3.17.2010

WOW Inspiration:The Chambered Nautilus


This is a follow up to the Are You WithIt? post yesterday. The women of Withit have been in the thick of planning and preparations for its annual education conference. It didn't take long for Sara Lyke, WithIt's executive director; Barbara Miller, conference chair, and me to decide on the color theme for the year. With Pantone's 2010 turquoise in mind, we decided on a robust complementary red, to match the calming color for the women-centric leadership development network's biggest event.
the serene qualities of blue and
the invigorating aspects of green,
Turquoise evokes thoughts of soothing, tropical waters
and a languorous, effective escape from
the everyday troubles of the world,
while at the same time restoring
our sense of wellbeing
----Pantone
mood board courtesy of glam check
I accepted the call to be VP of Networking and WOW Awards Chair last December while I was in Palm Beach for the holidays. I immediately got inspired there while thinking of colors and a decor theme for the conference and awards night that will take place, August 17-19th in Charlotte, North Carolina. This will be my third time to attend the conference and my first as a committee member....big shoes to fill.
photo from Wikipedia
With summer and all the evocative images that come to mind, I thought that the Nautilus shell would make a strong symbolic emblem for the home and furnishings industry after a difficult 2009. We all experienced a challenging period, stayed bouyant, and have managed to come out of it stronger and wiser.
I took a page from one of my all time favorite ubiquitous coffee table books,

As coral reefs grow, it provides a habitat for intimately connected marine communities. The diversity of corals and the significant role it plays in the development of other ecosystems and its interconnectedness is akin to how WithIt works. It is an amazing powerhouse that supports its members as they grow and branch out to flourish in areas where they need to be. I've learned and continue to do so from many women leaders with various enriching experiences.
Tobi Fairley from House of Turquoise
Corals are ingrained with symbiotic tissues that enable them to develop into large branches. Reefs maintain a network, foster intimate ecological relationships, and delicate webs much like the many real and virtual networks we build and belong to. Not only is the education conference a great time to meet wonderful contacts in the home and furnishings industry, but also a time......
Kate Spade ad
To Learn
House of Turquoise
To Grow
To Lead
Kate Spade ad
To Encourage
House of Turquoise
To Mentor and Be Mentored
A Time to Give and Take
Tobi Fairley from House of Turquoise
I look forward to some tete`-a-tete´ with friends I've made.

Neptune's Treasure by Scalamandre
share stories, moments, ideas, and laughs
while breaking bread
Kate Spade ad
or indulging in sweet euphoria
Last Valentine's Day, I had my eureka moment
that tied the whole inspiration together.
Le Corbusier's Spirales Logarithmiques
reminded me of this poem
photo from here

THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS
by: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sail the unshadowed main,–
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,–
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn;
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:–
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!


"In many ways, we are like a chambered nautilus. It adds a chamber each year through time and effort to accommodate its growing body. New chambers represent our lives. We cannot turn back nor relive the past. According to legend, a chambered nautilus can sail while floating on the water by hoisting up a membrane. Life’s big question is, “What’s our goal in life?” “To grow and not to go backwards.” Our goal should be to make each year better and more dignified than the previous. The last five lines of the poem speak of growing out from a weak past (small chamber), creating new and better years (bigger chambers), continuing to create more precious years (even bigger chambers), and dying (leaving the shell on the beach)"----excerpt from a brilliant analysis



Conference details here or
please visit

*all photos are from personal archives, unless noted*

2 comments:

StephanieLowder said...

WOW ! Literally. What a beautiful conceptual moment. The nautilus form reveals truth and beauty, and it speaks to the soul.

Thank you for the reverence you have shown for the lessons the nautilus offers if only we will choose to take a moment to attend.

I'm sure I'm not the only person for whom taking a moment to attend to anything – directly and completely – is a challenge. What with the full throttle accelerator pedal stuck business pace we all share.

But... isn't this always the case... I direct my attention to this post, thinking I do it FOR YOU (in respect for your work, my WithIt friend) and having done so... I find... that I have attended this post, this blog, these images and thoughts... FOR MYSELF. What a gift you have given me.

I am so proud to be your WithIt friend. And, as 2010 WithIt president, I am so very eager to be a part of our wonderful WOW celebration, so that we all can say:

Thank You, Maybelline.

Cindy said...

Oh my goodness, Maybelline. I LOVE everything about this. The colors are fantastic, and the poem says it all. The decor ideas are great, too. Thanks for your good thinking on this.

Cindy Williams