twice, in both of the first releases 1987 and 2007, of Victoria would be remarkable women that greatly touched my life? First, Georgia Vance and now in it’s rebirth of Victoria a friend would grace the inaugural pages of Victoria. This talented lady, Marcella Hawley, is a dear and special friend to Flourishes,llc. Please come back tomorrow when I will share that with you from here at the Atelier.
Ciao for now.