I had always grown up around textiles. My father was a furrier and his shop was filled with with all the minutia involved in making a fur coat: animal skins, a wooden box filled with nails used to stretch out the skins, spools of thread, felted batting, needles and pins and bolts of plain or brocade silk in various shades of brown, grey and black with cards of bias tape and ruching to match.
Many a Saturday my older sister Jo and I would spend the day at the “shop” with Daddy. Mornings were spent coloring and drinking cups of coffee which we sweetened with too many sugar cubes and evaporated milk.
At noon my Dad would lock up the shop and we would walk down the street for a chicken pie at the Chicken Pie Shop, or a hamburger eaten while sitting at the counter at the Owl Drug Store, or if Uncle Joe the mink dealer was in town, Caesar’s restaurant where we would sit in tall dark wooden booths eating big plates of spaghetti and meatballs.
After lunch my sister and I would walk to the movie theatre and for hours we would be lost in make believe worlds. So many movies, but one of the movies I remember most clearly was Cinderella, Disney’s version filled with color and songs. And how magical it was when the birds and animals sang and tweeted while making the dress for Cinderella.
This scene with it’s spools of thread and bits of colorful ribbon danced through my head as we walked back to the shop and I couldn’t wait to make something beautiful too with spools of thread and bits of ruching waiting at the shop.
I remember standing at Daddy’s work table winding brown thread around some pins stuck in the table’s wood surface and connecting bits of black ruching together and wanting so badly to make something magical and beautiful all the time yearning for a beautiful blue ribbon or bright pink thread…
Now if this was a movie, a calendar with pages flying off would flash onto the screen…fast forward 50 years…after 40+ years of working as an Illustrator, Designer & Painter I had decided to go back to school…Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) Here I would be able to combine all my skills and be able to work as a Designer in the fields of textiles and home goods.
What a heady experience! Color and beauty and practicality all combined! For the first time school made sense and I was thriving…until…screeching to a halt (movie sound effect) I began my computer classes… and my brain shut down and turned to teflon and computer speak slid right out of my grasp.
And that was it…I could not use the skills I had honed for years. My heart could not connect with my hand pushing a mouse or stylist on a Wacom pad…and my heart and mind did not respond with an almost audible “click” when on the computer screen, just the right shade of green came up against just the right shade of violet…and I yearned for that visceral connection of Hand, Heart and Mind.
I did finish my studies and graduate, but never did hone my computer skills. Why am I writing this? Because I had to stop beating myself up for not learning the computer skills needed to be hired as a textile designer. I had to accept that I did not fail. I created beautiful work while at FIDM. And not being in sync with technology does not make me incompetent it just makes me who I am. I am a person who needs to follow my heart and it’s yearnings.
And “yearning” is what has moved me forward in my creative life. Yearning for color. Yearning to be able to paint and capture light and emotion as Van Gogh did. Yearning to create a thing of beauty to enhance the lives of others. Yearning continuously to engage in the ethereal Hand, Heart, and Mind connection.
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|Biker Boys/Man's shirt/2008 Gouache on watercolor paper|
|Chrysanthemums/Wallpaper/2006 Gouache on watercolor paper|
|Ottoman Carpet/2006 Gouache on watercolor paper|
|Plate Rim/2006 Gouache on watercolor paper|