Archive for April, 2010

Catching up

“Hi Designer, welcome back!”

“Hi Tim, it’s nice to be here.”

“Did you have a good show?”

“Yes, the Chicago International Miniature Show is fabulous! It’s amazing how all these people from all over the world come together year after year to share their passion for tiny details, and then disperse again back to their normal lives.”

“So much has happened since you’ve been gone. First of all, Seth Aaron Henderson won season 7 of Project Runway! As you know he’s from Vancouver, WA, just north of Portland, and I understand you have a friend who carries his line at a local boutique.”

“Yes, Anne Bocci has long been an appreciator of Seth Aaron’s work and has some of the actual one-of-a-kind pieces worn by his models at Bryant Park for sale in her beautiful shop!  Take a look, it’s very exciting: www.annebocciboutique.com.”

“Wow…. and what have you been up to design-wise?”

“Well, I got lots of my new paper dolls packaged and made up in their little beds with templates and creative papers, and brought them with me to Chicago where they were a big hit!”

“I bet they were!”

“This Saturday I’ll bring them to Crafty Wonderland at the Convention Center in Portland along with our pop-up toys and cards and lamps and my new ribbon necklaces.”

“I hope you’re not too busy to pretend you’re on Project Runway.”

“Not at all! Now that I’m back I’ve had a look at The New York Times Magazine covers for April 12th and the 18th and I’m starting to think about what kind of clothing I’d like to make from them.”

“Great! I understand there was a Design magazine in there too.”

“Yes, my favorite!”

“Perhaps you should have a flip-through to see if you get any cool ideas.”

“Yes, I’d love to….. Here’s some yummy furniture from Milan.”

“I like this flower power…

and these pretty blue dishes…

and I totally LOVE these paper shoes by Emilie Roca and this Klimpt-like Munnu Gem Palace cuff.”

“These delicate mushroom layers are pretty inspirational too, I have to say…

and I’m amused by this fanciful bird-footed table by Meret Oppenheim.”

“Well Designer, it looks like you have a lot to think about.”

“Model, what were you doing while your designer was away?”

“I was practicing for a water ballet.”

“What? That’s a surprise! You are a woman of many talents!”

“Thank you Tim.”

“Why don’t you two go up on the roof where we’re having a little party this evening. You can have a chat about your looks for this week, and then I’ll see you on the runway.”

“Ok! Thanks Tim.”

“Wow, Designer, look at you!”

“I know, I didn’t want all this fabulous color to go to waste. My model wanted something clean and contemporary and I agreed that would be a nice foil for the other looks, but then I had all this leftover fabric and started thinking along the lines of something Manchurian.”

“Well, you certainly are showing a nice range.”

“Model, are you pleased with your outfit?”

“Yes, I like it and I like these slip-on sneakers with their rounded toes and flanged tongues.”

“Mmmmmm. They do look kind of snazzy.”

“I like how your water dress seems to float a bit and I like the reference to a swim cap.”

“Thank you, Nina.”

“Your lace dress is beautiful, very delicate. Does that gather into sort of cuffs at the ankles?”

“Yes Michael, I wanted it to be feminine but also encourage movement.”

“That’s unexpected, I like that you’ve controlled the layering so it’s feminine yet practical.”

“Good job, interesting work this time. We’ll see you next week.”

“Thank you Everyone!”

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Sister of my heart

I have a longtime favorite author, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. She writes prose with a poetic voice, describes silken fabrics and golden threads with tactile elegance, and infuses her words with the pungent sweetspice aroma of Indian flavors. The first book I read of hers was a collection of short stories called, “The Unknown Errors of our Lives”, a poignant description of a myriad of missed connections between caring, well-meaning people. I have since read the works of other Indian authors: Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories in “Interpreter of Maladies” were especially moving, and I loved the darkly layered, rich complexities of  Bharati Mukherjee’s “Desirable Daughters”. Even Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance”, a brutal portrayal of the seedy underbelly of Indian society, had hard won moments of transcendent clarity and beauty. One of Chitra Divakaruni’s longer explorations is a book following the lives of two young girls raised side-by-side as siblings, “Sister of My Heart” and its sequel, “The Vine of Desire”, which follows their relationship into adulthood. Today I want to write about my friend Danielle, a sister of my heart.

The New York Times Magazine for April 4th features an article on Norris Church Mailer, the former model and last wife of Norman Mailer. In it she talks about her new book describing her long relationship with Norman, about living with his children from his earlier marriages, and about living with her own art and with art by other family members in her home. There’s only one picture of Norris in the article and you can only see one of her paintings, but I thought I’d share a couple of the other works Norris has which were painted by my friend Danielle.

Both of these pieces are from Danielle’s “Good Daughter” series in which she cradles a book of her father’s and clearly reveals a tenderness in their relationship.

I used to love sitting with Danielle in her studio, knitting and painting, and I used to love our long walks in the forest sharing secrets. Now we live with our families on opposite sides of the country but still have our studio talks by phone and still keep each other close at heart.

Born a day apart, we both started out as child artists, she painting elaborate patterns on kid gloves which she sold at Henri Bendel’s in New York and me making intricately patterned textile designs which I also sold in New York, to the trade. We didn’t know each other then nor when we overlapped junior year at Smith (living in neighboring houses), but met years later as adults in our tiny town in Connecticut. In time we returned to New York for a show of our figurative works in a gallery on Lexington Avenue.

While gazing at the cover of The New York Times Magazine this week, I imagine I can find all the colors of Danielle’s rainbow.

I will be away next week for the Chicago International miniature show where I’ll be offering my paper dolls, miniature buttons & wooden shops, www.bishopshow.com, and so will write a double post the following week using today’s fabulous New York Times Magazine covers plus other surprise covers yet to come. In the meantime, please visit Danielle’s site, and enjoy! www.daniellemailer.com


And PS, about the gay bunnies and the 450+ other species of animals that have been known to exhibit homosexual behavior (according to today’s cover story)… well… I hope these findings will give the antigay movement a thing or two to contemplate.


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All aflutter

This week one of our designers went out on a date with our friend and fellow blogger, Marty Wombacher. Marty’s embarked on a tour of 365 New York bars, visiting one a night, sampling a few beers, and writing up an enjoyable review. It seemed Marty could use some company on one of his excursions, so our designer, deserving a break from all the hard work of being on Project Runway, met Marty at his place with butterflies in her stomach, before heading off to one of the hottest date bars in New York, “The White Rabbit”. As you can see, he was a gentleman and most attentive host….

Marty has a book out called, “99 Beers”. It’s about an earlier bar crawl where he visited 99 bars on his 2 week vacation from his night job and lived to tell the (often hilarious) tale. To ask Marty about his books and follow his exploits, you can visit his blog: http://www.aguywalksinto365bars.com/ Thanks, Marty, for a lovely evening!

Here’s the cover of The New York Times Magazine for Mar 28th. Someone seems to be missing. Who’s not there?… Ah, it’s Tiger…. Perhaps he’s also out on a date with a doll…. He’s thinking of coming back for the Waste Management Tour, and while golfers miss him, I’m not sure everyone in America is ready for him to come out of the Woods just yet. We may all be holding our breath….

Here we have a New York Times Travel Style Magazine too, something definitely worth a flip through.

Ohhhh, Alice’s caterpillar!

Some gorgeous foliage….

Mmmmmm, paper doll collage! Now we’re talkin’!

And look at this lovely fluttery dress made of vintage silk Balmain scarves by the Paris-based label E2. It’s charming, unique, reused…

and best of all?… It fits!!!

I think it’s time for all the caterpillars to become butterflies….

“Designer, that lava butterfly dress is HOT.”

“I think the proper term is, ‘Smokin”!”

“Yes, and it has a nice flow to it….”

“It looks expensive too, with the diamond broach and shoes and the contrasting combination of fabrics. It doesn’t look like you only spent $6 at Food.”

“I agree and I’m also liking the Tiger butterfly outfit with the Nike hat.

“Well, thank you everyone!”

“Good work, Designer, you’re IN. You can leave the runway.”

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