By Stacy Harshman
Andarina Designs was just coming together. Inspired by a set of antique glass swizzle sticks, I had been working everyday, designing lamps and chandeliers that threw beams of light through rods of colored glass.
I told my good friend Marcy Clark how excited I was about starting my company. After watching Marcy conceive of and launch Women’s Mafia, and attending fantastic Women’s Mafia and Yellow Sky Agency events for years, I told Marcy that within a couple of months, I’d be ready to let her plan the launch for Andarina Designs.
But Marcy had another idea. She suggested I design the lighting for The Women’s Mafia and EngieStyle fashion presentation and launch party “Once Upon A Time” which would benefit a cause I love, the MillionTreesNYC project. Marcy said she would love to see some of my pieces hung right over the runway. I was thrilled! And Engie’s first collection, Rouge et Noir was done in a palette that seemed just right beside my first collection’s rich jewel tones. Oh, just one thing: the event was only two weeks away!
I called my brilliant design consultant, Roseanne Percivalle, and we stayed up late into the night making sketches. We would need a lot of glass and each rod must be flame worked by hand before being kiln-cured.
Luckily I had just agreed to a collaboration with the ladies of the Bead Project at Urban Glass. One of my glass instructors at Urban Glass, Laurie Korowitz, heads up this non-profit project, which teaches talented women glass-working skills. My project would be their first paid gig! As a brand new glass artist, I was thrilled to become a part of the community and to meet such a fun group of women. We had already devised a work schedule but, with fingers crossed, I called Laurie to ask if we could…well… triple the amount we had planned to pump out over the next week.
I was still nervous so I wanted to consult with a stage lighting expert. Serendipity, in the form of my amazing friend and neighbor Sven Henry Nelson led me to Derek Van Heel, and Derek soon made clear just how much light we needed, and his input changed our vision completely. Somehow, we found ourselves working on an eighteen by four foot, jewel-toned chandelier.
Engie is a new designer like me, so I knew how incredibly important it was to flatter her designs and make sure this event went off like a rocket ship. With just over a week to make it happen, I decided to bring in Tinc Design and Production Company.
At 1am the night before the event, Sven and I were hip-deep in bundles of glass rods, meticulously counted and sorted by color. We had pieces of perforated stainless steel hung on sawhorses in my dining room– we were still tinkering around with color placement! The actual, massive piece had to be assembled on site the day of the show, and taken down right after!
We made runs between Union Square Ballroom and Brooklyn to pick up still-warm glass rods as Laurie and the Bead Project ladies worked right up until the last minute. I left them just enough time to get glammed-up and attend the show.
I was beyond happy with how the chandelier turned out. We were all pretty proud of ourselves! As Marcy says, “a large group of women getting together is, in and of itself, a powerful thing.” Working with the ladies of the Bead Project, I found that to be very true. As much as I value getting to see my ideas become a reality and getting my company off the ground, I cherish the experience of collaboration even more. I feel fated and lucky to work with Marcy, Women’s Mafia, EngieStyle, and the Bead Project. It seemed like the bigger my ideas and plans got, the more perfect people showed up with the perfect skill set, at the perfect time.
Andarina Designs fits into a larger dream of mine. I like to say it’s a feast with a seat for everyone at the table.