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Sara Baldwin Designs Blog

Why We Are All Rock Stars

Or, Synergy 101.

We can all be and feel like rock stars; if you don’t currently believe this, allow me to explain why you should.

This is my daughter Grace in our New Ravenna guest shower. She is demonstrating her inborn understanding of this concept–our PR firm Otto took the photo and added the tag line. (If i ever design a plumbing line, this will be the ad concept for it.)

In addition to my job where I design mosaics to be fabricated from glass and yes, rocks, I am in a rock band that’s been together for almost two years.

The story of how our band started goes something like this:

One night, at a small backyard evening party in the coastal town of Cape Charles, a friend of mine announced that she’d always wanted to be in an all-girl band and perform before she turned 40–in three months. Despite the fact that nobody knew how to play even one instrument, four of us laughingly volunteered to help her achieve her goal–we’d had some wine, anything seemed possible. We made a date for “band practice” the next day at 5:00 in the afternoon. Much to everyone’s surprise, all five of us showed up. Most of us didn’t even own instruments, so we sang to a karaoke machine trying to figure out what songs we’d like to learn to perform.

Now mind you, Sheri is a very talented person–she’s a best-selling novelist who has been on Oprah andOprah’s list. She can hula-hoop while balancing a glass of wine on her head and reciting Chaucer in middle English. So all of us figured Sheri could do anything she set her mind to.We also knew that Sheri had an awesome singing voice because the evening before she had sung all the verses of “I Spent my Last Ten Dollars on Birth Control and Beer (…my life was so much simpler when i was sober, and queer)”–this was a song we both remembered from college by a band called “Two Nice Girls”.

The rest of the band members are no slouches either: Sophie has a PhD in Southeast Asian Cinema (imagine going to Slumdog Millionaire with this expert!) and now commutes to Vassar to teach, Andi and I are entrepreneurs, and Barb is a psychologist and authority on Bonobo Chimps.

Here we are pretending we are on an album cover:

I believe we posed for this photo before we knew how to play even one song. How’s that for optimistic? (Banjo player Sophie’s husband Erin is a National Geographic Videographer, so we take full advantage.)

Well, to make a long story short, we all chose instruments–I’d always wanted to play bass guitar so this was the perfect excuse–and over the course of the next few months we learned seven songs which we played at a party for Sheri’s 40th birthday! All of our friends showed up and humored us while we performed “These Boots Were Made for Walkin'”, and “Independent Woman” plus other songs we thought were appropriate for an all female band.

One of the guests said: “I came here thinking you guys were going to embarrass yourselves and it would be painful, but actually, you guys sounded pretty good!” High praise for a band that didn’t know what a capo was three months earlier (you clamp it onto your guitar strings to change the key)! We would have settled for “Wow, I could actually recognize the songs.” Two weeks later we played at a harbor party in Cape Charles and over 300 people showed up.

The common denominators in our attitudes were a fearlessness about potentially making fools of ourselves in public, and enthusiasm about learning new skills.

One and a half years later, our friends are still showing up and embracing us, and we’re still practicing and playing gigs and having a blast. We’ve even gotten paid to play!!! We now know over 40 songs from a variety of genres, and the four of us who were tone deaf before forming this band are performing three part harmonies! Incidentally, anyone can start a band, at any age. Our band members range in age from 35 to 54. More constructive than a mid-life crisis, if we can do it, then anybody can do it.

This band changed my life and has been one of the most wonderful projects in which I’ve everCloseup detail of custom jewel glass mosaic panel "Ellen's Fish" (New Ravenna Mosaics) participated. It’s the perfect illustration of the concept of “synergy”–each of us plays our own small part, but together we make cohesive, joyful music which makes us feel like, you guessed it, rock stars!

Now isn’t that the same thing that occurs each time we create something for one of our clients? I like to think of each of our mosaic projects as another perfect manifestation of synergy–the customers, the specifiers, the showroom sales and support people, the installers, New Ravenna account reps, warehouse staff and fabricators–we all work together, each playing our small part, with the goal of creating something beautiful that ideally will bring joy into our clients’ lives, our lives, and the world.We should all feel like rock stars every day!!!

And isn’t a mosaic also the perfect symbol of synergy? All those little insignificant pieces–when put together, they transcend their individual identities and become a cohesive work of art which will add pleasure to many lives for years to come. It’s amazing how often 1+1+1+1+1 really does equal 10.

This mosaic panel is from the Synergy collection 2009 and was designed by New Ravenna and my sister Ellen McCaleb, who usually carves trophy fish for a living–thanks baby sis! Another special thanks to the guys at Oceanside Glasstile for their inspirational company band Slump. More thanks to our more than 100 employees at New Ravenna who work every day demonstrating the art of synergy to me first-hand. And even more thanks to all of you, our customers and friends, cohorts and supporters. We don’t get to meet you often enough, however we love and appreciate every thing you do!

10 Responses to “Why We Are All Rock Stars”

  1. Pam Barefoot says:

    Inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ann Wright says:

    Outstanding! I’m amazed that Sara could find so many kindred spirits among the Shore’s small population.

  3. Kendra Melodia says:

    Awwww, rats. Now I have to dust off that guitar I bought myself last year and actually learn to play!! Maybe I can do a guest spot with you some time! :) Thanks for sharing; what a treat!

  4. Sara Baldwin says:

    of COURSE you can do a guest spot–that would be a blast. just come visit–we’d love to have you out here, and you can stay with me!

  5. I love that story! Talented, creative, brainy and fun – it must be all that fresh air. I want to move to Exmore! Send an email update for your concert tour!

  6. Fantastic post — and what a beautiful analogy! I think your daughter is following in Mom’s “Rock Star” footsteps. Gorgeous mosaics, btw. :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great Post.

    I have added you to my blog roll.

    See you soon


  8. cheryl says:

    Beautiful work! I love it!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is that a Martin?

Leave a Reply to Anonymous

About Me

Sara BaldwinSara Baldwin

Exmore, Virginia, United States

New Ravenna Mosaics founder and Creative Director, Owner, Sara Baldwin Design, Bass guitar player, Envisioner, Appreciator of the Sublime and Ridiculous.


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