Growing up in St. Paul as part of a large family, I have many memories of gathering around our family table and celebrating with my parents, brothers and sister, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. My sister and I had the job of polishing the silverware and setting the table with our best, fancy dishes while our mother ironed a beautiful tablecloth. Holidays were noisy and it was always hot in the kitchen, even in winter. I can still hear my mother exclaim: “Someone fill the water glasses!” and “Stop eating the olives, Amy, they’re for our guests!” These family gatherings are some of my happiest memories.
I would go on to make a career of setting tables through event planning. Having studied graphic design in college, which taught me how to see pattern, shape, color, texture, symmetry, etc., I always gave my events' tables special attention and choosing table linens was always my favorite part. With a gorgeous table linen as a foundation, I’d explore unique, sometimes elaborate napkin folds, much to the chagrin of the catering staff. I planned the smallest of details such as the charger plate’s scalloped rim matching the serif font of the menu card. Best of all, I loved seeing the guests’ expressions when they entered the room and saw my tables—let the party begin!
I eventually transitioned out of traditional event planning to build the event business of the McNamara Alumni Center, a stunning event venue on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus. In my 22 years here marketing this venue, I have seen 1000s of events, many with beautiful table settings; I've noted the most spectacular ones in my visual library. Beyond my professional life, I have designed many table settings for family and friends’ birthdays, bridal and baby showers etc. A favorite design of mine was for my son’s 5th birthday party---a 33-person, jungle-themed table setting in our yard showcasing a 20-foot-long python I sewed myself!
2020 reminded us that time spent together is what’s most precious. Kaleidoscope is my way of bringing more celebration to peoples’ small gatherings while helping ease the anxiety of hosting. So gather. Bring out "the good stuff." Celebrate...a retirement, a cancer-free check-up, a breakup with a jerk...whatever the reason---it's good for the soul!