A French concept, flaneurism, is defined as wandering without purpose. In today's world, if time is a luxury, then the ultimate indulgence is dropping into designer Jeannette Whitson's Garden Variety Design Studio in Nashville, Tennesee for a wander. Located in the very trendy 12 South area of Nashville, the studio is an original 1899 home, cleverly renovated by Jeannette and recently opened by appointment only. The studio houses a unique collection of beautiful antiques and other one-off pieces of art, primarily from France. Jeannette's design sense and keen eye can only be described as eclectic, one-of-kind and stunningly beautiful.
Jeannette and I met nearly 25 years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia. We connected immediately, sharing a love of adventure, curiosity, beautiful things and laughter. We travelled through the back alleys of Central Java, Jeannette searching for genuine antiques and me documenting the lives and landscapes of the people through research and photography (I was working on a USAID contract at the time). Our years in Indonesia were instrumental in inspiring our creative careers.
Through marriage and children, our lives took us to different corners of the world, but our passions in our respective fields continued to grow, as did the respect for each other's work. For some time we have been talking about collaborating, so it was with great enthusiasm, 25 years after first meeting, that I accepted Jeannette's offer to host a photographic show in her studio when the space was ready.
We had a fabulous week together in June, inviting designers and art collectors to the studio. It is always deeply gratifying to develop an emotional connection with buyers or potential customers. Naturally, it was a thrill when the unassuming Rock Star Peter Frampton visited the studio, taking home my "Kookaburra Sits". That said, regardless of the owner, it is always a great honour to have my work hanging in the privacy of people's homes, and something that I never take for granted.
The Southern hospitality is hard to beat, and we are already discussing my return.