In the midst of working with my apparel designers getting them ready for the season, I am also working with the guys at Cavalier by Jay Jeffers on an exciting event with Alex & Lee in October. There is a significant amount of planning for this event as we will be setting it up as a retrospective of the artist’s work since their start in 1970.
After I went to Las Vegas, I flew up to San Francisco and drove up to The Sea Ranch to work with Alex & Lee in an effort to start getting things moving on this project. I always enjoy my time in Sea Ranch visiting Greg and Lee as it is one of the best working environments I have ever experienced. The landscape of the Northern California coast is breathtaking and their studio is beyond inspiring.
Greg and Lee’s studio is in their house which is surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with bright flowers, gorgeous succulents and a plethora of greenery. At this time of year, the garden is amazing and I soaked up every visual piece of it that I could in an effort to hang onto the soon to be past summer of 2012.
Being surrounded by all of this beauty in nature is such a treat for me and really feeds my creativity. I can’t describe how peaceful this place is. It’s really something you have to experience for yourself.
The Sea Ranch is a 10 mile stretch of land along the coastline that was bought in the early 1900′s and developed by architect Al Boeke. The design of the homes suggest that the buildings have a site specific relationship with the landscape, so that the buildings become a part of the landscape. Details including unpainted wood and limited lighting subdue the appearance of the buildings into the landscape. There are no street lights in the area to allow for the sky’s nighttime illumination, and the lack of roof overage allows the strong breeze to pass over the buildings without any damage. Landscaping in The Sea Ranch is regulated by a design manual which prohibits perimeter fences and limits non-indigenous plants to screened courtyards. Here is an example of what the houses look like there.
Many of the houses use solar power and the property is manicured by a herd of sheep that keep the grass low throughout the summer months. I spied the sheep on this visit, along with many deer, hawks and other wildlife. What a treat!
Working in this environment is quite different than my regular day to day. For example, we take breaks to go walking on the coastline, to take a soak in the outdoor spa, and to pick wild blackberries. It’s truly amazing.
When we weren’t blackberry picking or taking coastal strolls, we were digging through old slides of imagery that Lee has been holding onto for 40+ years. I was so overwhelmed looking at all of the imagery that contained every piece that they have made since their start. It blows my mind how much work they put into each piece and how amazingly crazy talented these artists are. We selected some of our favorites and started the process of sorting them for the book project we will be undertaking next year.
We also went through drawers of their archive and selected the vintage pieces we want to put on display for the event. There are so many amazing pieces to choose from which makes this editing process very difficult!
We also worked on a new collection of pieces for me to take to NYC with me next week. Here is the beginning stages of those pieces.
Although I was only there for basically a day and a half, I felt completely rejuvenated and inspired when I left as I always do. I feel so lucky.
Since I returned home, I haven’t been able to get enough of this song “Pickin’ Berries” by High Mountain Hoedown, a band from the 1970′s that a special new friend recently shared with me. Somehow this song captures everything I feel when I am up on the coast and so much more. Take a listen, it’s a goodie.