Sometimes books you read in your childhood get buried deep down in your psyche. You don't realize what the effect, but the imagery and the words are a part of how you interact with the world. That is how the A Time of Wonder, by Robert McCloskey, is for me. It wasn't until grad school, when I was doing a project on influences from childhood that I rediscovered this book. My mom says we read it so many times that it was like part of our family. I realize now that the colors are my favorite colors. . The greens and blues are everywhere in my own work. The imagery of water and boats and islands are the things I often find most calming. The pace is slow and observant. It shaped how I look out on my surroundings. As I start making imagery to try to have a career in children's illustration, I know I take this book with me. I'll never be Robert McCloskey, but he'll be part of me.
Went to the Vintage Market at the Fairgrounds today with my oldest friend. You could say we have become vintage together. There was a lot to see. I definitely liked the things that were actually old the best. But lots of good colors - chartreuse, pale blue, neutrals, browns- and good imagery - geometric metalwork, wooden fretwork, birdhouses, windmills, arrows. My favorite piece was a cabinet of seeds. I remember taking a field trip to Shell Ross in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in kindergarten and seeing the cabinets of seeds. Something wonderful about trying to organize the wild. So much potential and promise in those little pods. Said oldest friend had a blog for a while called "Cabinet of Seeds." She's a clever one. We are both perusing what seeds we are going to sew as we approach 40. The not knowing, selecting, and deciding is easier when you have someone who has known you since you were a seed still standing beside you.
Wednesday is going to be my day for posting inspiration. I'm lucky that my family is one of makers and savers. They made out of necessity and saved because I suppose they thought it may be necessary to reuse. There are some beautiful things like a hand crocheted coverlet made by my great grandmother out of packing twine from our family's store. There are some somewhat garrish things like polyester pjs from the 70s with rotting elastic waistbands. Some of it's a mess, but, as my dad says, it's our mess. It's all part of us and integrated into our story.
I think having the physical objects are important. It's why I save too much of my preschooler's artwork. Touching your past is a way to connect with it, to understand it, to commune with it. It's a way to channel the grandmother I miss every day. It's a way to remember who I was when I made my first quilt. And it's a way to move forward. Inspiration connects our past and present - be it personal or in the public domain. And it pushes us into our future.
We are headed to North Carolina in a couple of days. Haven't been back - excepting the Charlotte airport - since we moved six years ago. I should say I moved; Jana was there another three months without me, trying desperately to avoid coming to Arkansas.
I moved to work as a CAD designer at a retailer here. It taught me a lot. A lot about CAD/textile design, a lot about who I did and didn't want to be. In the mean time I have had two kids, bought a house, and generally "adulted," as the young people say. There is nothing like revisiting your past to put your present into perspective. And I have always been obsessed with the idea of home. North Carolina is, in a lot of ways, still our home, at least in our heads. I think we think eventually we will go back. Not sure how Pat McCrory's genius ideas about gender will figure into that decision. The North Carolina I know is accepting and loving and embraced me when even own mother was not welcoming me with open arms because of my "lifestyle choice."
As to my present, I am working on new designs and wondering how I am going to get those new designs out there. Out where? While I mull that over, I'll attach a weaving from way back when.
This is mine and my wife's second anniversary in Arkansas. We also have an anniversary in Iowa - six years in a few weeks- and we have an anniversary in North Carolina - started dating 13 years ago. Everything, in the end, comes down to patterns. And our country is moving towards a pattern of acceptance, mirrored by our pattern of anniversaries. Or, at least, that is my hope.
My patterns, those on the page, are trending more towards the child-friendly type. In part that's because I have two tiny children. And, in part it's because of a little girl I don't really know.
A few weeks ago, I had a booth at a street festival. I made a total of 12 dollars. But something important happened. A little girl came up to the booth and looked and looked. Her father was a few feet away talking with friends. She asked me if I had done all the art, and told me that it was really good. She was so sincere. And she was so interested. I wanted to give her a piece but didn't know if her dad would let her have it.
I have fought against my "style" for so long. I've worried about a lack of sophistication. I've worried about not being marketable. I've worried about selling out. I've gotten jobs, lost jobs, left jobs, not gotten the jobs I wanted. My career has been up and down and all around. And now, thanks to the support of my wife, I'm focusing on patterns. My patterns. Trying to accept and create and send out into the world. And I am taking that little girl as a sign. A little message being sent to me from the universe. Go with it. Do what you do, and maybe someone will look and look and love it.