I’ve been so inspired the stories of women lately exhibiting remarkable backbone, even in light of very challenging circumstances. I think we all have a little more backbone in us when it’s required. As I created the stories of these women and the various backbones they’ve had to summon to carry on: ancient, adventurous, creative and protective.
What type of backbone is required of you right now?
In my dream, I wake up in a city of unknown origin, I think New York. However, it could’ve been any big American city. It was busy, loud and there were tons of people on the street. At first I was disoriented, then I keep saying to myself, Life is Kind. A mantra of sorts, to keep me from being afraid of anyone or anything.
I start walking, it’s midmorning and the first person I encounter is a homeless man. He seems quite drunk, but his eyes are kind and clear and a bright very unique shade between between blue and green. He looks at me, smiles and says, “For a beer, I’ll tell you a story”.
Well, there are few things I enjoy more than a cold beer and a good story.
In my dream, I even thought, “Well, it’s midday, there are lots of people around, it will be OK…Life is Kind”. He stood up, took my hand and led me around the corner and down just a few stairs. The outside looked pretty dirty, scary actually and I hesitated, pulling back from his hold. He calmly said, “It will be OK”.
He opened the door and it was surprisingly a cool, sun-filled space that looked more like a diner than a dingy bar. People were talking and laughing, kids playing and there was a lively piano player. The bartender welcomed us warmly. We sat at the end of the bar where it was a little quieter. The old man ordered us two beers, looked me in the eye and smiled.
With no transition, or any recollection of the old man’s story I’m now back out on the street. I’m suddenly surrounded by young, tall, black men. They are talking and laughing, goofing off, they notice that I’m uncomfortable, but I stay right in the middle of their group. I walk a few blocks with them and then to get out of the pod, I have to excuse myself and duck around them, awkwardly bumping into and nearly tripping a few of the guys. They’re all jumping up to touch things, like light fixtures and the tops of signs.
They start giving me crap about being afraid of them because they’re black. I turned to them, said, “I’m not afraid of you because you’re black. I’m afraid of you because of your youth and there’s so many of you and you’re all so big. It’s intimidating to me today.”
“Oh, Ok, yeah, I sort of get that, my grandma said something like that too”, one of the boys offered. He thumped his chest to me and smiled. They all said goodbye in mumbles and waves and off they went jumping down the street into the afternoon light.
I turn the corner and bump, literally bump into this a woman and knock a bunch of papers and books onto the ground. She’s dressed in a well-tailored grey, plaid suit with a skirt and jacket, high end, high heels and a pink, silky blouse with a bow at the neck. Her slightly grey hair was fixed in a stiff, old lady hairstyle like my grandmother had done every Friday morning. Teased, smoothed and fastened with pins, a satin pillowcase required to keep it all tidy until her next appointment.
I apologize for knocking things out of her hands. She’s rushed and while we’re gathering everything back together, she says, “We can have lunch at two. I have a very busy day. I’ll see you at (I don’t remember the name). I can’t wait to catch up.”
Well, we all know how dreams go. So, even though I have no idea who this person is, I can’t wait to catch up either…waiting until two o’clock seemed like an eternity.
I kept walking around until the appointed time. I was very excited about my lunch and all of the catching up we’re going to do. I arrived at the place and everything is odd, the scale of everything really strange and disorienting. The stairs have a very difficult to maneuver tall rise between steps. The tables were all different heights. The lights were bright on some tables and really dark on others.
I suddenly hear someone a little out of breath in my ear. I get a quick hug from behind and a peck on the cheek. Then I see my lunch date. Who appeared was an older gentleman in a pink shirt, a bow tie, a grey striped suit and beautiful shoes. “Huh” was all I thought to myself. He launched into news and notes about his day and his life. He talked about his children, his work and relayed a story about recently missing a flight. He asked me about my projects and if I had seen someone we allegedly had in common recently.
All of this was so very ordinary. I didn’t question that who I thought I was meeting for lunch was an older woman. I just went with along with it and enjoyed his company. Apparently that missed flight story was a hoot.
He paid for lunch and said that he needed to head back to the office. He asked if I minded heights. I said that I sort of did, but that it depended on the situation. “Ok, follow me”, he said and we headed toward the back of the restaurant. He was walking quickly. I kept up. We got to an unusual door, walked out into an alley and went about seven steps to what seemed like nowhere. It was strange, but he was confident and I went along.
“Can you climb?” he asked me. I said that I could. “Jump?” I told him that I could, but that I didn’t really want to. He climbed up the wall, got to the top, swing his legs around, sat a minute and jumped down, now out of my sight. I climbed up. Swung my legs around and looked down. It was about ten feet. I then said, “I don’t want to jump this far, I’m training for the senior olympics. I don’t want to hurt my ankles or knees.”
“It will be fine, dear. I’ll catch you.” I jumped. I landed in the arms of my lunch date. An older woman in a plaid, grey suit, wearing a pink blouse and high heels. She caught me, shifted me upright, gave me a hug and said, “Let’s do this again soon”.
I love when the creative process starts to “click”…when it goes from conceptual to…HERE WE GO. My inspiration is silent film stars meet bohemian modern and this image of Gloria Swanson is my muse.
After months of hunting for fabric, trim and pieces to alter—constant sketching and research—it’s time to look closely at the details of the collection that will make it “walk” really well down the runway. Here are a few of the inspirations. I tried to alter my palette to include more grey. But, I keep coming back to these warmer tones. I guess I shouldn’t fight it.
These are a few of my photos from over the weekend. I haven’t been creating things and it makes me really kooky when I don’t. I mucked around with my images to fuel my creativity. It helped a lot. I hope you enjoy them.
They were shot on:
Martha’s Vineyard while staying at a friend’s house—Blue Barque (Thanks Jen & Dan).
Town Neck in Sandwich, Massachusetts where (Thanks Jim & Iris) cooked over a beach fire last night. Oh, the joys of summertime. Thanks for the memories, folks. My heart is full.
to understand some creative processes. This was the very first bird carving/painting I ever did. I was attempting to create an original show for my friends, Alison & Andrew at Mirabelles Cafe in Burlington, Vermont. Someone had cancelled their show that month and they needed artwork fast. Oh, how I love the challenge of a deadline. I prefer to show new work so I created this show in about 48 hours. I went out to the dumpster behind my studio in 2008 and I found some old pallets. I carved the birds on this pallet using a screwdriver because I’d never done this kind of work before and I didn’t have any tools. I created six new pieces and hung the show. It was the beginning of an entirely new process for me.
If you’re ever in Burlington, Vermont—I highly recommend Mirabelles for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea and pastry. Please tell them Lisa sent you.
I think you know by now that I’m a big fan of projects. I think it’s a perfectly good idea to sand and coat my outside tables a few hours before 35 people show up at my house for a 4th of July bash. My husband, Jeff thought it was a little kooky, but he understands and he’ll love how they turned out.
Here are some before and after photos of our outside tables. What a difference a little sanding and sealing does, huh? My favorite product and again (this not a paid endorsement). However, if VERMONT NATURAL COATINGS happens to see this post and would like to send a few gallons my way, I wouldn’t be angry. So many things need to be sanded and sealed. Now the water will just bead off of these surfaces and they aren’t splintery to the touch. I better start slicing the watermelons and icing the beer and sodas down before the crowd arrives.
I don’t know about you, but the more I try to THINK instead of FEEL my way through challenges I’m LESS SUCCESSFUL. When I look at an issues from a lot of perspectives I can generally see more solutions.
—I get STUCK when my options seem limited. I really like options.
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”
― Albert Einstein
Today I need to turn some assumptions on their head and see what I FEEL when I do that. What I THINK might actually be irrelevant.