The rhino is Barry and I am the giraffe. There is a reason for this. Last summer when we were engaged in our big adventure of having our boat interior makeover with Sunbrella, we were staying on Vashon Island, across from Tacoma, where Pam Tregonning of Portage Canvas, the upholsterer who did our makeover, lives. While we were there we discovered a really cool store called Giraffe. You could not miss it. It has this amazing metal sculpture out front (see pic below), and you can't help yourself, you HAVE to go in! The lovely and talented Priscilla Shleigh, sources out ethical home decor products from the developing countries. She is such a beautiful soul and her gracious efforts support the thriving businesses of women entrepreneurs from all around the world. The products she carries are both colourful and beautiful. She goes well beyond the call of duty, offering her customers a great cup a tea, and a friendship you can be proud of. You get way more than a shopping experience when you go there. You get a friendship that may just last a lifetime! How many stores do you go into that can profess to offer that. Priscilla doesn't talk the talk, she walks the walk. It has been over half a year since we were there and I still think about her most days.
The painting above, and all of my giraffe paintings for that matter, have been inspired by my experience and friendship with Priscilla. Priscilla could teach a course on how to build a solid business based on the power of creating relationships. She is one of a kind, and a personal role model of mine. I am not sure she knows this. I am actually pretty sure she does not. But that is the way with people who have a natural aptitude for connection and authentic generosity!
Anyway, I bought these really cool and colourful napkins in cotton block print from India, and some carved animal napkin rings from Africa from her store. Priscilla had a great idea. If we each claimed a napkin ring, we could use our napkin for more than one meal. We would know by the animal on each napkin which one was ours. Barry chose the rhino and I chose the giraffe. So the trip was about the boat and the animals became representatives of ourselves as the participants in this adventure.
So that is how this piece came about and why it means so much to me. Barry and I are in some ways in the same boat. Of course in a lot of ways we are each in our own boat. Living on a boat requires us to be in close proximity. I think how well we live together in a small space is an indication of how well we fair as a couple. I love my marriage to my best friend and that is why this piece is so important to me. I choose to live a colourful life with my partner and best friend. This piece is like a journal of a great and beautiful adventure we went on last summer. Life is full of opportunities when we step out of our comfort zones and have faith.
Which one will you choose?
Love, Jeanette xoxoxo