Inspiration– Molas #2

Last year, in a fit of organizing, I matted and framed a pile of my molas. They are from my mother’s collection and I’ve come to love and admire their meticulous and bold designs. A while ago, I wrote a post about other molas in my collection here. The black framed molas are now crowding the walls of our downstairs powder room. With no windows and damaging sunlight, it’s a good place to hang textiles. There isn’t a tub or shower, so humidity isn’t a problem, either.

Right now, the walls of the “Mola” room are white, but I plan on painting them a richer color to better compliment the frames. I could go wild, with borders and patterns, but right now I don’t have the time. It just feels good to have them all displayed together.

charming

I found these charm bracelets while cleaning and organizing my studio. Some are passed down from my mother and grandmother and one is from my own childhood.

My idea of dressing up, was to wear a charm bracelet. For my 5th birthday party, I also wore turtles-in-a-row barretts.

I remember picking out these charms on our family’s trip to Europe in the summer of 1965. At ten years old, I was just old enough for our travels to make a lasting impression.  We went to Greece, France and Switzerland.

 The charms help me remember what we saw in Italy…

and Austria and Germany, too. Although my siblings and I spent hours in the back seat, cutting paper dolls from Archie comics, I remember the sights and experiences of this trip clearly.  I think that I began to wake up to the world outside of my little village. I am thankful that my parents were willing to take us to Europe and caravan with another family for over a month. It made a difference in all of our lives.

Treasures – Shirley Temple doll

my mom, Mary Louise Hartwell, about 1930

I saw the new movie, The Artist (see the trailer here) the other night and walked out of the theater thinking about tap dancing, which is featured at the very end. That got me thinking about my mother’s life as a girl during the movie’s time period (late 1920′s-early 30′s). She took tap dancing lessons and I still have her Bell Tone taps, which I sewed into this little hanging I made years ago. It’s a forerunner to the wedding banners I’ve been making lately, which you can see here.

My Mom was one of the lucky girls of her generation to have a Shirley Temple doll, which I now have. The doll has been stored in her original wardrobe trunk all these years.

Shirley Temple was discovered at the age of 3 and became a hugely popular movie star when “Talkies” began to replace silent films in Hollywood in the 1930′s.

 It looks like my Mom peeled off most of the stickers, but here’s one that’s mostly left.

I found Shirley inside, along with a closet and card board drawers full of clothes.

She looks in pretty good shape. I remember seeing the doll as a child, but thankfully, she was kept away from our grubby fingers.

The pile of clothes includes some home-made ones as well as some outfits with “genuine” Shirley Temple tags.

This doll is a treasure to cherish. I’m glad to have this memory of my mother and times past.

Delectable Mountain

I’ve heard about Delectable Mountain for years and finally got to visit this past summer. We’ve gone to Brattleboro, Vermont a lot lately because of my show at the Brattleboro Museum. We’ll be heading there again this Saturday, Oct. 15th for my talk at 3:00 pm. I was glad to find out that both the museum and Delectable Mountain survived the storm (Irene) in August.

Delectable Mountain is not your ordinary fabric store. Everything is beautiful and luscious; silk, brocade, buttons, trims. There are no bolts of cotton to be found.

Old lady’s hats are displayed among the fine fabric, scarves and buttons.

Remnants of silk are bundled together and laid out in boxes.

Larger pieces are stacked in shelves.

Looking at this fabric makes me want to conjure up a special occasion to make a garment for.

While I was there, several husbands waited impatiently while their wives became more and more mesmerized. 

The button selection is to die for.

I liked the way they displayed the buttons in small glass dishes and  bowls. It all glistened and sparkled.

I bought some of these bone buttons, along with some pieces of cloth that I couldn’t live without. This shop is well worth a visit!

30th wedding anniversary

Today is our 30th anniversary! To celebrate, Rob and I are going on a little trip to Long Island, NY. Ok, I know what some of you are thinking? Isn’t Long Island full of Levittown style track houses? Well, we’re going to the northern end, which we’re reaching by ferry from New London, CT. I’ll come back with pictures to show what we find. Anyway, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show the dolls I made for our wedding.

At the wedding, the dolls were hanging in a basket with helium  balloons floating above and cheese cakes below.

The dolls and basket have been gathering a coat of dust over the years, as we have also become gray.

They were made with stuffed nylon stockings, which was all the rage back then. 

I made my own wedding dress and Rob’s shirt and vest, so the dolls had matching outfits. Happy summer solstice!

fabric memories

I’ve been cleaning up and organizing my fabric stash, which includes some old familiar prints. My mother made a jumper out of this folksy blue fabric that my sister and I both wore.

 

I remember wearing a dress out of this red pattern in about 3rd grade. It was in the days when girls had to wear dresses to school. We would put shorts on underneath, so that we could climb the jungle jim!

This black fabric was a skirt.

We used a lot of Marimekko fabric in the 60′s. The memories are strong. It’s hard to choose what to keep and what to part with.

valentine fly over

Happy Valentine’s Day!I found this cute old valentine in my mother’s things. The pilot and her feline co-pilot are flying over my work table, which is covered with a new project I’ve been working on since the new year. I know its cruel to tease like this, but I wanted to show that I’ve been working. It’s a large piece and will probably take most of the winter to complete. I’m the type who needs to finish a project before showing any one. I’ve been taking pictures along the way, though. I find that I am lost in that magical creative space for long lengths of time and forget to step out of myself in order to take pictures, but I’m trying my best. This project is an ever-changing experiment, something I want to experience, without having to explain what’s happening during the process. That can come later.  I’ll tell this much– there are rabbits involved!

doll house boxed set

A friend found this wooden box of doll house furniture and dolls in her family’s stuff and gave it to me. I don’t know where they came from or how old they are, but I’m guessing they are northern European, possibly German, from about 100 years ago. It looks like a coffin inside, with padded satin cushioning the furniture and doll bodies. The dolls are about 3 1/2 inches tall.

The woman’s hour-glass figure makes me think these were made in the age of corsets.

I like the man’s baggy pantaloons and formal shirt and jacket.

There are 3 little carved cats.

The dolls’ eyes seem too cutesy compared to everything else in the box. Maybe they are Betty Boop’s grandparents!

The miniature basket  and woven chair seats are perfectly made.