12 January 2010


As I read a book on dress-making as an historical trade and hear my friends prepare fancy dresses for an upcoming re-enactment ball... I ponder how balls would have affected me. I see the worktables stewn with glittering satins and trailing ribbons... the piles of scraps growing into a mountain, threatening to overwhelm my worktable... I hear the excited chatter of other women and girls on who looks nicest, who made unfortunate choices, chipper chatter almost to high to distinguish as words... counterpointed by the sigh of men contemplating the arrival of my bill. I sit in my chair with my tea... and breathe... how long before the next one? days? weeks?

19 September 2009


I recently went to a fabric store with some friends. A friend studies carefully each bolt of cloth offered. What will be her choice? Fushia, I think. She holds up grey... no, too bland... green, nice, but no... Fushia! my brain screams.. Well, what would you suggest?... AH! the opening I need.. Try the fushia.. no, it is not too bright. ...what to trim it with? Black? White? ....I'm in agony...Navy Blue... she pulls out a royal... no NAVY... Finally she makes her purchase and the voices calm. This lady is not the only one.
I recently made shirts for a couple of gentlemen friends of mine. I wanted them to be a period printed cotton. I searched all over and found several fabrics for each gent.. and several pictures to base them on. I have no idea why each fabric demanded a certain collar treatment, sleeve treatment, placket/bib front treatment, and even which gent it was meant to go to. I got one done and presented the new owner with his shirt... the collar was tall... he and his wife assured me it was fine... no! the collar was tall! ...Why did I think this? All the measurements added up. It was designed specifically for the gent. ..but it wasn't right. After a re-designing, it is much better and the voices calm.
I often will search for ages for fabric for a garment or insist that I must make a garment in a certain way. I cannot explain why they must be that way or why the myriad of fabrics offered simply won't do.. The creations of the past, remembered in the present. Is the ghost of a long dead dress-maker guiding my design choices, is the whisper of a long dead tailor still dictating fashion... or is it me.. remembering life?

05 September 2009

the Wall

As I'm driving in the car a song is played. It is an old, familiar song about a man who moves west, spends a lifetime loving a woman, she dies and he must go on living alone...but not really alone. I glimpse this man often. Afraid to live alone, lonely for the one upon whom he had come to depend. A great rend in his soul, the very fabric of his being. It is different Out West, more vast, more isolated. The companionship of even one person means that one is not so alone. So to the world the man talks to the spirits, the wind, the animals, himself... but to him, he talks to her.. or the memory of her... and for a brief beautiful moment, he is not alone because She is there. He remembers her life.

02 September 2009


"Boom! Crackle, Crackle, Crackle" I am awoken from a sound sleep. "Oh, Happy New Year!" I mumble to my roommate as he paces from window to window. I remember a different year and a different man glancing anxiously out of window after window.
I see a small girl, about 10 years old, in a closet. She has moved her table in, chairs, toys. She has made a small palette on the floor to sleep in. Her mother and grandparents beg tearfully for her to come out and join them at the dinner table or to watch some TV. The usual meltdown occurs and she stays in the closet. She remembers it is safer there, away from the windows.
It comes time for Roomy to move and he leaves most of his things behind. Why? I lose everything anyway, so I don't get attached. Just give it away to someone who needs it.
It comes time for me to move and I am packing carefully. I don't want to lose a single thing. I arrive at my new place and find a broken dish. I'm devastated.
I remember a different life. A full life that was pared down. You can't have that. Give that away. Take only what you can carry. Put what you can carry in the pile.
Roomy remembers too a different life.

31 August 2009

a glimpse of the past

I remember bits of history. Glimpses of times past and lives lived and loves lost. It sounds dramatic to say so, and that is not my intention. It is my understanding that a blog is meant to give one a place to share the world as they see it with others. That is my intention. To share these glimpses of the past with those in the present, in the hopes that the past will be remembered. Did all these people I speak of live? I think the lesson they have to teach is a living thing and that is more important. Some of them can be researched by the historians. Some of them must be left to the psycologists. Others still should be left to the theologists and philosophers. But the lesson of their lives, the memory of their lives should be told.