Last night, the annual Tables by Design fundraiser was held once again at the Elms Resort and Spa but this year's event had a bit of a different feel to it courtesy of the boundless creativity of Gallery Off Broadway brainchild Kathleen Fenton. Kathleen had two tables in the room; the first designed with Keith in honor of Carolyn and the second containing an unforgettable last-minute twist.
The centerpiece for Carolyn's table had been a long time coming, having been discussed and brainstormed and mulled over by Kathleen and Keith. Kathleen wanted something suitably spectacular and shanghaied Shawna's husband into creating a malleable metal structure that resembled a starkly surreal tree from Dr. Seuss' s Whoville. Kiko was recruited to join the design team and over the course of several days and many hours; lights were strewn, and decorative pieces created and placed. Black and white photos of Carolyn and her family and friends were gathered. We gathered at Jim's for dinner last Saturday, where Bunchie and Charlotte joined in decorating the photos while Jim prepared his signature feta dip, soul-nourishing focaccia bread from scratch and his famous eight-layer lasagna with bechamel sauce. Keith brought the photos home and worked on cutting glass to enclose the photos while Kiko and Kathleen worked tirelessly on the tree. Carolyn's table was slowly coming together...what would Kathleen do for the second table?
I spent Monday evening with the three creative Ks as the final touches were created. Upon entering the gallery, it appeared as if Hobby Lobby had been out on a drinking spree and had stopped by to throw up all over the place. Amidst the wreckage, Keith was soldering the photo frames and Kiko and Kathleen were working on the decor. Kiko kept luring me into helping her with some of the bling by reassuring me that what she was doing wasn't crafting. I tend to get the hives where crafting is concerned....my gut response to seeing that room and table streaked with paint, glue and worst of all, GLITTER was to back slowly out the door and run for the hills. I love the painting aspect of the gallery but crafting gives me the heebs and glitter is Craft Herpes. Get within six feet of any glitter and sure as !@#t you will find it on body parts you never imagined hours later. Glitter is the devil.
After a tasty slice of potato pizza by Slice of Paradise, we moved to transport the tree by truck to the Elms. Kathleen and I rode in the back of Keith's truck to secure the tree and we felt like a pathetic parade float as we rode to the Elms. Once there, we worked it onto our table and began adding the decor and soon, there it was...through it all; after all of the hours they had put into it; Kathleen's vision was becoming reality and we found ourselves in quiet admiration of the tree. The multiple photos of Carolyn smiling back, set against the warm glow of the lights. The decor reflecting and sparkling off the lights. It seemed a perfect mix of class and whimsy. Once again, though, Kathleen had another table to decorate, what would she do?
All of the tables looked terrific. One featured a retro tabletop jukebox; another some classic model cars and the Elms table featured "poison" bottles and some eerie Halloween decor courtesy of Russ of Changing Seasons. I loved the "wine tree" on another of the tables. As Tuesday night finally arrived, Kathleen managed to outdo herself with the second table...it featured an atmospheric Halloween scene with an impressive full-size scarecrow as the centerpiece.
Wait, did that scarecrow just move?
Yes, in a jaw-dropping feat of performance art, Kathleen recruited her son Chase to sit as her centerpiece in scarecrow costume. That was a show-stopper to be sure, and Chase is to be commended for staying as still as he did for so long.
In the end, the two tables were quite the hit. Seeing Carolyn's table was a moving experience for many, especially when Jim and his son Chase were seeing it for the first time. All of the attendees had a great time and it was all for a good cause. The tables were all so cool that I can't imagine how everyone will top themselves next year.