FETE HOME AMBASSADOR / A Style Icon We've Chosen To Represent Our Minimalist Collection
Jill Sharp Weeks
We're honored to have Jill Sharp Weeks as the ambassador for our Minimalist Collection. Jill's keen eye and creative spirit became well-known in her former role as creative director for a large home furnishings company. But, it's the styling of her own homes that made us love her. Filled with graphic black and white, handmade baskets, one of a kind finds and of course her collection of tribal beads - we can't get enough! The feeling was mutual when Jill saw our Minimalist Collection. We love how she incorporated it into her home and made it feel distinctly hers. See more from Jill on her website and read on for her tabletop inspiration and tips for making a gathering unlike any your guests will have experienced before.
Fete Home: What was your approach to today's table?
Jill Sharp Weeks: When I went to set the table for this gathering, I pulled out lots of natural elements – all with great texture to contrast with the ubër chic black and white Half Moon Plates, the Ebony Flatware and the Mini Bowls that I filled with home-made borscht soup.
I chose unique items from around our Santa Fe home that felt simple + exceptional at the same time. The thread is always things that have tons of soul + that have been held and used by ancient cultures.
I love watching our guests pick up these items during the course of our dinner parties. They are irresistible + curious and they almost always generate an amazing story.
I love using my large collection of textiles at parties – for tablecloths, as throws on guest chairs, hung up to form a backdrop…. Basically, any excuse!
This striped hand-woven cloth is a heavy hemp + cotton Guatemalan weave. Sometimes I place the cloths very casually, so they drape onto the floor, here I folded it to show off some of the Moroccan-made Zellige tile table top.
Breadboards/Cutting boards are really unexpected place-settings + chargers. They each are uniquely shaped and immediately add a worn + hand-hewn feeling. I have a ridiculously large collection – from all over the globe. These are one of those things that I am super passionate about! I’m guilty!!! Might own 70!
Wooden African hand-carved spoons, from Niger, were added to each plate, along with Tamarind pods + dried Mexican Sage bundles. Each of these items were in sharp contrast to the graphic nature of the plates and really exemplifies how I love to style.
Hand-made straw bulls from France, a shell arm band from Papau, New Guinea holding curls of cinnamon sticks for aroma, a steel silhouette of a horse used as a plate for the Borscht soup – all of these elements were used as objêts randomly placed on the table to make for an unexpected and personal table-scape.
The fresh items include jujube nuts along with blood orange slices for color/scent and various salts for flavor. I love to mix it up.
I am a stylist to my core - from before I even knew what that meant! When I was a child, I was always setting up parties in my bedroom + gathering things from our Connecticut woods – rocks, nuts, moss, sticks + leaves to mix in with my tiny dish sets.
Honestly, I am still that same person.
Fete Home: What's your favorite item in this FH collection?
Jill Sharp Weeks: That’s a hard choice but I would have to say the Half Moon Dinner + Salad plates.
Favorite Color Palette. Ying + Yang.
Opposites Attract. Positive Negative. Modern Primitive.
I will use these plates in so many settings, mixed in so many different ways with things that I own. Also, a superb wedding gift for a new couple that does yet not know their style!
Second choice: The Mini Bowls! So many cool things to use these for! Sauces, salt+pepper, tiny dessert treats – kinda obsessed!
Fete Home: What Are Your Tips For Creating A Stylish Table Setting?
Jill Sharp Weeks: A table setting is like a painting to me. I pull out things that I love and start composing. Because I am a collector, we have lots of unusual things to set a really personal + unique table setting. I never do the same thing twice. Entertaining at all levels is about Gathering People Together – and showing them that intent + love.
Ray, my husband, and I really enjoy being in the kitchen together + cooking --- laying out the fresh foods we are going to serve and figuring out how to prepare them.We put on music. We laugh. We make a drink – or several… Dancing is involved!
If we entertain spontaneously, we grab something from the store that is already prepared and then just layer in a few things that we make. I know we all simply enjoy the gesture/effort of bringing people together at a table – the labor to make a full meal is not always realistic in our busy lives.
It probably all stems from parents with open minds that created fascinating parties – wild and innovative 196o’s + 7o’s supper clubs. My incredibly talented mother used to hollow-out eggs, and then watercolor the faces of the guests onto these eggs! Dad would cut up sticks or wooden dowels and mount the eggs on top. These were used at each place setting and of course, the guests took these portraits home. I thought this was how everybody threw a fun Thursday supper. Crazy!
I served the food that my mom made and often was asked to play the piano for entertainment. Today, I’d love to know what my parent’s friends thought of those nights. It makes me smile. Mom and I still talk about it. Legendary parties – that have had an indelible impression on my approach to entertaining.
Fete Home: What's The Best Party You've Ever Hosted And Why?
Jill Sharp Weeks: To celebrate the opening night of the 2018 Spoleto Art Festival, held annually each spring in Charleston – we hosted a party for the patron’s, artists and attendees from all over the world.
I had hand-made the envelopes of our Dada-esque art- themed soirée invitations, requesting that all who attended only wore black and white.
As guests arrived, I had staged an art installation outside of our home with a HUGE black HORSE (and his owner/handler) that I had painted with white polka dots – he was safely protected in our tree-lined drive and it set the most incredible tone for what was to be found inside! The 25-foot sycamore trees wore graphic slipcovers on their trunks!
Every detail had been considered – the corridor of black rattan lanterns hung from bamboo poles to access our front door, the b+w striped hand-made aprons the servers wore, the serving platters + napkins, the food – everything was white, black or green!
We had given many local guests exotic masks to wear as a surprise and the combination of the alternative chill + funk music played live from our upstairs balcony, and the feel of our backyard garden with massive olive trees and planted in only white flowers created a sensational and memorable night. Someday you will see it in my book!