Meet the Minted Judge: Haskell Harris of Garden and Gun

As Style Director of Garden & Gun Magazine, Haskell Harris knows a thing or two about good design, which is why we asked her to be a guest judge in Minted’s first religious Christmas photo card challenge. Along with Summer Bellessa and Brooke White from The Girls with Glasses, Haskell will select one of her favorite designs in the “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” Quickfire Challenge to feature on her Instagram, @haskellharris.

In the following interview, Haskell talks about the power of storytelling and the journey of honing personal style. Read about more Minted Design Challenge guest judges here. Read Haskell’s Garden & Gun blog posts here.

Minted: As style director of Garden & Gun, you oversee fashion, entertaining, interior design, architecture, gardens, and Southern artisans—which is a lot! What is your philosophy about directing style for all these topics?

Haskell Harris: From day one at G&G, I wanted the style content to reflect the same soulfulness and great storytelling that the rest of the magazine is known for. Yes, we feature houses and gardens, beautiful clothes, artisans, and entertaining, but unlike a lot of other titles covering similar content, G&G doesn’t just run pretty photos and leave it at that. We show you the people and the craftsmanship behind the things that would otherwise just be things, and the history and pride of places that make those things compelling.

You have 13 years of experience working for top living and home magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens, Coastal Living, and Cottage Living. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about design from your experience?

I’ve learned that comparison is the thief of joy, and honing your personal style is a journey. Keep your mind tuned to what makes you happy at home—not what everyone else is jumping off the trend cliff to do and try not to put yourself on a timer to get it all done. You’ll end up with a mix that’s more original, and you’ll be more relaxed for it.

Also, there are all kinds of beautiful. Not just one. There’s room for all of it in the great big design universe. And one is not necessarily better than the other.

Style is an ever-evolving, living thing. What’s your advice for creating innovative ideas?

Start or end every day with a 20-minute creativity jolt, whether it’s a scroll through Pinterest, a quick look at an old book on interiors, or a walk through the neighborhood to check out the architecture. The mind always catches onto something, and that something might inspire a truly great idea.

Also: read, read, read. Novels, nonfiction, newspapers, magazines. They are kindling for ideas of all kinds.

When you’re not working, what do you do for fun?

If money and time were no object, I would travel constantly (dying to do Cuba sooner rather than later!), but honestly the littlest things are fun to me. Having enough time to drink a second or third cup of coffee on Saturday without any agenda or place to be. Walking through our neighborhood park to see what’s blooming. Getting out on the water in the summertime here. Cooking big, lazy, easy-to-make suppers when I have time to enjoy it and I’m not in a hurry. And definitely connecting with close friends and family. Listening to what other people are inspired by and what they are up to (preferably over a really good meal) is the definition of fun to me.

Published April 5, 2016 • Want to join the Minted Artist Community? Submit to a Challenge here.

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