As I’ve mentioned before I generally love the start of a new year (as my twin so beautifully put it last week “the perfect time to dust off the cobwebs, shake out the sheets and get our selves organized for the next ride around the sun” ), when one can start fresh with new projects and new ideas.
The last few weeks though, as I dug through my cache of 20+ years worth of sketches and scribbles in preparation for my Drawing a Day project, my mind has turned to the past. Since I tend to focus on what’s in front of me – always planning for the next collection, the next stage of the business, it is sometimes easy to let valuable history slip away. I’m thinking about how remaining firmly rooted in one’s beginnings and improving upon one’s earlier work can only lead to a richer and more authentic story.
This touches on something else I have been mulling over of late – staying connected with the tangible. A big chunk of my time every day is spent in front of a computer screen; many of my daily interactions with friends, family and colleagues happen through email or social media platforms. With friends and family all over the world, and an online business it’s hard to avoid, and there’s no denying the internet is a powerful and wonderful tool, but it still bothers me sometimes. Occasionally one needs to just be in one’s own skin, and let time slow down a little.
1. Felt: Art, Craft and Design, Katherina Thomas (ed.)
I bought this when I first starting learning how to wet-felt. A petite book, it comes in it’s own grey wool cozy and focuses contemporary work in the medium from garments to industrial applications.
2. And All Was Revealed: Ladies Underwear 1907-1980, Doreen Caldwell
Another gift from my father that has traveled all over the world with me. The history of women’s undergarments through out the 20th century is documented with a description, excerpts from advertising and illustrations – these show each layer of clothing being removed until, as the titles states, all is revealed!
3. I Opened the Gate, Laughing: An Inner Journey, Mayumi Oda
I first encountered the work of Mayumi Oda , somewhat incongruously in a messy student flat in Berkeley. The friends who lived there had a large painting of hers on the wall and I fell in love instantly. So when I saw this book on my mom’s shelf, I brought it home with me. Her images have so much joy and light in them, and make me want to go out and put my hands in the dirt. Plus the title is amazing.
4. The Best of Little Nemo in Slumberland, Created by Windsor McCay 1905-1927, Edited and with an introduction by Richard Marschall
Other than Maurice Sendak I think Windsor McCay captures that magic, surreal beauty and terror of childhood dreams. His art nouveau style illustrations are enchanting, especially the gorgeous color palettes. A gift from K.
5. Costume Patterns and Designs, Max Tilke
And of course no list from me would be complete without a book about clothes. This one is special to me because it includes the traditional clothing of many cultures, along with diagrams of how they were made. So great. It’s interesting to me how simply constructed many of them are.
It’s a beautiful sunny and balmy 72 here in Raleigh today. The dogs are outside sunning themselves on the back deck, K is next door cooking ribs with our neighbors for our dinner tonight. I’m going to get in on the fun.