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Creativity – Meet Andrea Gray Harper, Event Maker Extraordinaire

Jul 27 2014

by Whitney Long

In this series on The Southern C, meet some great Southern creative minds – the artists, designers, makers and doers – that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Go behind the scenes to see where they work, what they are working on, the path that led them to this moment and just what made them “take the leap” from idea to doing.

The subjects may vary but most share many of the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious” and this is one thing we are happy to spread!

This week we meet Savannah based event planner Andrea Gray Harper and learn more about her boutique design services. Andrea specializes in creating beautiful and well-crafted events packed full of personal details. Almost every detail incorporated into her events is hand created by Andrea or someone on her team… they sew, saw, cut, glue, string, dye, nail, paint, tape, and craft it all! That’s hard to find in today’s ready-made, order it online world and this qualifies her as a true Southern creative…

Andrea Gray Harper

Describe your brand or business:

Gray Harper Event Maker specializes in creating beautiful and well-crafted events packed full of personally significant details. From intimate elopements set under a beautiful live oak tree, to huge parties on the lawn of an old farm, we work endlessly to combine the beautiful and the joyous so that our clients can focus on what’s important – enjoying the moment and having fun!

What’s a “normal” day like in your work space or studio/gallery:

I always joke about how I never wanted a desk job, but I would say that 80% of the time I am either responding to emails or calling vendors! The rest of the time I am playing with and sourcing materials, crafting beautiful event décor, and doing site visits with clients.

How has your background influenced your work?

I have a B.F.A in Textile Design and an M.F.A. in Fibers so you could say that exploring materials and pushing the limits of a space are right up my alley! When I was persuing my Master’s degree I spent a lot of time studying vines that grow in the South and translated their growth patterns into really dynamic installations. My background in craft and design has influenced the way that I research and truly makes me feel like when it comes to designing a space, anything is possible.

Favorite blogs, websites or other sources of inspiration:

My clients are my main source of inspiration for an event. When designing for a wedding, I thread details of my client’s personalities and fresh ideas together to create a fun and cohesive event that screams the love my clients share for one another. I also really love the blog, The Sweetest Occasion as well as the Instagram feeds for @inspiredbythisblog and @lavendersflowers

What was the catalyst to “take the leap” from idea to doing?

Honestly, I feel like every day in this business I am “taking a leap.” I am learning something new with each event and figuring things out as I go. I would not have ever been able to do this without the love and support from my sweet husband and growing community of wedding creatives in Savannah.

High and low of being a “creative” –

Not being able to keep “office hours”. Sometimes, even though you have turned off your laptop, you just can’t turn off your creativity. Your mind is constantly thinking and taking in ideas and when you are inspired at 10 o’clock at night you sometimes just have to go with it because you might wake up the next day and have no idea what it was that you thought of!

Speed Round – Five Favorites

Artist: William Morris

Book: The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Indulgence: Rum and tequila, but generally not at the same time!

Trip/Escape: Panama

Quote: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris

(photos by Jade + Matthew Take Pictures)

To read about more Southern creatives click these links:

Emily Bargeron

Erin Gregory

Harrison Blackford

Meredith Anne Sutton

Elizabeth Stafford White and Jacquelyn Stafford Buckner

Amy Kinslow

Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and contributing editor for Southern Living, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors. This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!

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Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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