FLOWER PEOPLE for the
1 Masthead/Welcome Letter 2 Redefining Luxury with Interior Designer Ryan Korban 8 Artist Sonal Nathwani’s Lush World of Painted Flowers 14 Haute Couture: The Modern Jewelry of American Goldsmith Judith Kaufman 18 Cover Story: Sculptural Artist Mr. Flower Fantastic’s Universal Message of Peace 24 A Gilded Age Wedding: Eric Goldstein and Elizabeth Lancaster 26 Rustic Elegance: Liz and Taylor Childs
STAFF • Susannah Pask Managing Editor • Rosa Berland Contibuting Editor • Alexandra Bromson Director • Greg Concha Design • Ruth Loiseau Director and Owner • Bruce Valicenti Interior Design
28 The White House Rose Garden Across the Years
SPRING IS FINALLY HERE – WE HOPE! THIS ISSUE IS A SEASONAL
ism and romanticism.” He is known for taking an interesting and un-
celebration - chock full of color, from sneaker art to floral art, from
expected mix of materials and styles and incorporating them into an
the subtle luxury of muted interiors to the cascade of a glorious
elegant residential environment that defines livable luxury for a new,
younger generation. His firm made its mark with luxury retail space
Mr. Flower Fantastic designs jaw-dropping floral sculptures, mostly
projects but has since expanded into residential work and even a
of sneakers, and his work is creating waves and garnering sensation-
furniture line with EJ Victor, which launches this April.
al reviews all over the world. This is the first of several guest articles
Sit back and soak in the lush world of painted flowers by artist Sonal
we’ve planned with MFF this year. He is constantly in demand and
Nathwani. “Even though I may have created hundreds of sketchbook
he works with some very high-profile clients, decorating Serena Wil-
spreads over the years, I still find it magical that a bouquet of flowers
liams’s Air Max 97 sneakers during the last US Open. We were fortu-
can emerge from just color, paint daubs and scribbles,” she tells us.
nate enough to catch him in between assignments, interviewing him
As it’s also wedding season, we’re sharing the recent wedding of
in person as he was preparing to open a highly prestigious exhibit
Eric Goldstein and Elizabeth Lancaster in Westchester County. Held
for Michael Jordan sneakers at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Or-
in a glorious former Gilded Age mansion with lush gardens, Eliza-
egon. Disarmingly modest, he wears a full face mask in public so the
beth’s choice of flowers and greenery cleverly echoes the venue’s
emphasis is always on his work - and not on him. This is the first time
these photos will be seen; our cover and inside photos are exclusive
In this issue too, I’ve put together a series of my favorite pictures
to Flower For The People right now!
of the White House Rose Garden through the years. As one of our
The geometric, natural splendor of American goldsmith Judith
national treasures, the Rose Garden is not only used for formal oc-
Kaufman’s work graces our Haute Couture section this month. She
casions for visiting dignitaries and world leaders, but it is also meant
is renowned for her jewelry designs that imaginatively blend pre-
for fun, as the annual Easter Egg Roll and Pardoning of the Turkey
cious stones with a seemingly organic and elaborate aesthetic. You
festivities exemplify. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.
will gasp at her pieces. Interior designer Ryan Korban describes his work as a mix of “brutal-
Thanks for joining us!
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Ryan Korban is an interior design firm with experience ranging from retail to residential, all woven together by the concept of livable luxury. Although best known for their luxury retail space projects which include Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, Aquazzura and Fivestory, theyâ€™ve recently turned their attention to real estate with their first-ever ground-up luxury condo development, 40 Bleecker.
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This has allowed them to take the interesting and unexpected mix of materials and styles they’re known for and incorporate them into an elegant residential environment that redefines luxury for a new and younger generation. In addition to their interior design work, the company is launching their first-ever furniture line this April with EJ Victor, and they hope to do more of this type of work in the future.
Initially interested in an acting career, Ryan realized it wasn’t the acting that most excited him but, rather, the set design. His fascination with design was perpetuated by some of his closest friends at The New School, who were doing incredible things in fashion. He realized that merging these two worlds – fashion and interiors – was where he wanted to focus his energy. His first project was Edon Manor, which he designed and co-founded with his friend Davinia, and from there, his work in retail snowballed. Although Ryan’s work is seen throughout the fashion, film and with the music world’s prominent individuals, it was the Edon Manor project that set him on a path specializing
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Ryan Korban on residential work “I am very business oriented when it comes to design,” he explains.
“ I LOVE THE MASTER SUEDE WITH INTEGRATED CLOSET AND ALL THE SUEDE WALLS. I ALSO LOVE THE COLOR PALETTE,” SAYS RYAN ” in retail design. The store, which still exists in NY today, was the first of its kind from a design perspective, at least for that neighborhood. In the midst of what used to be a very quiet, almost industrial area, they created an elegant, maximalist space to showcase pretty accessories. “It stood out, and I guess the right people noticed,” explains Ryan. Ryan’s design for Mario Dedivanovic’s residence was inspired by the idea of a tactile, layered yet masculine vibe. He used textiles such as suede walls and cashmere carpeting in interesting ways, utilizing a wide range of monochrome gray. Mario, a world-renowned make-up artist travels all over the world, so his space needed to be a true sanctuary, uncomplicated, unfussy, but still super luxury. Ryan went for a monochromatic look with textures front and center. His favorite part of Dedivanovic project? “I love the master suede with integrated closet and all the suede walls. I also love the color palette,” says Ryan. When designing his own home, Ryan wanted something rich yet comfortable, formal yet approachable. His mission as a designer is to redefine luxury for a younger generation and to make people feel more at ease with living in and enjoying a luxurious space. He therefore chose light-colored silk couches, rugs and antique objets, which he jokes have never stopped him from entertaining! Ryan has written two books on interior design. The first, “Ryan Korban: Luxury Redefined” focuses on the concept of livable luxury and shows readers how to achieve a sense of luxury in their homes that is both glamorous and highly personal. Each of the book’s seven chapters focuses on a key component or influence that is essential to his design approach and offers sources of inspiration and ideas for readers. The second, “Ryan Korban Interiors” is more edited and showcases bigger and more recent projects, including Balenciaga, Aquazzura, Fivestory, along with his home and those of Alexander Wang, Mario Dedivanovic, and others. He chose 40 Bleecker for the book’s cover because he is very proud of it and considers it representative of where he sees his work heading in the future. When asked what inspires him, Ryan acknowledges that it ranges from paintings and photographs to neoclassic and contemporary architecture; these influences are very visible in his work, which he says tends to be a mix of “brutalism and romanticism.”
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A LUSH WORLD OF
PAINTED FLOWERS with Artist Sonal Nathwani BY ROSA JH BERLAND AT E L I E R P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y M I C H E L L E M O C K
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“Flowers are my infinite source of joy and inspiration” Sonal Nathwani’s story of making art is not a traditional one, although creativity has always been at the core of her existence. The painter was born in Africa to Indian parents and grew up in England; her work reflects a host of Asian and European influences coming together to form an exquisite series of floral paintings. Each piece has a uniquely light infused splender. Sonal recalls that even as a child she liked to draw, and she studied art and art history, going on eventually to major in finance and accounting. When she was twenty-six, Sonal moved to Florence and attended the Charles H. Cecil Studio School where she learned advanced drawing techniques, including the power of line, tonal values and the nuances of light. This was a time crucial for the development of her work. For many years, Sonal also worked in the accounting industry while painting in her free time. After the birth of her children, the artist discovered that she had to choose a life that privileged her studio practice, and so she decided to forgo the financial world and dedicated herself to her family and creative life. Sonal primarily works in floral themes including a series of sketchbook paintings, canvas works as well surface design. Her sketchbook projects have a certain lavish beauty and echo the extravagant light filled beauty of Impressionist artistic style, reminding one of the gardens and ponds of Monet, but with a distinctly new twist. This lushly colored series began as a spontaneous exercise in using left-over paint on a palette. In many ways, Sonal sees these works as a way of mastering her own process, and yet the sensual and vibrant nature of these works have made them among the most popular of her practice. She remarks: “Even though I may have created hundreds of sketchbook spreads over the years, I still find it magical that a bouquet of flowers can emerge from just color, paint daubs and scribbles.” The sketchbooks have in part led to the artist’s floral paintings, which in turn reflect her interest in the botanical world, as studies of the romantic beauty of flowers. In fact, the abstract series seem to also reflect the incomparable magic of nature as well, with a rich depth of color, shadow, and painterly refraction of light. The delights of earth are her primary inspiration, and in these works she seeks to evoke the grandeur of a horizon, the transient yet astounding imagery of colorful cloud punctuated by swaths of paint, the style somewhere between Abstract Expressionism and Impressionism.
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The sketchbooks have in part led to the artistâ€™s floral paintings, which in turn reflect her interest in the botanical world, as studies of the romantic beauty of flowers. In fact, the abstract series seem to also reflect the incomparable magic of nature as well, with a rich depth of color, shadow, and painterly refraction of light. FLOWER FOR THE PEOPLE 11
In addition to the artistry demonstrated daily by contemporary floral designers on Instagram, Sonal’s primary influence or inspiration is nature and flowers, but she is also intrigued by the power of the color found in the work of Vincent Van Gogh. She shares she fascinated by…is most fascinated by the artist’s letters to his brother and the master painter’s ability to evoke emotion through paint. Other influences include brushwork of Chinese art, Japanese painting and the color of Indian art. Modern influences include the painterly mark-making of the modern abstract artist Cy Twombly, whose work made Sonal realize that “a scribble can be a thing of beauty and nothing is ordinary.” In general, Sonal uses acrylics, but also adds pencil, crayon and ink as well as collage. In terms of process, she works very intuitively, beginning with large loose strokes or marks. She chooses beautiful colors, without any real reference to a formal image, concentrating instead on impressions, sequentially laying down pigments to achieve a balance or harmonious picture plane. Often revealing the brushstroke and lines of drawings, which allows the viewer insight into the dance of the artist’s hand; Sonal’s work has a highly personalized style, a mixture of contemporary abstraction, impressionist modes of working paired with a sense of plein air painting all seemingly generated from her imaginative interpretation of form, color and light. Today Sonal lives and works in Vienna, Austria. The artist was honored with a feature on Design Sponge in 2017 and her work recently became available at Anthropologie. In 2018, she was invited to hold a “New Florals” Painting Workshop in Rome for Creative Visionary Projects. She also held a workshop with Fleur Inc. in Chicago and this summer she will partner with a small flower farm in England for a special workshop. Learn more about Sonal Nathwani at https://www.instagram.com/sonaln/ and https://www.sonalnathwani.com.
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In general, Sonal uses acrylics, but also adds pencil, crayon and ink as well as collage. In terms of process, she works very intuitively, beginning with large loose strokes or marks.
Rosa JH Berland is a NYC based curator and writer: https://rosajhberlandartconsultant.com
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GEOMETRIC NATURAL SPLENDOR THE MODERN JEWELRY OF AMERICAN GOLDSMITH JUDITH KAUFMAN P H OTO G R A P H Y BY M A R K N A N TZ .
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Award-winning American studio goldsmith Judith Kaufman is renowned for her jewelry designs that imaginatively blend precious stones and gold with an organic and elaborate aesthetic. Every piece is constructed by hand and the creative process begins almost as if a collage. Elements such as gold sheeting, wires and stones are laid on the workbench, and Judith plays with the materials, arranging and re-arranging to see how each piece relates to one another, a creative process she describes as spontaneous and intuitive. Materials include different carats and colors of gold and precious stones. Judith has made jewelry for more than forty years, beginning at age sixteen when a friend of her motherâ€™s taught her silversmithing. At age twenty-one, she began work in her first studio at the Farmington Valley Art Center, Avon where she found herself inspired by the company of other artists and artisans such as ceramicists, glassblowers and painters. After seventeen years here, she moved to her own space in West Hartford, Connecticut where she has been working since. Judithâ€™s work is considered atelier jewelry, each necklace, bracelet, ring and or earrings is one of a kind and construct-
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ed by hand using simple tools including pliers, torch and a sandblaster. One piece alone can have between fifty and one hundred solder joints. Overall, Judith describes her approach as “painterly.” The work happens in an almost spontaneous way, in the moment, reflecting the ephemeral studio process, as one component emerges the next step will reveal itself to her. This is something beyond the cool perfection of jewelry made in a mold; the hand of the craftswoman is readable in each beautifully rendered work. Judith shares that in some cases she can begin a piece as a ring and through the process of working it can transform into a pendant or a bracelet, a testament to her truly evolutionary way of working. The goldsmith notes that nature is her primary influence, her color palette often inspired by the light and tones of a season and her frequent walks in nature. She is fascinated by the shapes and structures found in the botanical world and has been known to turn a flower or plant upside down to understand its construction. For Judith, flowers are a
Overall, Judith describes her approach as “painterly.” The work happens in an almost spontaneous way, in the moment, reflecting the ephemeral studio process, as one component emerges the next step will reveal itself to her. significant source of aesthetic influence and she hopes that her own work expresses the simple joy and beauty that can be found in a bloom. Much of her work expresses the texture and shape of flowers, translating the feeling and essence of these organic works of art. These evocative sentiments are seen in organic shapes mirroring floral and botanical patterns often set within geometric forms. The originality and opulence of Judith’s pieces mean that she has a considerable following and many of her most dedicated collectors often note they eagerly anticipate seeing what the goldsmith creates. She has several private collectors, notably Jayne Seymour and Hillary Clinton, as well as the spouses of Robin Williams and Bob Villa. In addition to various group shows and awards, Judith’s pieces are found in the collections of top museums including the Museum of Art and Design, New York, the LA County Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Learn more about the work of Judith Kaufman at http://judithkaufman.com.
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KEEPING IT REAL. SCULPTURAL ARTIST MR. FLOWE 10 FLOWER FOR THE PEOPLE
ER FANTASTICâ€™S UNIVERSAL MESSAGE OF PEACE
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He’s a supremely talented, highly innovative sculptural artist, creating astonishing works of floral art out of sneakers. He has had some very high-profile clients, decorating Serena Williams’s Air Max 97 sneakers during the last US Open. Yet MFF, as he calls himself, is disarmingly modest and affectingly humble, preferring to hide his identity by appearing in public in a full mask so that the focus is full-square on his art and not on himself. He doesn’t show his face and his real name is never shared, but his goal is clear; that is to bring a message of peace and beauty to those who may never have seen anything like it, in places where art is seldom appreciated and where flowers never grow. BEGINNINGS He did not grow up in a privileged neighborhood. Far from it. But his mother maintained a small garden which he helped tend, so he came to appreciate flowers at an early age. In many ways, his mother kept him safe from the challenges and problems of the outside world as they took care of their flowers together. MFF openly admits that he never set out with the goal of becoming a multi-media artist and considers himself a “servant,” grateful for the opportunity to share his work with so many. For him, flowers are all about positive energy; they speak to a greater message of respect for nature, for the environment and for other people. He has dedicated his life and his art to sharing this message. SNEAKERS AS ART So, why did he choose the sneaker as a vehicle for his amazing sculptural pieces? Quite simply, sneakers were and are an important part of MFF’s life. He has always been a sneakerhead and, of course, the neighborhood kids were all about their sneakers, who had which brand, which were the coolest and the best. Sneakers are a type of currency in many neighborhoods, bought, stolen and traded as symbols of cool. MFF sees the sneaker as a sound track to one’s life, reflecting one’s culture, one’s background, one’s performance as an athlete and one’s overall persona. Sneakers make you feel good, they’re comfortable and they keep you grounded, so to speak. They connect you to the earth, as do flowers. THE PROCESS We were curious about the process of creating a new piece. It is still evolving, he explains. He is still learning about what works best, but he has adapted a routine that is comfortable. It starts with self-exploration; he can only create things about which he is passionate. His work must be truthful, transparent and authentic. The next step is color; he is always open to using flowers that hasn’t used before or using familiar flowers in a different way. Next comes texture. He goes to his studio and starts the building process, which may take hours. He has a sign over his work station which reads, “Take Your Time” and he always keeps this in mind as he works. “You own your time,” he says, and he tries to do as much good as he can with his. SPECIAL DELIVERY Among the many ways of displaying his art around the world, MFF has found a novel way to share it with the public. Called the Special Delivery Program, MFF began to leave floral pieces on random street corners for people to enjoy, leaving clues on Instagram about their locations. It caught on like wildfire. The response was enormous, and he began getting thankyou messages on social media. Unfortunately, the idea became somewhat too popular, making him anxious that he couldn’t keep up with the demand. People would drive in from far away to look for his flowers, only to find they had already gone. Now he leaves either prints of his sculptures or simply flowers.
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INFLUENCES MFF cites many who have influenced his work, including Jesus, MLK, Bob Marley, Neil Armstrong, JFK, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Steve Jobs and Michael Jordan. He respects those who have had doors slammed in their faces but succeed, nevertheless. LOVE AND BASKETBALL As his work is gaining enormous attention all over the world, we asked MFF about upcoming projects he is particularly excited about. On February 15th, he is due to open an extraordinary display of Michael Jordan branded floral art sneakers at Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. It doesn’t get much more high-profile than that, but MFF is typically humble, thanking Yvette Jordan for following and supporting his work on social media. He is gratified that the collaboration with Nike has grown “organically,” so to speak. The exhibit will be called “Love and Basketball,” aptly named as it opens the day after Valentine’s Day. And the future? He looks forward to continuing to spread his message in other ways, including working with emojis, which he has always liked. He wants to create more varieties of floral environments, new activations, novel ideas and displays to impact and honor the culture “as a servant of it,” he says. An impressive young artist, he’s already a star in the art world. You can read more about him in Flower for the People, as he honors us with a guest column in future issues.
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GILDED AGE WEDDING P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U R T E SY O F T H E B R E N I Z E R S
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ERIC GOLDSTEIN AND ELIZABETH LANCASTER MET ALMOST SIX years ago when they were next-door neighbors on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. “It was fate!” laughs Elizabeth. Their wedding took place in late September of 2018 at Le Chateau, a stunningly beautiful venue in South Salem, Westchester County, New York. High on a hillside overlooking Hudson Valley, Le Chateau has the grandeur of a Gilded Age mansion combined with acres of lush gardens - a perfect setting for their special day. It was originally an estate built back in the 1920s. The couple wanted to embrace the romantic, classic elements of the space by combining the style details of a Gilded Age mansion with the glorious greenery and natural beauty of the surrounding gardens to accent the venue’s ornate features.
centuating the original details of the space with gold vases and candles. We asked if she had any wedding day jitters. “I wasn’t nervous at all!’ says Elizabeth. “It was such a fun day - and having everyone I love in one place was a dream. I was actually more emotional than I expected walking down the aisle. There is something magical about so many familiar faces smiling and encouraging you that was very overwhelming, in a wonderful way. I have never felt anything like it.” Does she have any advice for couples planning a wedding? “Enjoy the process and don’t take things too seriously. It’s a party!” she says.
Elizabeth took special care in choosing the flowers for the wedding ceremony and the reception. She chose peonies and roses for the bouquets; she loved how soft and feminine they looked, especially against the greenery of the surrounding area which they brought into the alter, creating a smaller space for Eric and Elizabeth to say their vows. The couple also brought the garden look inside and at cocktail hour, guests enjoyed the splash of greenery and color on each table, the fireplace and corner, ac-
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RUSTIC Elegance P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y R A C H E L G I R O U A R D AT R A C H E L G I R O U A R D P H O T O G R A P H Y. C O M LIZ AND TAYLOR CHILDS PLANNED A MODERN, UPscale rustic look for their wedding - and flowers played a huge part in the overall feel Liz wanted. She opted for a very natural look that would enhance the beautiful scenery and greenery of the venue, so they used lots of whites and greens in their floral arrangements; the mix of the mercury glass and brushed wood helped combine both rustic and modern elements. The wedding took place at The Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden, MA on September 15 of last year. This sophisticated mountainside stone and cedar retreat has the feel of a modern, rustic barn, echoing the owner’s background as a well-known race-horse breeder. The grounds have a stunning view of the Connecticut Valley with a wedding gazebo and waterfall. They used many in-season blooms like white garden
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roses, peonies, orchids and others. “I also knew I wanted succulents,” says Liz, “since I think this really spoke to the “rustic” theme, while keeping things natural and adding a unique element to the arrangements that I haven’t seen much before at weddings.” “One of my favorite things about the flowers at my wedding was the bridesmaids’ bouquets. Each of my bridesmaids carried a different bouquet, which was so unique. They absolutely loved that each bouquet incorporated one or more flowers from my bridal bouquet. My sister’s (MOH) bouquet was then a smaller version of mine, which again was something special for us to share together. Wristlets were made for my mother and mother-in-law, another unique touch, so that they could be tied into the bridal party but set apart from everyone else. My mom and sister also
wore flowers in their hair, and were the only ones that did, which put a little extra attention on them,â€? Liz went on to explain. She chose not to have large, overwhelming centerpieces on the tables in the grand ballroom, instead opting for a smaller accent piece on each. She especially loved the sweetheart table florals that set it apart from the other tables; the mantle decorations brought her original vision to life. The alter and gazebo flowers were created by their florist on the spot â€“ which Liz loved because it meant they were completely one-of-a-kind and unique to her wedding. There were many special moments Liz remembers about that day; walking down the aisle with her dad, exchanging vows they wrote themselves and having her older sister lead and officiate the entire ceremony, which took place just as the sun was going down, giving them an amazing sunset. It was perfect.
A C R O S S
T H E
Memories of the White House RUTH LOISEAU
ROSE GARDEN, WEST VIEW This photograph of the Rose Garden as seen from the west wing was taken by Erik Kvalsvik in 1996. Also known as the Kennedy Rose Garden, this space is the public venue of the White House Grounds and it is where Presidents sign bills, give speeches, address the nation, and entertain foreign dignitaries.
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ROSE GARDEN This picture of the Rose Garden was taken by Bruce White in 2010. As you may know, it is also known as the Kennedy Rose Garden.
“And speaking of some funny moments in my years at the White House, we were doing flowers for a state dinner in the Rose Garden, but unfortunately, the rose bushes were not in bloom. So, the flower shop wired beautiful white roses to the bushes to make sure they were full and lush for the dignitaries!”
AS MASTER FLORIST TO THE WHITE HOUSE FOR OVER 28 YEARS, I have many fond memories of working on special events honoring world leaders, dignitaries, politicians and royalty. I’ve been lucky enough to create floral designs at the White House since the Reagan Administration, including Congressional Barbecues, the visit of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, State Dinners for Queen Elizabeth II, the NATO Summit and much more, up to and including the present administration. I’ve treasured my archive of photographs of the White House over the years - and so I thought readers might be interested to see some of the them. The following photographs show the Rose Garden as it looked in 1996, though 2010, 2016 and again in 2018. As an integral part of our country’s heritage and traditions, the Rose Garden is used for formal and informal gatherings alike. The annual Easter Egg Roll, dating back to 1878, and Turkey Pardoning Ceremony, which is said to date back to Abra-
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ham Lincoln’s time, both create an excuse to laugh and have fun, especially as they are for children to enjoy. I love the fact that these events show the less serious side of our Presidents’ official residence! And speaking of some funny moments in my years at the White House, we were doing flowers for a state dinner in the Rose Garden, but unfortunately, the rose bushes were not yet in bloom. So, the flower shop wired beautiful white roses to the bushes to make sure they were full and lush for the dignitaries! All the photographs in this article are compliments of the White House Historical Association. I hope you like looking at them as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you! All the best, Ruth Loiseau
MRS. OBAMA OFFICIATES THE OBSTACLE COURSE This photograph from the 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll was taken by Matthew D’Agostino for the White House Historical Association on March 28, 2016. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama presided over the festivities, which included story time, an Easter egg hunt, games, and live entertainment. In this photograph, Mrs. Obama officiates an obstacle course as part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign. The event took place in the Rose Garden in front of the West Colonnade of the White House.
TURKEY PARDONING CEREMONY 2018 Fast forward to 2018, this photograph shows Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s children interacting with “Peas,” prior to the Turkey Pardoning Ceremony in the Rose Garden on November 20, 2018. Presidents and their families have received turkeys for the holidays as far back as the 1870s. However, the origin of the turkey pardon is said to have started with President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, after he offered clemency to a turkey, purchased for Christmas dinner, at his son’s request. The pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey became a formalized tradition during the Reagan administration.
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