Service of Antidotes to Decorating and Fashion Insecurities

November 13th, 2017

Categories: Craft Show, Fashion, Insecurity, Interior Design

Alexandra & Michael Miller, Everyman Works, Brooklyn

Americans’ insecurities about decorating their homes is well documented. Google the subject: you’ll see. I know this first hand from interviewing retailers and interior designers over years, starting with a stint eons ago at Art & Antiques Magazine. Fine antique shop owners had a heck of a time fighting a fear of being different. For starters, people dread unsolicited feedback from friends and mothers-in-law, as in “Why did you choose THAT style, color or pattern?” on walls and upholstery to china. Frame shops thrive when called in to fill a new house with art because a homeowner doesn’t know where to start [and perhaps would like someone else to blame?]

Renee Weiss Chase, Cloth2Clay, Collingswood, N.J.

The good news: According to Newton’s third law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I maintain that there are those who bend over backwards to achieve a special look in their homes filled with visual surprises that they love—that are the decorative equivalent of a squeeze of lemon or lime to perfect a dish or drink. And these people are in luck: American-made decorative accents, photography, sculpture and furniture will be exhibited this weekend at the Brooklyn Museum at my client’s American Fine Craft Show Brooklyn. [The Eastern Parkway subway stop is literally steps from the museum door and there’s a large parking lot.]

Lori Kaplan, NY jeweler

Does the same self-doubt apply to fashion? I’ve not studied the industry so I can rely only on my own experience and observations: A remarkable accent—scarf, jewelry, hat or jacket–on a classic ensemble brightens the wearer whose posture and expression beam with joy and confidence. Imagine giving such a bonus with your holiday presents this season. One Brooklyn Museum member, a loyal craft show visitor and successful business owner told me: “My whole wardrobe this year was from [last year’s] show. ”

Why do you think so many fear decorating their homes? Do you? What is one of your favorite fashion accessories? Where did you find it or was it a gift? Do you explore fine craft shows as a resource for unusual, handsome gifts and additions to your home and wardrobe?


Milliner Karen Morris, Minneapolis, Minn.

Catherine Joseph, C Joseph NY, Huntington

Furniture maker Bok Read, Media, Pa.

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12 Responses to “Service of Antidotes to Decorating and Fashion Insecurities”

  1. lori kaplan Said:

    Thank you for this interesting article and including my rubelite/emerald 18K earrings. It’s much appreciated.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    There will be so many stunning pieces of jewelry, like your earrings, at the show–I look forward to seeing it all in person. The range of techniques–remarkable skill and style–and media is remarkable.

  3. Bambe Levine Said:

    Bambe wrote on Facebook: That table is extraordinary!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    It’s by Bok Read, Media, Pa. Remarkable.

  5. EAM Said:

    One of my favorite things to buy at Craft shows is jewelry. It often adds a perfect accent to an outfit. I do get a lot of compliments on it and it’s a unique way of displaying your artistic expression.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Yet another secret of how you always look so put together. I love opportunities to wear a crazy pin or flamboyant necklace or amazing scarf because while I love patterned blouses and dresses, unless very muted, they don’t become me.

  7. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna wrote on Facebook: Our décor is designed to make US happy…not anyone else! We have things because we like looking at them…..

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I’m with you Donna. My insecurities lie elsewhere but don’t involve what I chose to enjoy using and seeing in my home or what I wear.

  9. Lucan Said:

    I sure do wish my that most of my considerable insecurities could be solved by finding some beautifully crafted object at a fair such as the Brooklyn Museum’s, but I’m afraid not. Though, I’ll admit having lovely things around me does indeed cheer me up.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    As I wrote to Donna, my list of insecurities is extensive, though not in this realm. So it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone would hesitate, if they had the funds, to buy something they would love to see in their home, whether a photograph or picture, sculpture or vase, wood or glass bowl. In strolling through this and other fine craft shows, I am caught up by the many things that this friend or that relative might love and that I’d be so pleased to give them.

  11. Lucrezia Said:

    I am the wrong person to approach with such a question, since I know what I like and act accordingly. Since I must live with and enjoy what I put into my home, what’s the problem? While on the subject, if I needed a new small table, I like the one with the creepy legs as shown.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I, too, am entranced by that table–as was Bambe in the first comment–that appears to be growing out of the ground. The legs look “creepy” as they are so realistic–like gnarled tree roots that break ground. The furniture maker, Bok Read, said “If a tree grew out of the floor it might look like one of my tables. The top is removable. Trees don’t have horizontal flat parts so I had to make one.”

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