Cultus Artem, A Love Story
How did I end up here?
A native New Yorker, I grew up on the upper East Side and at Nightingale. Having read too much Faulkner in high school I wanted to study fine art, painting specifically, in the southern US. These currents converged in New Orleans. After that, I was back in NY working in the music business, until my Father enquired about my lack of any medical insurance plan and as a result suggested I rethought my chosen career. A newly insured path led me to the investment banking business. I was happily plodding along…
And then I went on a blind date with a Texan…
Bonnie Sue, a college friend of my Mother’s, was responsible. When I’d go to Texas on business trips to meet one of my bank clients, I’d do the polite thing: I’d call my Mother’s old college friend ‘You just missed him’, ‘The most eligible bachelor in Texas’, ‘He’s Bear Hunting’. Seriously, it was a business trip and bear hunting? Really? After a while Bonnie Sue got serious. She wrote a letter to Alston's sister who lived in New York at the time. "Dear C, etc etc... Please have Alston call Holly Tupper, the nicest girl in NY, next time he is in the city.”
Who would want to call the ‘nicest’ girl?
And what New Yorker would want to hang out with a bear hunter?
There was the date, and some confusion… I asked the Texan (cute): you’re from San Antonio, you live in Houston and your name is Austin…? “No, my name is Alston…” Oops! There was a jazz club and train trip to a friend’s cottage upstate… and ultimately there was People’s Express Airlines. When the airfare between us rose to $139 one -way, he proposed.
We were married in the spring and I moved from NYC to Houston. A few short months later he was asked if he wanted to move from Houston to Singapore for work - we said yes. But not just because it was a ‘career enhancing, marvelous opportunity’ but because there was a really marvelous polo club in Singapore. He was the horse-riding, Texan polo player and I was the subway-riding, nicest girl from New York City.
Off on an adventure, together.
The artist in me had most definitely not been stifled by the eight years in the investment business. So, while in the family way, I redirected my energies from Basis Points and Bond Yields to the Basics of Bead Stringing and one thing led to another. I furthered my knowledge by studying here and there: traditional goldsmithing in Singapore, contemporary jewelry fabrication while visiting the States and later, whilst living in London, further developing my knowledge of techniques and tools at graduate level. Between the banking and the babies, we travelled around South East Asia with him playing polo and me sourcing amazing material for my creations. He was invited to move for work to London after eight years - we were thrilled.
After London then briefly to Toronto- where we loved every minute. And then back again to Singapore for another ten years. Life in Singapore and SE Asia was so much a part of what I was creating- beyond the superb inspirations and material for jewelry, I was enthralled by the richness of the natural world and the scents I experienced whilst living on the equator in humid secondary jungles. And so I took to fragrance creation. Studying in the home of contemporary fragrance, Grasse, France and in Bangkok, Thailand. I was launching all my creations in my own boutiques in Singapore, in an old heritage building and on Orchard Road, the main shopping thoroughfare.
And then it was time for him to return to Texas, take over a family ranch and be more present for his Mother, after years of being far-far away. Another adventure together. We did the familiar ‘up sticks’ and redirected our energies. He became The Rancher and started breeding and training polo ponies from his home bred polo stallion, the marvelous Chilo, who had been born on the ranch. Thus he went from banking to beautiful four legged, very fast babies… Meanwhile, I hunted around for the perfect base for my creations and their fabrication. I found an incredible heritage building in the heart of San Antonio, Texas between the ranch and the big vast sky.
So that’s the short version of how I ended up here.
It’s my Valentine.