MSA Member Dispatches from Home: Studio Daedre
June 22, 2020
By Daedre Berryman
It was afternoon in Los Angeles and there were no new emails or phone messages when I returned from lunch. The world had gone silent as Covid 19 changed daily routines and the life that I had been accustomed to. My phone alerted me that The Safer at Home Order would go into effect in a few hours. I felt out of control, searching for a way to make sense of what was happening. The new normal was making it hard to focus and stay creative when all the normalcy of life had been stripped away. I needed distraction from reality and something to occupy my mind; something that would give me the feeling of accomplishment that I so desperately desired.
The first few weeks were the hardest. In the beginning I did not venture out, except to walk the dog and visit my 94-year-old mother. There was lots of hand washing, scrutiny of any boxes left at the door by UPS, and a meticulous sanitizing of anything brought into my home or office. Covid 19 didn’t stop and I soon realized that I would have to make decisions and move quickly in order to keep my sanity and to stay in business. I realized that this was an opportunity to tackle projects that were either too time-consuming or too daunting under normal circumstances. I made two decisions. The first was that I would close down my showroom at the LA Mart. This may sound simple, but it involved days and weeks of moving, cleaning, organizing, packing, sorting, and painting, not to mentions trips to the dumpster. Some days I came home so dusty, tired, and overwhelmed that it was hard to do anything but veg on the couch. The difficult part of leaving the LA Mart was putting on hold my hopes for partnership between the LA Mart and the MSA -- and then, the physical scraping of my name off the glass doors and windows of my showroom. The second decision was less daunting but almost as hard. I needed a massive cleanup of my home office. I moved file cabinets, discarded outdated papers, reorganized supplies, and hung new pictures on the walls of my office. This gave me a much-needed new outlook.
Next, I reexamined how I would do business in a pandemic. My conclusion: no trade shows for me in the foreseeable future. There would be no travel and no MSA Chapter meetings and no vestige of how I have done business in the past. How I miss the personal contact: experiencing and exploring a museum with a fellow member, having a conversation. and being able to look someone in the eye. That being said, I decided to apply to FAIRE, an online wholesale marketplace and store. I did get accepted to be a Vendor, but I was really nervous. Would I be able to make my site take on the look of Studio Daedre? Would FAIRE allow my products to be found and sourced easily? Would my photographic skills be adequate and pictures be representational of my products? (yes, thanks to David of Popcorn and his MSA Session on product photography!) The answer to all of the above was yes. I am really impressed with this site, but only time will tell if it was the right decision.
Partnerships with MSA Vendors became my next area of focus. I love paper, but I have always wanted to expand my product line into wearable art. I have met two amazing and powerful women through the MSA: Katy from Narrative Materials and Michelle from Ciao Bella Jewelry. Katy and I met by chance in San Diego and I loved her scarves the moment I laid eyes on them. Now, we are working together to put my illustrations on Covid Couture Face Masks and Scarves. Michelle and I met in Atlanta in the MSA Section…she had the booth across from me. By the end of the show, we were partnering on cuff bracelets and earrings.
Katy, Michelle and I have now worked together on several projects including a Covid Contest for MSA Members. The prize was custom illustrations to be put on note cards, scarves and cuff bracelets. The National Czeck and Slovak Museum and Library, located in Iowa, was the winner. As per their request, I worked on illustrations with dragonflies inspired by the Art Nouveau Master Alphonse Mucha. It was a fantastic collaboration. I printed and hand detailed the note cards, Katy made the beautiful scarves, and Michelle hand crafted the cuff bracelets, all based on my illustrations. Once again, I learned that we are better and stronger when we share ideas and work together, than when we are isolated and apart.
So here I am in, still in Los Angeles, fourteen weeks into the pandemic and the recession. There are a few new emails and phone messages when I return from lunch. The world is definitely not silent as we grapple with reform, change, and a new way of living life. I am learning to control what I can -- and let the rest go. I continue to design and illustrate, working on subjects that are relevant to me. I remain optimistic for life beyond Covid and I look forward to the new normal that will follow. To all of my friends at the MSA, stay safe and well. I look forward to seeing you when this is behind us.
Studio Daedre is the result of a tenacious and inspired woman following her artistic vision and love of design. Daedre, the designer behind Studio Daedre, has always been happiest when she is creating something. A love of design inspired Daedre to attend University receiving two degrees in Architecture, obtaining her license and practicing architecture in Los Angeles for many years; but she longed for freedom. Daedre longed for a way to express herself where she had ultimate control of the final product, free of bureaucracy and with the ability to say yes to design choices she agrees with. Studio Daedre has gone through many transitions in the 25+ years we have been in business. We have innovated when necessary, reinvented ourselves as the world has evolved and ultimately enjoyed the pride of having done things our way. Studio Daedre is committed to producing superior quality product with exquisite illustrations and a hand made touch. Daedre has been honored as a Louis Award Finalist in recognition of creative excellence in the greeting card and gift industry. Daedre is a Proud Member of the MSA.