Seeing your face on TV can be an exciting and surreal experience — but if you're an artist, seeing your work on TV might possibly be even more exciting. Apartment Therapy reader Lauren Williams is a textile designer and artist, and she recently had the honor of seeing her artwork featured on HGTV's most popular show, Fixer Upper.
Here's how it all happened: Back in August 2017, Lauren was doing a little networking. She contacted a set designer who was a friend of a friend, saying she'd love to meet and find a way to work together. "I'm always looking to meet designers, photographers, stylists, and editors as a way to expand my network of creatives. I sent an email to make the connection and to introduce myself and my art," says Lauren.
It paid off when, a couple weeks later, Lauren received a reply, asking if she had any pieces available for a project the designer was working on, which was described as a "fixer upper house." Turns out Lauren's new contact had just accepted a job as the lead staging coordinator for THE Fixer Upper, of HGTV fame, and her job was to help style the newly renovated houses before their big television reveals. Says Lauren:
"She explained that she and Jo were on my site that morning looking through my previous works. Jo chose a piece that she thought would work perfectly, and the designer said she would text me a photo of the chosen tapestry."
"Knowing that Joanna Gaines was on my website looking through my art was a really rad feeling."
There was just one problem — the tapestry that Joanna chose was no longer available.
"I sent a quick reply explaining that I just launched my largest collection of work on Saturday and all 21 pieces had sold within minutes! I explained that each piece is tedious to create, so I only offer a collection once a month and the next collection wouldn't be available for another four weeks."
But the designer didn't have four weeks — the install was already happening so the timeline was ASAP. But Lauren was hesitant to pass up the opportunity.
"I was excited about the potential of being included in one of Joanna Gaines' designs so I asked if we could chat quickly to figure out a way to make it work."
The piece Joanna liked was titled "Miss Popular," and it includes shades of vintage pink and light brown with two horizontal gold stripes through the center.
"To be honest, I was a bit surprised that this was the piece they picked. I'm not necessarily a "pink person" myself, but after a few minutes on the phone, I knew I wanted to create the tapestry that they both thought would be perfect in this "Fixer Upper." She also informed me that this would be for the house they were doing for Joanna's sister, so I was even more excited to create a piece of art that was would be a gift for someone so special to Joanna.
Fortunately, my Studio Manager, Haley, is a rock star and took over the packaging and shipping of all the tapestries from our collection release so I could be completely focused on creating the Fixer Upper piece. The tapestry was scheduled to be installed in only a few days, so I had to start working on it immediately. There wasn't even enough time to ship the piece to Waco and because we only live a couple hours away, my husband and I were able to drive it there to make it in time for the install.
We arrived at the Fixer Upper house location, and its huge front yard with a giant tree hosted a landscape crew and various contractors. The home seemed nearly finished, with some exterior details being completed, but I was already in love with the project. Everything was buzzing with progress as we walked inside and were greeted by a prop stylist who was steaming curtains. A contractor working on the front entry stones cautioned us as we carefully navigated our way inside. We met my new friend, the staging coordinator, and toured the house as she shared stories of the project and her new job. I loved the tile in the master bathroom and the incredible design of the kitchen. The room off the living room was a garage conversion that was now the perfect place for the kids to do homework and play. Every detail was so good and I couldn't stop my eyes from darting around and making notes for my own house!
The staging coordinator explained that the tapestry would hang in the front entryway and we headed to take a look at the wall. The tapestry fit perfectly with the design and was a great addition to the space. Joanna knew exactly what needed to be there and my doubts on using pink dissolved. I hung the tapestry, made sure it was level, and snapped a few iPhone photos before heading back to Dallas. The staging coordinator was beyond friendly and paid me for my art right away. I appreciated the experience so much.
After that, I didn't really know what to expect. I knew it was a possibility that it wouldn't make the episode. There's not time to show every detail of Joanna's designs, and there is always a chance that she could change her mind about the piece.
I was asked not to share any details on social media regarding the project before the episode aired, so when I received an email from the staging coordinator five months later I was excited all over again. On New Year's day she emailed me that the episode would air on Tuesday, January 2nd at 8pm on HGTV.
My husband and I love the show, so we poured a glass of wine and enjoyed watching the 6th episode of the last season. At the end of the show, during the reveal, Chip and Joanna stood in the entryway with her sister and brother-in-law right next to my tapestry and the art got some quality air time! We were giddy!
At the end of the show, during the reveal, Chip and Joanna stood in the entryway with her sister and brother-in-law right next to my tapestry and the art got some quality air time.
I love being part of the design process with designers who truly have an artistic eye. The fact that I got to be part of Joanna's vision for her own sister's home was truly special. There's nothing in the world like using art to do something special for someone. I was honored to be a part of it.
My art wasn't mentioned by name on the show, but after the episode aired I had tons of messages and comments from my followers who saw the show and recognized my art right away! There was lots of excitement surrounding that episode for my business, and I feel that the attention was a really great boost for my art and home products.
The feature on Fixer Upper has really furthered my initiative to create more relationships directly with interior designers, art directors and staging firms. In fact we have launched a designer program where we offer a trade discount for interior design firms and professionals. I absolutely love seeing how other creatives use my art in different designs. It's a very exciting time and I can't wait to see what comes next!"