MY WASHINGTON Ann Hand, jewelry designer BY KEVIN CHAFEE
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO PIECES WITH A POLITICAL MOTIF? My love of country and the people who work so hard to make it great! It all started with LBJ, and for more than 50 years I’ve received all sorts of campaign buttons and other great political paraphernalia. My main focus is designing for our Americana collection, but I’ve had a great time creating political pins, too. My first attempt at doing something solely political was a Clinton-Gore wristwatch. I was so surprised when it sold out! SHARE A FAVORITE TALE ABOUT YOUR WORK OVER THE YEARS. We now have our own “Presidential Pin Poll.” It’s a lot of fun and has actually been remarkably accurate since 2004. We have found that interest in the campaign picks up by mid-September, and the increase in our sales mirrors this. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we hear from people across the country.
HOW HAS WASHINGTON CHANGED MOST SINCE YOUR HUSBAND, LLOYD, SERVED AS PRESIDENT JOHNSON’S U.S. CHIEF OF PROTOCOL? It was certainly a magical time for us, but more formal than today. Almost every embassy dinner was black-tie, often followed by dancing or some kind of entertainment. The women wore long, white kid gloves and dreamy gowns. While there were many areas of disagreement among members of Congress, there was also a much more cohesive climate than now. People worked hard to find compromise based upon common goals. HOW HAS IT REMAINED THE SAME? Washington was, is and always will be centered around the government and power.Who has it? Who is striving to get it? Access to power – then and now – is what everyone wants, and more often
than not, for good reasons.They want to help others, bring about change or find ways to make our country better and stronger. WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST PEOPLE DO — OR NOT DO – TO BE SUCCESSFUL PLAYERS HERE? Be sincere, be friendly and lend a helping hand to those new to the Washington scene. Be a good friend. Be there when someone you know has a bad story written about them or gets fired from their job. As our dearest friend, Jack Valenti, used to say: “Call or write them a note – they will never forget that kindness.” For more than 50 years, I’ve watched men and women come and go, and the really special ones knew how to leave their egos in the closet. Their reputations as great leaders endured long after they were gone.
MY TOP SPOTS I love to take out-of-town friends to Café Milano (3251 Prospect St. NW) to see Washington power players. For a great steak we like The Prime Rib (2020 K St. NW). A table for two by the fireplace at The Jefferson Hotel (1200 16th St. NW) can’t be beat. My husband and I love to go for long walks along the C&O Canal (1) or the Tidal Basin (2) with our two Yorkies, Romeo and Juliet. My favorite guilt-free shopping place is The Christ Child Opportunity Shop (1427 Wisconsin Ave. NW). All the sales go to charity. It might sound strange and spooky, but it’s really interesting to walk through Georgetown’s Oak Hill Cemetery (3) (3001 R St. NW) and read the names on the tombstones of American heroes. Don’t miss seeing the State Department’s beautiful art-and antique-filled Diplomatic Reception Rooms (4) — if you are lucky enough to receive an invitation. The White House will always be at the top of my list for exciting and enduring memories. I’ll never forget my first dance there with King Hussein of Jordan, when President Johnson cut in!
WA S H I N G T O N L I F E
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A NN H AN D (CO U RT E SY P H OTO) ; C &O CAN A L ( V I A W I K I M E D I A CO M M O N S); T I DA L BA S I N ( V I A W I KI M E D I A CO M M O N S) ; OAK H I L L C E M E T E RY (V I A W I K I M E D I A CO M MO N S) ; O P P O RT U N I T Y S H O P (CO U RT E SY O F C H RI ST C H I L D SO C I E T Y ).
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN JEWELRY DESIGN? One night, I opened a door and my life changed. I walked into my first jewelry design workshop and was dazzled by thousands of beads in all shapes and colors arranged on long tables. Something just clicked and I launched a career in jewelry design. It became a lifelong passion and still brings me great joy and happiness.
Balls & Galas