In our culture, there exists an urban legend about messy people—that instead of being chaotically disorganized and generally slovenly, they’re actually in touch with their creativity.
And isn’t that true?
As kids, we inherently made messes—boxes of crayons scattered on the floor, pillow forts dominating the living room—the world was our oyster, all we had to do was create. But somewhere along the way, we got told to pick up and organize, to deconstruct and repress our disorder. Over time, we realized messes were bad.
But for real creative magic to happen, you have to allow an explosion of materials, thoughts and colors. You have to make a mess.
This week, during our 8th Studio Table dinner, we discussed not only the need for messes, but also the idea of celebrating them, of refusing to fear them—as mess represents the human potential to create. From the paint drips that miss the tarp to the chaotic array of ingredients in a kitchen, messes happen. It’s our job to see them in a different light.
Our sponsor, method home, worked with us—and four other collaborators—to transform the Studio Table experience into an artistic process. Taking inspiration from method’s Sea Minerals soap and fragrance, shades and textures of blue served as the inspiration behind the art of the event. With #FearNoMess, we invited chaos into Heather’s studio and ended up with a creation as unique as the hands that made it.
In the hours leading up to the dinner, florist Jenn Sanchez installed a cascade of flowers on Heather’s banister, which flowed to the table below; artist Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day and her team built a balloon river on the walls that pulled in blues from the ocean and blues from Heather’s work. Erica Chan Coffman from HonestlyWTF created hand-dyed napkins in sea colors for the table, embroidered with guests’ names; and Amanda Holstein of Advice from a Twenty Something made takeaway bags with sea minerals—a nod to the theme of the dinner. Throughout the day, Heather’s apartment filled with bodies and supplies, smiles and sizzling smells. Hands passed boxes; strung flowers; and arranged dinnerware. It was one giant mess.
This dinner was special not only because it involved more people, but because it also allowed guests the opportunity to add their touches to the experience. Celebrating proximity to water, the sea minerals theme touched every element of the dinner—from the colors of the hand-dip dyed napkins to the beautiful “reef” floral arrangement crowning Heather’s studio table. Continuing the theme, Ben’s Land X Sea menu completed an evening designed to touch all the senses.
We opened the dinner with conversation around a St. George Terroir Gin tonic cocktail, followed by oysters and pine, sunchoke, caviar, bucatini and short rib porridge, shared around the table. Each of Ben’s dishes warmed and relaxed us after long days at work—his unique combinations of smell, taste and texture piquing our curiosity. We rounded off the evening with a dessert of eucalyptus, citrus and kombu ice cream.
During dinner, we asked everyone to talk about a fear, and how it related to their creativity. Heather explained her fear of starting a new body of work that might not be recognized or accepted. Michelle shared her fear of stepping out of her comfort zone and creating something on her own. And Ben shared a fear of being too open, too personal and of leaving his comfort zone.
Guest Chris Olivares, a start-up entrepreneur and software developer, told us about his fear of failure in personal projects. And floral artist, Jenn Sanchez shared her fear of not meeting the expectations she has set for herself.
We went around the table discussing fear and how it related to creativity and mess, but dinner that night also allowed us to step into the shoes of method and hear their story of messy beginnings. Driven by a mission to create something they wanted to see in the world—a more sustainable and better designed product—method founders mixed first batches of soaps in their bathtub. We heard stories of initial failures and challenges, but thanks to their fearless approach to messes, they succeeded in changing the industry.
Hearing everyone’s stories and digging deeper into method’s background was a real treasure. All of us walked away with new ideas and a sense of courage. A deep-felt thank you goes to method for making Studio Table such an experience into artistry and allowing deeper insight into the creative process of mess that makes us so uniquely human.
Thanks for reading,
Michelle, Ben and Heather
A word on partnerships: With the objective of building lasting relationships in the San Francisco community, Studio Table agrees to partnerships with companies that share similar values. We’re thankful for companies like method that place such emphasis on supporting local businesses and creative individuals. With the goal of being as transparent as possible out of respect for our readers and in accordance with the FTC law of 2013, all content and opinions expressed are written by Studio Table members.