Gram


At this very moment, I should be sewing. Instead, I am looking at old photos and thinking about Caroline Long, the cute little doll baby in this picture above. She was my Grandmother, better know to all us kids in the family as simply "Gram".

When I was a little girl, my parents use to drop my little brother and I off for a weekend here and there at Gram's house. She lived in a giant house filled with bedrooms atop of a steep hill. The drive to Hammondsport, a little hamlet town on Keuka Lake, was a long winding country drive from the town we lived in. I use to get so car sick in the back of our red and silver striped Ford Bronco on those trips. My Mother would say "don't look at the trees!" but green with nausea, anything I looked at made it worse. Gram's house was mint green and she had painted giant flowers on the side of it. There was a giant wrap around porch across the house that no one ever sat on, a tree with a rope swing and various tractors in a giant barn nearby. She and my step Grandfather, Claude, had a farm there. A vineyard, a pair of giant barns, chickens that laid eggs we'd collect in the mornings, a giant pasture filled with cows that had a pond in the middle of it, my brother and I use to run through the pasture singing songs and tripping over hoof divets and falling into cow pies. There were horses, one of which was named Wendy, rabbits that I was afraid of, a pair of dogs named Tinkerbell and Flo, and a gigantic vegetable garden that grew the biggest pumpkins I had ever seen! I loved being here when I was a child.

My grandmother always had her nails lacquered an intense shade of pink and her fingers were always adorned with rings. She was the most fabulous farm lady I had ever seen. I use to sneak into her bedroom where she kept a little brass and glass topped table that held all of her pink nail polishes and lipsticks. I use to delicately paw at them and try to memorize all the shades of pink, wishing I could put them on my fingernails. I would re name the lipstick colors with my own titles like "Gem and the Holograms pink" mostly the names were after various barbie or cartoon names. Another lipstick was just "Sheera!" Princess of Power of course. Across the hall from my grandparents bedroom was a big room that my grandmother had set up as a craft and sewing room. It had two giant windows that looked out over the farm, my grandmother's sewing table was set up in front of the windows. All of the walls were covered in shelves and drawers which held various little treasures like buttons or bits of ric-rac, notions and various balls of yarn and scrap fabrics. Nothing was very organized but I never cared, I wanted to touch all of it. There was a little alcove in the corner of the room, a cozy little nook that I use to go hide in and poke through drawers entertaining myself for hours with pieces of string or little tools I did not know how to use like crochet hooks and knitting needles. The sewing room endlessly fascinated me as did my Gram, who was a painter, knitter and could sew seemingly anything. She use to hand knit little sweater for my barbie dolls, of which I never really played with, I just mix and matched their outfits and made them co-mingle with G. I. Joe dolls in little apartments I built for them out of shoe boxes.

Now that I am grown up, and still endlessly fascinated with threads, I think my Gram and this room are the reason that I fell so deeply in love with fibers. Taking something flat and making it into a 3-dimensional, functional and beautiful object has always been this thing that I yearned to understand. As a latchkey kid of the late 80's and early 90's, I spent the greater part of my youth making up craft projects for myself, drawing out plans to execute them or taking apart clothes and sewing them back together to figure out how they were made.

I think that if my Gram were still alive, she would love visiting my studio and seeing my shelves of threads and drawers of buttons, tools, bits and bobs. I just started knitting my second sweater, this time it will be one I actually finish. It culls to mind all those tiny little doll clothes she use to make for me. Tonight, at my monthly knitting club meet up with my lady friends, as my wooden knitting needles clack and twirl wool into looped chains, my fingers lacquered and adorned with rings, I will save a little space at the table for my Gram who in my mind is still young, freshly lipsticked and sitting at her sewing machine that looks out over the farm.

India

Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to India to oversee production of hand woven rugs I designed for The Land Of Nod. The 10-day work trip has gotten deep down into my core on so many levels, that I find myself lingering in a strange place between India and Chicago.

I was able to have a very inside glimpse into the way textiles are produced in India for an American market. This experience was invaluable and filled to the brim with intelligence that I would never have the opportunity to gain otherwise. So in that, I must say I am truly grateful.

I have been rifling through the 800 plus photos I took while traveling and thought I would share a sampling here. Enoy!









 Fell in love with these little ones. <3 br="">