Monday, February 1, 2016

February First Post, in Which we go to the Basement and Dress for the Ball

I'm officially going underground! This will be my last post. I am ceasing the Facebook silliness, no longer will I blip onto Instagram. Who cares how many likes, how many views, how many followers? My vague neglect of Flickr, pinterest, etsy will fall under the umbrella of online abstinence. My digital footprint won't gain shoe sizes. I will forsake the new, the current, and live off the grid!

...Or at least descend into the basement. Which, uh, still has wifi access, so I can lose myself in most recent newfound escapism (Dexter, season three*). I've never been an all-or-nothing gal. More of a "more -- and then probably a little more." Sanity bonus: intermittent crying arrives, as if through layers of cotton, as if it holds less relevance than it does on the main floor...** 

More importantly, I shifted my picture book project wall downstairs. For the past couple
earlier versions of "Cake Stealer"
Quimbies: all scared, all "off"
years, it resided on the dining room wall in a hodge podge fashion -- sketches that were proving most troublesome, sketches I wanted to think about, newly pulled prints to remind myself of progress. But just a handful, masking taped underneath, or between, properly framed artwork hanging on the walls. Occasionally one would peel off to float behind the radio shelves; last week La Bebe lunged for a low-lying sketch with her grabby hand -- to rip, perchance to suck. The wall used to have spurring power; but in the past six months, it has offered remonstrance more than anything else: this is what you won't finish/solve/get to.
Idea for first page (2011)

Will a more complete wall actually turn my project around? Not just on its own, surely. But! Now, when you walk downstairs to the basement, you see the spare bed before you. A lamp to its left gives off a friendly glow from atop its repurposed, mirrored, sewing trestle table, itself relegated from the the living room (safety concerns). On the wall, every page of the Cakeasaurus picture book is laid out, in order, in three rows of double page spreads. The number of finished prints is heartening. Looking at it I feel a sense of accomplishment not felt for a long time, despite a few out-of-favor designs, page order snafus and uninspired pages begging for replacement. I can see it better now. The issues remain, but it has gained a new order, and with it, a renewed confidence that it will ultimately come together. Plus, it feels den-like, in the basement, in Winter. A coziness, and a remove.

***...And Now a Message from the Ladies' International Glove Council ***

An in-house workspace and get-away is nothing without distractions, though, right? Or, rather, if you are looking for distractions, you will find them anywhere, no matter how streamlined your space. Opposite the Project Wall lay stuff. Lots and lots of stuff, most of which, gladly doesn't lure me in (other than with the urge to pare down). But those two bags down there in shadow, what's inside? Better have a look.

Inside each are bags within bags, so old the plastic is brittle; clear pieces flake off and catch the light. My Grandmother's gloves. I know I didn't claim all of them, but over 30 pairs are here, carefully partnered, nestled, the paler shades nevertheless yellowed with age. The variety is impressive: wrist length to opera length, sweet embroidered details, silk to cotton to leather, pearlescent buttons at the inner wrist, neutrals to deep plum and Easter parade pastels. And why should it be otherwise, for a shrewd businesswoman and gifted seamstress, who drew up her own patterns tailored to her measurements, turning out dresses and jackets with matching linings, from the most cutting edge synthetics of the day?

But the gloves, even more than the dresses -- most of which are long gone -- illustrate how different was the time within which she lived. Such dainty, feminine restraint! Notions of purity met by snobby classicism. There must be fashion parallels to today, though they escape me now. They hold a weird power, even as they are now.*** They beg to be tried on, after all this time without use.
opera glove, called "mousquetaire" due to button opening
peekaboo wrist detail. I forgot about these plum ones
barely visible, but ruched along the sides
a small selection

the palest moss green
these were crazy, almost bridal

this leather was so soft, so thin, each finger slightly thicker than an envelope

these felt especially intimate somehow

My favorite glove bag: crown and crossed gloves~!
followed by this one -- look closely: a glove draped over the earth

Not glove-related, but an added bonus.

Van Raalte apprently also made hosiery and lingerie as well, natural pairings. See below for billboard (Atlantic City) and great vintage ads:

Detailed like precious jewelry!

And this one, not Van Raalte, but found among the Google flowers:

Gallingly wonderful! 

*But I don't think I watched all of season two? It reminds me that I still have a taste for (conveniently justified) glossy violence, even with the more recent, more finely honed maternal sensitivities. I suppose if he was a serial killer of children I would be unable to deal. Another reminder: opening credits can be so phenomenal! One of the best! Up there with Six Feet Under. And what else? Movies more than tv, certainly.   
**Disclaimer: noooooo, I don't leave my child crying for hours on end, stop it. I speak of nap protesting and the odd hour or two when she is not under my care.  
***Ohoooo! Here we go! the start of a less-than-successful possession story! "The gloves did indeed hold power...power beyond what she ever imagined. But as Clarissa changed and a new world unfolded, the question remained: would she be able to control this power, or would it control her?"


  1. Hilarious, and, as always, well expressed and entertaining. ...especially the 3rd footnote!

    1. Thanks on all counts! no possession yet.

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