They’re a little rigid in their symmetry, but I like order and I like logic,” says Marian McEvoy of her pressed-leaf and flower arrangements and her sculptural acorn, cork and pinecone creations.
That philosophy fits McEvoy’s overall aesthetic point of view to a tee. The former editor in chief of Elle Decor and House Beautiful works in a lavishly organized craft room in her upstate New York abode, constructing — among a multitude of pieces — collages made from “whatever leaves happen to please me at the moment.”
Luxe visited the formidable crafter in Hudson Valley and got the scoop on everything from her love of literary fiction to her rules for entertaining.
If you could get feedback on your work from anyone, who would it be and why?
Two people. First, Madison Cox, the garden designer. He has the best taste in the world. And two, Miguel Flores-Vianna, photographer, for his flawless talent for color and composition–a romantic.
Share a favorite family tradition.
Setting a table for a meal is staging a production, and I like being a director. All of the five senses are involved and they should be delighted and pampered.
What was your last ridiculous Google search for?
I was trying to find a home remedy for Hagerty’s silver cream — which I had run out of — to spruce up silverware. None of the them worked.
Describe your entertaining style.
I like drinks and parties, but I hate buffets and stand-up lunches and dinners. Everyone should have a seat, with a place card and an array of china, pottery, silver, crystal and cloth napkins. Guests should ideally be seated next to someone new, or challenging, or comforting.
Where would you most like to be in the world?
I’m a nester. I’d rather be here than anywhere in the whole world. I’m sure a lot of people feel like that. But, oh, you won’t find me in that craft room at midnight. I’m apt to be cooking a dinner or having a dessert.
Tell us about your first job.
Assistant flunky at the now long-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner. I learned how to work like a demon and start at/from the bottom.
Tell us about a piece that turned out differently than how you expected.
I’ve tried feathers, and I might try them again. They’re really hard to work with. And things always work out somewhat differently than I expect; you see, the leaves will fade to different colors of olive, brown, cocoa, chocolate.
My ultimate dream home would not be complete without…
Color. Order. Music.
Tell us about your all-time favorite book.
Impossible. I am a reader, mostly current literary fiction. I do not like biographies. I am a pretty fervent reader and my current literary crush is My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, the first book in a series of three.
The best piece of advice I ever received was…
Tough love from a much loved and respected boss, John Fairchild, who taught me that there are no excuses–get it done. I am forever grateful.
Tell us about your most treasured creation.
Most of them. But I do love my two florid Spanish carpets–one in the sitting room on middle level floor, the other in the downstairs “winter room.” Both were made in the 1930s. They are warm and fanciful and extroverted.