December 2, 2016

Interview with Designer Danielle Becker of Lefty’s Right Mind

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Danielle Becker

Danielle Becker

 

Danielle Becker is a mixed media artist and the founder of Lefty’s Right Mind, a design and marketing company that serves to bracket her many talents and services.  Growing up in an artistic household, Danielle Becker was drawn from the very beginning to all types of crafts and traditional mediums.  To this end, her wide array of talents across multiple platforms is rooted in hands-on art making and a commitment to unbound creativity.

From chalk and mirror art, to signage and logo design, to wedding invitations and decor, Danielle’s vast and varied skills allow her to approach events and branding from many angles while always contributing her unique artistic style to any project. We spoke with Danielle about her design process, working with brides & grooms, and the value of the handwritten word in our progressively digital world.

First, I’d love to know how you accumulated so many talents and skills, and how you went about bringing them all together to form Lefty’s Right Mind. 

Since I can remember, the creative world was always such a strong and prominent influence in my life.  From a young age, craft projects were a constant in my house from drawing and painting, to beading and friendship bracelet making.  I don’t remember a single time I didn’t ask my parents for art supplies for my birthday.  I’d set up “art stations” for when babysitters came over, and I’d always play “stationary store” with my friends.  I grew up with my Mom running her own party planning company out of the house, so her ribbon racks and stationary books were always steps away.  For me, being creative was intuitive and something I never had to work at. Believe me, comparing my struggles of standardized testing to ceramics and painting, I knew what a natural ability felt like!

 

Chalk Design / Danielle Becker / Lefty's Right Mind

Chalk Design / Danielle Becker / Lefty’s Right Mind

 

I have to say, I couldn’t have started Lefty’s Right Mind without the support of my parents.  I wouldn’t be a designer if it weren’t for them.  They supported me 100% when my school curriculum was full of art classes and I had their unwavering support when I decided I wanted to go to art school for college.  They exposed me to all kinds of design, and that’s why I believe my skill set and talents are so diverse.  They knew I was born with a natural visual eye, and they let me follow my dreams. That’s how I came up the name of my company, Lefty’s Right Mind.  I’m a lefty, who is in her right mind, the mind she was born into and the one she is following.  It’s also a double entendre because the right side of the brain is where creativity comes from.

I believe in doing what you love and I feel beyond lucky to have the opportunity to live my dream.  I am able to build a life for myself doing what makes me happiest and what I am truly passionate about.  Lefty’s Right Mind developed from the simple fact that I didn’t want to narrow my scope. I wanted to keep the broad range of talents I developed since I was young, and I wanted to build on them.  I wanted to guarantee myself the opportunity to keep learning new skills and to never stop growing.  And above of all, I love sharing my passion and what I love most, with others.  If my artwork brings a special wedding day memory, a smile given with a gift, or becomes a piece of one’s home, well then I think I’ve made my mark.  What else could an artist ask for!

 

Mirror Design / Danielle Becker / Lefty's Right Mind

Mirror Design / Danielle Becker / Lefty’s Right Mind

 

Monogrammed Napkins / Danielle Becker / Lefty's Right Mind

Monogrammed Napkins / Danielle Becker / Lefty’s Right Mind

 

Can you tell me more about the chalk design and calligraphy you do? In such a digital-heavy world, do you think we’re more drawn to and impacted by beautiful handwritten design?

One thing people always say about me is that I am an old soul.  Technically yes, I am considered a millennial, but that mindset is one I can’t seem to grasp.  If I could rid electronics and go back to the days of land lines and snail mail, I’d be there already.

I told myself when I started college that I never wanted to become reliant on the computer.  I think most people can be trained to design electronically, but what you can’t teach is raw talent.  I decided that what was going to set me apart from the pack, was that my hand feel would never be lost.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not take my computer training and electronic skill sets I’ve developed for granted.  They are extremely useful and wonderful tools.  They also help a lot with time efficiency and of course, easier clean up.  Although I am a trained graphic designer, I always take time to get off of the computer and work by hand.  That’s why I love the balance that Lefty’s Right Mind offers.

 

Invitation / Danielle Becker / Lefty's Right Mind

Invitation / Danielle Becker / Lefty’s Right Mind

 

I absolutely believe we are more drawn to handwritten design because it is seemingly disappearing with the growing technological world we live in.  It’s much more common to see a child playing on an iPad then playing with crayons. That’s why I am so proud of my chalk artwork.  It encompasses all the skills that I have learned, but is most loved for the handwork and detailing.

What is your design process like? Do you typically know right away what direction you want to take or is it a lot of trial and error?

One of my strengths and something I take great pride in is my ability to be able to listen and understand what a client is looking for.  When I start a project I first chat with the client about what are they looking for.  I have them send me inspiration of things they like and things they don’t like.  The latter is very important to me personally, because I believe it’s easier for someone to understand what they don’t want, opposed to what they do.  I gain a strength for my designs off of the initial feedback I get from the client.

My creative juices are always flowing, so typically and fortunately, my ideas stream easily.  There are definitely times where I struggle and the direction takes a bit longer to develop, but overall my head is full and raring to go.

 

Photobooth Props / Danielle Becker / Lefty's Right Mind

Photobooth Props / Danielle Becker / Lefty’s Right Mind

 

What are the first questions you ask yourself when you begin the branding process for a new company or product?

The first question I ask myself when I begin a branding project is what is the company trying to portray with this visual branding and how do they want to be represented.  It’s very easy to get carried away once you’re in the design zone, so I continue to check in every few hours with those important bullet points to make sure I don’t stray from the task at hand. I always make sure that my designs depict the client’s initial vision before they review it.

It’s such a special, individualized experience designing for weddings. What is it that speaks to you specifically about working with brides and grooms?

The fact that a couple would instill their trust in me to create artwork for their special day, is in itself such a flattering and beautiful gift. Many dream their whole lives about getting married and of their wedding day, so who wouldn’t want to be a part of someone’s happiest of days. I’m a hopeless romantic and a sucker for fairy tales! It’s an honor for me to be a part of something so magical.

 

Wedding Sign / Danielle Becker / Lefty's Right Mind

Wedding Sign / Danielle Becker / Lefty’s Right Mind

 

Tell me about your latest pursuits or projects? 

My mom and I have started a business together.  dBb Group is 30 years in the making.  Town Crier Paperworks and Lefty’s Right Mind join together to help you realize your dream for Lifestyle, Social, Corporate Events and branding for any occasion.  If you can envision it, we can make it happen.  While I, Lefty’s Right Mind will be heading up the art department, my mom will be reviving her company, Town Crier Paperworks, which was started in 1986.  TCP’s main focus will be on the event planning side of things.  Ultimately, we will be working on all projects as one team, but it was important at the same time for us to keep our own identities. We’ve been an unofficial team since I could remember, and the time has come to make it a true business!

More on Lefty’s Right Mind at:

www.leftysrightmind.com
and on Instagram at @leftysrightmind

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November 28, 2016

Flower Feature: Anemones

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These charming, vibrant blooms with their signature black center derive their name from the same Greek word meaning “the wind’s daughter.”

Anemones / Kristen & Dave / New York Botanical Gardens / Chad David Kraus Photography

Anemones / Kristen & Dave / New York Botanical Garden / Chad David Kraus Photography

 

Anemones open in the day and close up at night, a unique trait that played a symbolic role in the Greek myth of Aphrodite and her lover Adonis, a mortal.  The story goes that the two lovers would go hunting together in the woods, Adonis chasing game on foot and Aphrodite trailing behind him in her swan-driven chariot. Aphrodite’s ex-lover Aries soon grew jealous of their bond, and while Adonis was out hunting alone, his rival disguised himself as a boar and brutally attacked Adonis with his tusks.  While Adonis fought for his life, he was no match for a god and fell to his death on the forest floor.

Aphrodite rushed to his side, but it was too late.  In mourning, she sprinkled ceremonial nectar on her lover’s wounds and carried him out of the forest.  Turning back, she saw crimson anemones had sprouted out of the ground where each drop of blood had fallen.  The wind blowing the flowers open or closing them in stillness is said to represent the gain and loss of love.

There are over 150 varieties of anemones in a wide range of colors and shapes, bearing one to three blooms per stem.  Anemones’ petals are extremely delicate, but beautiful to watch furl and unfurl around their black or yellow fringed centers as they burst open towards the light, creating beautiful gestural lines.

 

 

Anemones make a stunning statement in bouquets and arrangements, thanks to their wide, deep centers and pastel or jewel-toned petals.  If you’re looking into a black-and-white wedding, anemones are one of the few flowers with true black centers that bring an impactful pop to a white bouquet or arrangement.

No matter your style or color scheme, incorporating anemones into your décor will bring drama, detail, and elegance to any ceremony or reception.

 

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November 25, 2016

Bouquet Recipe: Whimsical Wildflowers

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Bridal Bouquet Recipe / Anna & Brian / Wave Hill / Chellise Michael Photography

Bridal Bouquet Recipe / Anna & Brian / Wave Hill / Chellise Michael Photography

 

Anna’s magnificent bouquet features an array of beautiful textures and intricate detail, joined together in silvery, matte colors. Flowers include white garden roses, cream O’Hara roses, white and blush Astillbe, and white rice flowers, accented with green thistle, parvifolia eucalyptus, and fresh mini succulent blooms.

Captured beautifully by Chellise Michael at Wave Hill in the Bronx.

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Blog, Mood Boards, Trends & Tips, Your Inspiration Fix

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November 22, 2016

The Best Blooms for Winter Weddings

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Alexandra & Jason / Tribeca Rooftop / Natural Expressions Photography

Alexandra & Jason / Tribeca Rooftop / Natural Expressions Photography

 

When we think of winter wedding flowers, we often jump to an all-white color scheme, while in fact there is a wide range of flowers in many colors available in winter to suit any floral design vision.  Amaryllis, Anemones, Orchids, Hydrangeas, and Peonies are some of the most popular winter blooms, as well as many varieties of Roses.

Even if you’re committed to an all-white winter wedding, mixing and matching shades of white can make for a stunning array of tones, textures and shapes, from antique ivories to soft creams to classic white-as-snow.  Silvery accents of Dusty Miller or Silver Brunia make for beautiful finishes for a monochrome winter wonderland look.

 

 

Many winter brides also choose to go for deep reds and greens in the spirit of the holidays, and winter weddings are perfect for bringing the outside in by highlighting berries, garlands, and branches.  This can instantly enliven an indoor ceremony or reception, and fill the space with warmth and cheer.

 

 

Of course, there’s no reason to feel limited by classic styles.  Here are four brightly colored blooms widely available in the winter months that you can use to build a one-of-a-kind color scheme.

Amaryllis
Nov-April

 

These beautiful, rare flowers feature several blooms at the top of a long, thick stalk.  Most commonly seen in shades of pink, coral,  yellow, and pale green, the amaryllis is dramatic, bold, and sure to transform any bouquet or arrangement.

 

Daffodils 
Nov-April

Daffodils via Gardenia

Daffodils via Gardenia

 

Many of us know this happy yellow flower as the first to arrive come spring.  Luckily, daffodils are available throughout the world all winter long, and come in a wide variety of sizes and tones.  In classic yellow, or in tones of apricot, white, and orange, daffodils are sure to bring a touch of springtime to any winter ceremony.

 

Hyacinth
Nov-May

Hyacinth via Flower Meaning

Hyacinth via Flower Meaning

 

These stocky flowers are known for their strong, delicious scent and clusters of little flowers along one stem.  With its unusual shape, Hyacinth is great for adding structure to an arrangement or bouquet.

 

Ranunculus
Nov-April

Ranunculus via Sakita Flowers

Ranunculus via Sakita Flowers

 

A sister of the buttercup, ranunculus are many-petaled and compact, making them a great alternative to roses or peonies.  Ranunculus are available in almost any color, and these petit blooms are perfect for boutonnieres or to add texture to a bouquet.

 

Winter weddings open up all kinds of creative design options, and allow brides to choose vendors and venues with a little more flexibility than during the busy summer season.  Whether you choose to go traditional or defy the norm, ’tis the season of cheer, charm, and gorgeous décor.

 

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November 18, 2016

The Power of Flowers to Relieve Stress and Increase Productivity

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With winter and the holidays fast approaching,  it’s easy to forget to take a moment to breathe and relieve stress trapped in the body.  If you find yourself looking for a simple way to reduce anxiety, give flowers a chance to brighten your perspective. In 2005, Rutgers University conducted a study on the effects of flowers on our mental hygiene.  Across all ages and genders, flowers were found to improve emotional health by triggering feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and social comfortability.

Peonies via Traditional Home

Peonies via Traditional Home

 

The easiest way to reap the benefits of flowers is to simply place them in your home. The results of a study conducted by Dr. Nancy Etcoff at Harvard suggest placing flowers by your bedside, so they’re the first thing you see when you wake up and start the day.  Participants reported having a better outlook throughout the morning after placing flowers throughout the house as they went about their morning routines.  Placing flowers in the foyer or dining room welcomes guests into your home with a burst of positivity and inclusivity.

 

Hanging Flowers via The Inspired Room

Hanging Flowers via The Inspired Room

 

Coffee Table Flowers via Casa Tres Chic

Coffee Table Flowers via Casa Tres Chic

 

 

The same study looked at flowers’ impact on work flow and productivity, with positive results reported by both men and women working in office environments.  Flowers and plants can stimulate us to have more creative ideas, to cooperate more effectively in group projects, and engender us with a sense of joy and ease.

 

Flowers In the Office via This Is Glamorous

Flowers In the Office via This Is Glamorous

 

 

Giving and receiving flowers is another great way to improve the emotional health of both giver and recipient.  While we often don’t think to give flowers to men, men in particular proved to react positively to receiving flowers in a Rutgers study, displaying an increase in eye contact, social patience, and smiling.  Who knew!

 

Home Arrangement via Crumpled Envelope

Home Floral Arrangement via Crumpled Envelope

 

Besides placing flowers throughout the home, there are many ways to indulge in the power of petals. Adding a few drops of floral essential oils to a spray bottle of water is a quick way to infuse your home with sweet, therapeutic smells.  Jasmine, Rose, Lavender, and Chamomile are well-known combatants of stress and anxiety.  Sprinkling rose petals into a hot bath can also boost relaxation — the paler the petals, the better.

It seems obvious that flowers make us happy – why else would we devote so much time and energy to making sure our bouquets and arrangements are picture perfect?  But beyond design and décor, flowers themselves can be a powerful tool to re-energize our tranquility, compassion and optimism.

 

For more information on flowers and stress relief, see the studies cited below:

Rutgers Magazine – Flower Power

The Harvard Crimson – A Bouquet a Day…

 

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November 16, 2016

Alison + Sean : Vintage Elegance at The Old Field Club

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Nestled in the tall grass and lush trees off the coast of a small lagoon 60 miles east of Manhattan lies The Old Field Club.  This elegant, old-fashioned venue was the perfect backdrop for the marriage of Alison and Sean last month, where the couple chose florals in classic, vintage-inspired colors arranged in bold and innovative style.

“I knew from scouting Pinterest and other websites that I wanted flowers that looked like they were freshly picked from the garden, particularly because the vibe of our wedding was more laid back,” writes Alison of what she envisioned for her floral décor.

Tablescape / Alison & Sean / Old Field Club / Paul Francis Photography

Tablescape / Alison & Sean / Old Field Club / Paul Francis Photography

 

Alison carried a truly show-stopping bouquet of white and cafe au lait dahlias, white garden roses and sweet pea with light blue delphinium, white scabiosa, silver dollar eucalyptus, rosemary, and olive leaves.  Organic, highly textured, and elongated, this bouquet was crowned with a mesmerizing burst of color before a waterfall of greenery and a trailing ribbon of champagne satin. “For the shape of my bouquet, I wanted an elongated, uneven shape – again, to fit in with that ‘just picked from the garden feel,'” explains Alison,  “It was perfect, beautiful, and rustic – but still muted enough that neither my bouquet nor the bridesmaids’ bouquets drew away from the dresses or the girls themselves!”

 

Her bridesmaids carried complimentary bouquets that played perfectly against their timeless blush and rose gowns by Jenny Yoo, while Sean wore a single light blue delphinium, accented with greenery and a champagne ribbon.  “For the colors, we wanted to play off of the bridesmaid dresses, which were a dusty rose color, and also the Pantone colors of the year for 2016 – rose quartz and serenity. We played around with a few different blue flowers until we found the blue delphinium, which was the perfect shade of light blue, and fit perfectly in with the freshly picked wildflower feel.”

 

Sean and Alison met attending Marist College and have been together for over seven years.  While they were friends prior to dating, by the time they got together, they both knew right away that their connection was something extraordinary.  “Our wedding was such an amazing day surrounded by family and friends, and a ton of the people that we were blessed to meet together at Marist were there to celebrate with us!”

 

Congratulations, Alison & Sean!

 

Venue: The Old Field Club
Photographer: Paul Francis Photography
Bride’s Dress: Leanne Marshall
Groom’s Tuxedo: Calvin Klein
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Groom’s Shoes: Alfani
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Jenny Yoo
Ring: Blue Nile
Makeup: Sally Biondo
Hair: Pinned & Proper
Music: Absolute Entertainment
Invitations / Place Cards: Jessica Leigh Paperie
Officiant: Pastor John Spiciarich

 

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Bride & Blossom

Bride & Blossom