There were three: My mom, my long-time Waldorf elementary school teacher, and my best friend's mother. I would consider these Goddesses the "Three Muses" of my early artistic development. All three are central to my aesthetic, work ethic, and every aspect of who I am, how I view the world, and how I think today.
My mom was always decorating the house for holidays, throwing parties, and designing large-scale events and fundraisers in our town. My dad was her carpenter/builder/stagehand — and I became her unofficial design helper.
It was fun because I watched her work her magic and transformed bare spaces into elaborate and fabulous venues. She would point me to small tasks, and like a little worker ant, I would complete my mission with intense focus and then report back to the queen. She always loved what I did, even when I was super young — like around six years old. She would say that I was the only person she solely trusted to carry out her vision. I always felt so flattered as I knew how discriminating she was with her work.
These are some of my earliest memories. Everything my mom touched had a flare — flamboyant, methodically planned down to the tiniest detail, well-executed, and imbued that something extra. From the Venetian painting of our home's walls to decorating the house for the holidays or a huge public event, there was always an element of glamor, opulence, and theater interwoven throughout my home life. I always saw the "wow factor" in what she did, and as I got older and compared her to the other moms, I quickly realized that she was gifted and unlike the rest. With a generosity of spirit and an ambitious eye for design, she made everything look expensive and unforgettable. My life with her was a revolving door of opportunities to create, expand, think out of the box, and learn the importance of pursuing excellence, no matter how minute the detail.
My second Muse is Judith Weldon ("Mrs. Weldon"), my beloved Waldorf teacher of six years.
To say she had a decided impact on my artistic aesthetic is a gross understatement. My time in her classroom I consider one of my greatest blessings. She was a masterful storyteller and teacher, but first and foremost, she was an artist. During my most fertile child development years, Mrs. Weldon shaped how I viewed the world. She shared her love of art and the artistic intention that creates impact. Mrs. Weldon was another woman dedicated to the importance of detail. I remember the intricately painted 1-inch circular boxes she gave to each student on our birthdays. With hundreds of tiny dots and brush strokes, she colored each box to truly match each student's individual personality. Every piece of art she created was uniquely special.
She incorporated nature and the Earth's wonderments and seasons into her art and lessons. Mrs. Weldon provided my first introduction to silk and wool and all the rich textures, patterns, and art processes that have become omnipresent as inspiration in my life. She expanded my love for organic, raw, and natural materials. She introduced me to knitting, weaving, and sewing and would spend extra time helping me perfect my skills as she could sense my desire to learn. I felt like a human sponge in those days; every aspect of her mentoring was filled with juicy and enticing details that I soaked up.
Those lessons and impressions have never left me. Mrs. Weldon's philosophy was that nothing needs to be considered a mistake or undesirable, but instead, it needs to be viewed from a different angle. She was always taking the world and tipping it upside down for a different view. This philosophy is something I live by to this day. A weed is simply a flower that has been misplaced.
Sally Segerstrom is my best friend Zoë's mother. She is definitely my third muse.
Her influence is ubiquitous in my life. As an Art History major from Stanford University, Sally possessed a love and a profound knowledge of art. Her close relationship with art encompassed all aspects of her life. Her sense of style is centered in original and iconic artistic expression.
As a child, I was often in the Segerstrom home. It was always an adventure in color, space, and design. Sally was an international traveler, and her home reflected a diverse collection of carefully curated art and accessories from all over the world. There was a sense of whimsy, uniqueness, and bold confidence in everything she owned. Objects were bazaar yet alluring. Some objects actually scared me as a child yet were wonderfully cultural, playful, and entirely non-threatening as I grew older.
Her space was awash with color and shapes. Even her house's architecture was unlike anything I had seen; rooms without doors, triangular loft spaces, secret closets.
Sally's impeccable eye for design and all things fabulous led to the birth of Sassafras, a retail store in Sonora, CA. Her ability to curate the finest merchandise, cultivate relationships with local artisans, and infuse her sense of fun, beauty, imagination, culture, mystery, and impeccable taste within its walls turned Sassafras into a sanctuary for me. I went there to commune with Art and Culture. I was transported into another world —my favorite place to visit — it represented refuge from the mundane, which art still is for me.
These early influences I feel every day working the Hunter Christian brand. These three women's practices, talents, and visions have completely intertwined to shape and inform my creative perspective.
The melding of art, fashion, textiles, design, world perspective, and lifestyle converge to create an exciting and vibrant approach to daily living. It establishes a single-mindedness in my approach to life, with art as the overarching theme. I feel I have inherited a "take no prisoner" approach to bold, innovative design with an eye for detail and excellence in everything I produce. And the blessing for me has been the stellar examples of keeping the creative process, a wonder for our world, and personal integrity central to my personal happiness and my brand's success.
Mrs. Weldon and Sally have left this life for their next great adventures. My goal is to honor them with the work I do and the manner in which I do it."
My mission is to stay true to myself and honor my mentors and role models by including their spirit and essence in everything I create.