I am a born-and-raised Upper East Sider who took a chance to move to Charleston in 2018. In New York, I attended the Chapin School and then earned a BA in Art History from Skidmore College and an MA in Art Business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art. I then worked in business development for the contemporary art department at Sotheby's auction house before launching a boutique art advisory, Blaise + Co. Contemporary Art. After these years spent championing artists, I earned a JD from Fordham Law School, where I co-founded the Art Law Society and was an editor of the Law Review. With that, I worked as a litigator at the Wall Street law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft before eventually moving to South Carolina, where I spent four years in public service as the senior and multi-district litigation law clerk to an Obama-nominated federal judge. I've had some wonderful experiences in my career so far: standing in an auction room with a secret list in hand; pulling all nighters to win proxy fights and corporate board takeovers, and ushering artists through the unknown to turn their work into sustenance. These days, I pour my creative and organizational skills into The Finds, my lifestyle platform at BlaiseBarber.com
, and count my lucky stars to have such a beautiful life in the Old Village neighborhood of Charleston with my husband, Phillip, our dog, River, and our daughter (arriving shortly as we speak here!), Cosima.
How would you describe your style (as it relates to fashion, art, interiors, etc.)?
My style across the board--for interiors, wardrobe, and design--is classic, traditional, and tasteful. Growing up in Manhattan, I'm drawn to that pre-war sensibility of Park Avenue and the Gilded Age buildings near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Aerin Lauder's aesthetic is always a touchstone for me. But my taste in fine art deliberately diverts, in order to cut through that classic sensibility: you need some acid with the sweet. I'm therefore drawn to conceptual works (I wrote my Master's thesis on how to collateralize physically ephemeral video art, for instance), challenging visuals (Robert Rauschenberg is a favorite), and works that impose into your physical space (walking inside a Richard Serra installation at Dia Beacon gives goose bumps).
What is inspiring you these days?
My incredible friends inspire me deeply, especially of late. I'm lucky to have developed a constellation of women friends, each perfectly unique, but who share the same rich intellect and curiosity, not to mention a knee-slapping sense of humor. Much like a work of art, women have so much to give just beneath the surface; you never know what someone has navigated and being privy to their unfolding layers of individuality is a privilege. We're all just walking each other home, in the end. If we can do that surrounded by evocative art, all the better!
What is your favorite thing to collect?
Art! Although, I am very conservative about what I choose to add to the collection. Perhaps that is because everything I own evokes and reflects a particular time in my life--an important experience or moment. Aesthetics are just one of the pieces of the puzzle; sparks have to fly in the moment for me, too. And I will never hesitate to buy a museum exhibition catalogue or gorgeous coffee table book of an artist's work.
What makes a house a home?
A house is a home by the souls in it, certainly. Some of my fondest memories are of my law school days in a simple, but bright, studio apartment on a tree lined street with my little dachshund, Ollie. That said, who doesn't love having the elbow room and time to make a space your own? For me, objects can take on a talismanic quality and, while the Virgo in me loves to cull and purge, I equally like to collect and display those trinkets that spark joy. My home office shelves are filled with carefully selected photos in similar silver frames, pieces of crystal, and a bowl of matchbooks from my favorite restaurants around the world. Our upstairs library shelves are overflowing with novels and biographies that I've read and loved, each with a custom bookplate in the front cover to solidify its standing as a keepsake. But, perhaps most prominently, our dining room is the "art gallery," displaying our collection of contemporary art on every wall and tall stacks of exhibition and auction catalogues from shows I've had the pleasure of seeing near and far. Each evokes an important memory of a special trip or day at the local museum where my mind and heart was yet again opened to the power of art. I often pull out the very large books and leave them open and displayed on the dining table to further encourage the room into a visual library to inspire.
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