You probably have never seen such gorgeous hand-painted pumpkins as the ones which Carole Powers Gordon (CPG Events) decorates for the season. And her fabulous pumpkins are not just for Hallowe’en – but people who purchase them use them for table decorations for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. And lots of other holidays as well.
If you are in the mood for a hand-painted mask, even one with a portrait of your favorite dog or cat – CPG can accommodate you. The mask will be memorable, I can assure you.
Do you remember the Philadelphia Flower Show, hosted by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which featured a giant Eiffel Tower in the middle of the Convention Hall floor a few years ago? It was a brilliant show, and the fabulous award-winning flower designer Jamie Rothstein had an exhibit which featured hand-painted furniture, screens, dance floors, goblets, napkins – all of the items which CSG is praised for. And, of course, that exhibit won Best in Show.
Gordon, a Lower Merion native, went to Lower Merion High School and took five art courses each week with Mr. Bammerman. Then she went on to Moore College of Art to pursue her love of art. She took a leave of absence to take the Barnes course, but she did not get on with Violette deMazia who years ago was running all the classes at the Barnes.
If you ever recall having been overwhelmed when entering a wedding or an event space, and the centerpieces were incredible and memorable – like actual bird’s nests and twisted branches and the most amazing and unusual floral arrangements – that was probably the work of CPG. For years she worked with Evantine Florists in the Philadelphia region.
Weddings are special occasions, and CPG makes certain that they are. She works meticulously on handpainted aisle runners, leading to the creative huppah for the ceremony. Her favorite creation was her handpainted dance floor. She had three of them, before Hurricane Ida flooded the Evantine Flowers basement where CPG creations were being stored.
But then she and her husband Jimmy moved to New York and did design work and catering there for about a dozen years before returning to Philadelphia.
Gordon started out in fashion design. Her father manufactured coats and his company was called Coatcraft. Her grandfather invented a process by which you could pull one string at the bottom of a coat and the hem would come down and lengthen the coat. He called it Coatcraft – the coat that grows!
When I first moved back from New York I worked on a wedding at the Franklin Institute. But p they booked a convention the day of the wedding – so I could not work there the day of the wedding. She put a huge tent in the courtyard for the ceremony.
Norman Braman once owned the Eagles, and Gordon was enlisted to decorate Suzy Braman’s wedding at the Four Seasons. Once Gordon decorated and/or catered an event, she became close friends with her clients. She said that people were quite wonderful to her, and loyal as well.
“When I started out in business I could not afford fancy candelabra and made all my own centerpieces. My handpainted candles, dance floors, 29 handpainted tables – beautiful and not that costly. Evantine gave me the opportunity of selling my stuff in his retail shop – Brian Kappra was very supportive.”
Her son Adam Powers is a chef and restaurant owner in Warwick, New York. One of his restaurants, Fetch, is a dog-themed restaurant. Adam came up with the idea of using Gordon’s late husband Jimmy’s food truck for her art work. She paints scarves, pumpkins, glassware, candles – stuff to sell off the truck, which Adam named Arts & Carole. She is painting the truck every day now and plans to launch it by Thanksgiving.
She did most of Martha Stewart’s book on weddings in 1986. Martha gave her credit for her design work and she took Gordon and her husband out to dinner in Philly. In New York they had tea with her at a hotel.
During her stay in Manhattan, Gordon worked in basement of Studio 54 and did the new opening of Radio City Music Hall. She also catered and designed all the openings of shows on Broadway while she lived in New York: Evita, The Ring, Little Foxes.
She credits Anna Wintour for giving her her start in New York City. If she had a magic wand, Gordon would wish for people to be happy and to live happily ever after. Like one of her beautiful paintings.
Bonnie Squires is a communications consultant who writes weekly for Main Line Media News and can be reached at www.bonniesquires.com. She hosts the “Bonnie’s Beat” TV show at
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