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Creating the Ceremony Scene: Southwest meets Contemporary

Dreaming up unique ceremony altar spaces is one of my favorite things to do.  When Carrie and John asked me to design something crafty, yet modern, I was totally on board!  Their save the date had a palette of burnt oranges and turquoise with a Southwestern geometric motif.  I wanted their backdrop to mirror this with dramatic scale and a contemporary design.  I also wanted to bring in native succulents and dried Cholla cactus.

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It began with a sketch and then I needed to brainstorm what it would actually be made of.  I wanted to use lightweight materials like paper for an airy and delicate garland.  I cut different sized triangle and diamond shapes in varying shades of orange, and to bring a little depth and a contrasting pop of color, I made geometric boxes out of turquoise and aqua paper. I cut out feather shapes from a scrap piece of leather and painted one side of them with metallic paint in gold and copper.

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I went out into the New Mexico hills and foraged fallen Cholla cactus.  Luckily, once it has dried, the skin and very sharp spines fall off, making it a wonderful, natural material for a Southwestern installation!  The groom’s mom had a perfectly complementary rug to place under the altar and I just love how it tied everything together!

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The ceremony took place at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.  I am in love with the way the garland’s geometric shadow played on their beautiful white gallery walls! After the ceremony it became the backdrop for the photo booth; I love when installation pieces serve double duty during a wedding.

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It truly was a joy to custom design something so unique for such a wonderful couple ! I am so glad it was part of a beautiful wedding day!

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