I feel so loved! Emails have started coming in wondering where I am and if everything is OK. I’m happy to report that yes, everything is OK. You see, this was my 16 year old daughter’s spring break. By Wednesday, the calendar was full. Even though it was spring break, my daughter had a track meet back at the High School. She throws discus and shot put. I have to admit, I’ve never watched the throwers. My son did a stint as a pole vaulter, but soon tired of not getting over the pole. He’d rather be skiing. But my daughter is showing some potential, and seems to be enjoying herself. It is a personal sport, though you are competing against others on your team, and another school, it is still a solo sport, and you are always trying to do better than your last throw.
After the meet, her friend from Girl Scout Summer Camp, who lives in a different county, came to spend the rest of the week. So it has been a busy few days, where I try to get in bits of work time, but haven’t had a whole lot of luck. Her friend is a delight, it has been fun having a couple of teen girls hanging around, and Wednesday night, we went to see the opening night performance, of Cinderella at the Community College. You might remember that my son has an ensemble role in this performance, and the role of the coachman, hence the mad couple of days where I was trying to make pantaloons. The show was cute, and we all enjoyed ourselves, and my son looked great in his pantaloons, but I have to honestly admit, that of all the theatre I’ve watched, and we’ve seen a lot, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella is my least favorite property. Maybe it was seeing Leslie Ann Warren too many times as Cinderella, the songs just grate on me, and the message here is revolting. And as I listened to the songs again, I still shudder at the messages they send. And I looked at the audience of young Cinderella wannabee’s, dressed in their Disney Cinderella dresses, wishing their fairy godmother would make them beautiful and fitting for a prince, and I shuddered some more. But I’m reading way too much into this, my son danced his heart out doing the waltz, and made a great coachman even if in a former life he was a rat from the basement and would turn into one again at the stroke of midnight! 🙂
Today, I took the girls into the city. There are a couple of shows that were closing soon, and I wanted to catch them. We started at FIT, and saw the Seduction Exhibit, seductive clothing to enhance physical attractiveness, or convey a sense of power and social status. I’ve seen better examples in other garment exhibits, but the FIT collection is world renowned, and it really doesn’t matter what the theme is, their exhibits always enlighten and are a feast for the eyes.
We left FIT, heading uptown all the way to 91st street in Manhattan and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. There an exhibit titled Fashioning Felt, opened in March. This is a must see exhibit, and it will be there until September 7. If you are anywhere near New York City between now and Labor Day, do not miss this show. The range of felt, from Jorrie Johnson’s felted vessels over lacquered wood, and the architectural industrial felt furnishings and wall coverings, the stunning nuno felt garments, to the modern interpretation of a Mongolian Yurt, with spectacular panels of dripping nuno felt, cascading from a dome of felt, down the windows, with light coming from the outside, through the ethereal felt, we all took a moment to sit and reflect and reenergize, and realize what a privilege it is to be able to come into Manhattan on a lovely spring day and experience the best.
After a quick bite, we raced to catch a bus back downtown, to Columbus Circle, and with 45 minutes to spare, we flew through the new digs of the Museum of Art and Design, which moved from across the street from MoMA, a year or so ago, to the new Columbus Circle location, to catch an exceptional exhibit called Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary. The show is closing Sunday, so I’m really glad we got to see it. We could have spent the day in this exhibit. Most of the pieces here required a second look because it wasn’t until you really looked, that you realized the pieces were created from the teeth of combs, or hypodermic needles, sunglasses, or the triggers of guns. Puzzle pieces, rubber tires, spools of thread, telephone books, plastic spoons and forks, the list of recycled trash was inspiring and eye-opening.
Portrait of a Textile Worker
Photo Credit: Peter DiAntoni
I think this was our favorite piece, because of the subject matter, and the exquisite portraiture, but looking more closely revealed that this work of art, and it was quite large, over 100 inches, was made from 30,000 garment labels, all arranged and stitched in a tonal order to create the lights and darks of the work. The girls were blown away, and so was I.
My daughter’s friend is a pretty good cook, so I enjoyed eating teen friendly food all week, her omelets were excellent, and last night’s Chili Mac was pretty tasty. We have lots of leftovers so I know what I’ll be munching on all weekend. Last night’s dessert was quite unusual, fried Oreos. She dipped Double Creme Oreos into cake batter, and deep fried them. I only had one, which was actually really delicious, I was afraid my gall bladder would have a hissy fit. Tonight she made another unusual dessert, banana boats, wrapped in foil and grilled. When warmed through, I opened the foil, peeled back the banana peel that had been started, and found oozing dripping marshmallow and dark chocolate mixed with the warm banana, well, with my glass of pinot noir, I’d say all is well with the world. I stayed behind to clean up my kitchen while my daughter and her friend built a lovely bonfire in the back firepit. It is a warm spring night, and though the fire was inviting, I left them to their teen musings, and came in to blog.
All was not lost, I did manage to get a couple things going in the studio. I sewed the outer shell of the princess seam dress, in the brocade, which was acting like a muslin. I took the pattern in a bit too much, but I was able to let the dress out enough that it fits beautifully, now I’ll alter the pattern again, and I feel pretty confident I have it right for cutting out the Splash fabric. I am really looking forward to making this dress for the summer.
And finally, I started to weave another one of my Theo Moorman images, this time from a photo we took of my children on top of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, in August of 2001. I don’t know why that day I told my husband we should take the kids in to see the sites in NYC. We hadn’t done that with the kids, and I’d never been on top of the Trade Center Towers. It was an unbelievable feeling to be on the top of the world, looking out at Manhattan on that beautiful August day, and I will say that every strip I weave in is a painful memory that within two weeks, those towers would be rubble. I was just preparing to teach a class at Montclair State University in the fiber department when the towers were hit, and I was encouraged by Madelyn van der Hoogt, editor of Handwoven Magazine, to write my thoughts that day in a letter to the editor. That letter and some other essays I’ve done are on the Extras page of my website.
So I am slowly constructing this piece, rebuilding what once stood, like the innocence of my children on the roof that day, strip by strip, on my table loom. I need to take the loom into a classroom full of 2nd graders on Tuesday, and it is odd to think they weren’t born when this event happened. I want to show them how I can weave pictures, and I’ll take with me the Big Sister piece I did last winter. I’ll take one of my bags of fleece, and my carders and my repaired Ashford wheel, and some silk cocoons, and a cotton boll, and some examples of my work and my articles, and I’ll teach some 2nd graders about art, and fiber, and where their clothes come from, and who knows, maybe some day one or two of them will be drawn to a loom and vaguely remember when that weaver came to visit them in 2nd grade.