Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Bell Jar

I love that New York City event producer David Stark used to be a painter, and that he approaches his work with such an artful eye. I first learned of him when Convene Senior Editor Barbara Palmer interviewed him for our July 2010 cover story, and was happy to find him the subject of a "Tools of My Trade" piece in the July/August issue of Fast Company. In the article, he lists six of his favorite ways to build events "that feel like art installations," saying that "flowers are only one tool in the toolbox. Many instances require different kinds of thinking and materials to bring the occasion to life."

First on his list is the humble glass bell jar (starting at $8 at www.glassdomes.com), which Stark uses to create tablescapes. When filled with item(s) tied to a theme or an organization's mission, bell jars can make creative (and inexpensive) table centerpieces. Stark has filled the jars with fruit for a party at Martha Stewart's home, painted eggs for a Benjamin Moore event, and faux tulips crafted from euros for the Global Volatility Summit — you have got to appreciate the symbolism there.

Part of Stark's genius, I think, is his laser-like focus on specifics — but not in terms of details, as you might think. His approach, he said, is "about creating something event-specific, site-specific, and client-specific." That kind of narrow mindedness can open up all kinds of possibilities. Even if you're not an artist.

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