Back in 2002 while I was living in New York City, working as a store designer at the Madison Avenue Crate&Barrel, the gods of amazing encounters blessed me with a chance to shake hands with a glassware customer named Paul McCartney. Paul is an all-time hero of mine and I still have a hard time believing he actually held my hand in his for the duration of our 12.7 second conversation (he ended up purchasing two margarita glasses at $2.50 apiece, FYI). If I had it to do all over again, I would avoid the hot flash and subsequent red splotches across my face, neck and chest.
Just a few months later at the same store, I helped Yoko Ono select a dinnerware set. I feel like I, in a roundabout way, personally funded her purchase from a lifetime of Beatle-related paraphernalia (she went with a pattern called “Sixties” and shelled out approximately $134.99).
Now here in 2012, I was given yet another incredible opportunity: to prepare birthday flowers for Ringo Starr. And not only that, but it was the historic Ryman Auditorium who hired me to do it. Ringo was celebrating his 72nd birthday by playing a show at the Ryman.
After much brainstorming, I honed in on a terrarium, with an arrangement inspired by the song Octopus’ Garden, the Sgt. Pepper album cover and, of course, the Ryman Auditorium. Instead of traditional terrarium materials I decided to use fresh flowers. To make the arrangement uniquely Nashville, I built a mini-Ryman out of balsa wood, hand-painted it and laid it in a mini meadow of yellow yarrow. It was a challenging yet fun project!
Oh, and the show also happened to be my then-six-week old son’s first concert ever. Knowing this would be the case, I registered for noise cancellation headphones, which you can imagine melted the hearts of Ringo fans as the baby wore them while I was standing at the back of the balcony, bouncing him in my arms for 3/4 of the show.
Special thanks to Ryman employee Zana Hembree for an amazing opportunity and to Sean Williams for Ringo’s birthday card design!
Photos by Stephen Jerkins (except for the last one, by moi)