I had a stall at the Happy Yess Market last Sunday, where I fell in love with Mushroom Kitty, a plump, placid, and gentle-looking softie made by the always-amazing painter Marita Albers. Kitty’s face—with Marita’s signature dark, sleepy eyes and brilliant colors—is handpainted canvas, appliquéd onto an oh-so-squeezable fabric body.
I’ve wanted a creation of Marita’s for ages…she makes so many beautiful things, and is one of Darwin’s favorite artists; when I saw the kitty, I knew I had to have her. Amazingly, Marita wanted one of the journals I was selling, so we did a trade. Wohoo! One of those wonderful exchanges where both sides are thrilled with their lot, and each maker feels that she has gotten the better end of the deal. Win-win!
So now SonOfAGun is a two-cat houeshold…though Dude isn’t thrilled about that, and seems determined to snub the new sibling. Which is a good thing: he won’t cover her in cat hair.
Yesterday was something of a shitty day for me. It was unbearably hot in the kitchen where I work, and everyone was grumpy or depressed. There was news on the radio of a grisly collision between a fire truck and a car…the truck driver in critical condition, the couple in the car were dead…and later we learned that we sort of knew them, they used to work in the same arcade at the mall, and buy fresh juices from us once in a while. It cast a sadness over everyone.
Manic Monday: customers were sullen and rude…car drivers were arrogant…even the check-out guy at Woolworth’s was being a sour-faced, sarcastic arsehole. Shortly after I’d knocked off from work my brother rang—family news, never wonderful these days, about our parents’ failing health and rising expenses—and while it wasn’t very bad, it made me feel pressured and impotent. I think I hated the world yesterday.
As I talked on the phone, I wandered aimlessly around the Smith Street Mall; when I hung up I was inside The Bookstore, staring blindly at a shelf full of craft books. Yoshiko Tsukiori’s Stylish dress book: wear with freedom was there, looking muted, elegant, and ethereal among all the candy-loud sewing books. I had seen reviews of the book online, and meant to buy it one of these days. So I took it home with me.
I’m not such a cotton-head that I will now say “buying that book cheered me up right away, and I floated out of the mall and down the hill, dreaming of cute dresses” because it didn’t. I bought it because it gave me something to do with my hands, somewhere to put my feelings. I was going to get a copy anyway, so it made sense to do it then. I bought it, and forgot about it. I went tired home.
In the light of a beautiful morning, surrounded by water and the sound of wind through mangrove boughs, I remembered the book, and can better appreciate it, now that my heart and I have had some rest. I like most of the dresses, though they wouldn’t look as lovely on me as they do on these doll-faced, delicate Japanese models, of course.
They’re simple, almost plain, dresses—almost as though they were made of flat pieces of paper—but look so comfortable and cool, seem easy to make (well, we shall see!), and I love to wear things like this at home, while I paint, read, clean, or stitch, though I can’t see myself going out in one of these, worn as a dress. I might wear some of them over jeans. I do not rock the frock. Never did. Even as a 6-year-old, I was a jeans (bell-bottoms, actually) person. Still am, in my heart of hearts. The tomboy who never grew up.
The clothes themselves are so basic that they could easily transcend fashion and fads, though the photographs have ‘hipster,’ written in crocheted-doily-ink, all over them—especially the recipe for cookies in the middle of the book. Luckily, I don’t like cookies, and I’m too fat to be a hipster *laugh* so I am safe from the slippery slopes of that sticky-sweet pit…