Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It`s In The Message...!

I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support. As I write these blog posts, I want you all to know that I am chronichling experiences from the last year and so far we are still in late February and early March.  While things are on the upswing there are more pitfalls to come... Stay tuned.

Last week I did a book signing at the CITY FARMHOUSE SHOW in Franklin, Tennessee.  I shared more of my feelings about life and the community surrounding the vintage lifestyle.  It was a joy to be in the company of such delightful, like minded people. Here is a little of what I shared:

My name is Matthew Mead. You may know me from my work with Country Home magazine or Better Homes and Gardens. Or the work I've done with major American brands like Pottery Barn and Longaberger Basket.  If you follow my blog you may know that, like everything in our world, print publishing has taken a real hit, and the common past time of browsing the pages of your favorite magazine is a bit more rare.  The last few years have been a real struggle and have really given me pause and reflection. I believe that the rise of occasional sales and pop-up shows  like this has been a real effort to join this community together, and while the printed page doesn't unite us as much as it once did, it has been replaced by these gatherings and events and real smiling faces. Here we share positive  encouragement and real feelings that we express to each other in person as " I am here for you, friend."
I look for mirrors at these events. Not the framed, chippy, white ones or the mercury glass-like distressed ones.  But the reflections that I see in the dealers, the decorators, the collectors who make up the fabric of these gatherings.   It's all as much about the people as it is the pieces. We are a very special group. The innovators, the creators, the keepers of time and tradition. As I walk the spaces I marvel at the relationships, the families, best friends, spouses and business partners that come together around objects and art. We continue and ground the cycle of memories, ideas, the love of HARDWORK and the simple but important utility of items that bridge generation to generation. We share so much more than cool stuff and nicely staged displays. In a world filled with economic crisis, unspeakable acts of real terror and the fear of plagues, these shows bring like-minded, kindred spirits together to share in beauty, creativity and tradition - which is truly and whole-heartedly  the secret to the BEST PART OF LIFE.  

We all have a bit of nuttiness about us...and a sense of adventure. Decorating, staging, dealing in ginormous pieces of old furniture is hard work.  Moving cupboards in oversized vehicles with muddy fields, torrential rains and scary highways and by-ways isn't always memorable bliss. Yet these challenges lead to this type of community - one that is clearly magnetic, attractive, powerful and irrepressible.

As I move toward my future and transition to a new publisher (and only God knows what else), it is this community and sharing my part of it which gives me strength and hope. It affirms my belief that what I and what WE share together is so much more than leafing through the pages of a magazine.

In closing, as I think about our common qualities there is so much more than items that unite us.  We don't sit on ordinary couches or turn on an everyday lamp. We are connected to each and everything we collect and bring into our lives. We appreciate the storied lineage of our belongings and live to FEATHER OUR NESTS. We are in touch, grounded by our lifestyles and each other which connect and comfort us.  

Three things you might not know about me:

In fourth grade I was selected to work with a graduated student who was a film major. He helped me and a handful of other students make our own short films. I often wonder whatever happened to my directorial debut...

One time when Jenny and I first met, we purchased a rose oil-painting at the flea market for ten dollars, and sold it to a Nantucket shop for $500 dollars.  I cashed the check for $1 and $5 dollar bills and strewed the apartment with the cash. We felt like a million dollars!

In my twenties I would frequently run out of gas. The wrecker would arrive and try to charge me three dollars for fuel. I would exclaim, "If I had money, then I would have gas in the car!"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Come see us!

If you are in the area consider our upcoming November workshop classes. Email us at for details.

A quick description: 

November 9, 2014: Glass ball Christmas Diorama with mixed greens,
snow and woodland creatures
November 16, 2014: Thanksgiving centerpiece with fruits, nuts, and
November 23, 2014: Christmas wreath for your front door with natural
Each class is $100.00 dollars per person and comes with all supplies
necessary for completing each project. Class takes place from 1:30 to
4:30 Sunday afternoon at my studio. We will serve both savory and
sweet treats. One of our publications comes free with each class and
there will be fun prizes and giveaways at each event. Class spaces are
limited to ten people.To sign up and pre-pay, email Jenny at

 We will also have a small holiday shop in our
studio exclusive to our class participants.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Looking Up...

Giant freezer foam coolers started piling up on the front steps of the studio. 
Like giant igloo ice boxes, we received a barrage of fresh and frozen foods from our new client - all to be photographed in the next two weeks. I had my creative wits to land a new job and client by offering something for free. The funny thing is, that the follow up call with the Creative Director unveiled that we really weren't being considered for the job among the other 200 candidates, despite my rep being college friends from years before. What tipped them was that no one had ever offered to shoot a test for them. No one had ever "put their money where there mouth is." I jumped at the challenge, even though they sent me some of their toughest foods to photograph: even liver. It was not without its challenges, for sure. We needed an extra food-prep person, and many props and fresh garnishes. I worked every day on the photos to keep the pace, and had several items that required some re-shoots. 

 Food shots for a new client saved us at the very last moment.  A creative idea hatched in the nick of time.
As this was going on I prepared to approach another publisher. I put together a huge proposal for a new concept and made some dates to fly down south to make my pitch.  Even with our new client, Jenny and I were beyond struggling.  When you grow your business and it suddenly falters, it is hard to shrink yourself overnight. There are lots of detail expenses that exist that just can't evaporate. I drew from a very small amount of money to buy my plane ticket and with the same vigor as I offered the free test shots, I flew off to try to make a new situation for us. The reception is beyond what I expected, and what they asked of me next made me think fairy tales really can come true...

I am off this week to CITY FARMHOUSE in Franklin, Tennessee. I'll be there signing my new Halloween magazine, meeting Vintage by Nina author and, I'm sure, drooling over many fabulous vintage finds at the show. Come see me if you are nearby, and share your story about your adventures. I am looking forward to the kinship such a show offers, and most of all meeting CITY FARMHOUSE founder Kim Legget. 

See y'all there!