Friday, October 10, 2008

from whence we came...

Tijuana, 1950s: Daddy, Mom, and their good friend Auntie Rosalind

My mother designed all her clothes. Both she and they were stunning.

Her brilliant seamstress lived 16 miles to the south, in Tijuana. Trips there were always an adventure -- Avenida Revolucion and all its pinata-laden decadence - including the striped donkeys, poised for more photos like the one above.

However, that Tijuana adventure turned sour when my older sister and I had to have fittings with Celestina for our Easter dresses.

Little Lanz prints were all the rage, and the dresses were expensive. But we could grace the pews of Christ Episcopal Church in Mother's Little Knock-Offs, our own precious faux Lanzes. Mom designed them; Celestina made them.

Even then, my aesthetic rejected this busy fabric with its make-your-eyes-go-bleary perfect but way-too-busy symmetry.

You can appreciate my shuddering deja-vu when I looked at the horror I created in my latest homework assignment for my Color and Design class. The story ...

Assignment: create designs from natural objects, use those elements to form a pattern, produce it in black and white and specified color combos.

I dutifully chose my natural objects, pictured in a previous post -- garden variety alstromerias:

...and here are my dutifully-drawn abstractions (the "elements" of the pattern-to-be):

So far, so good (no gagging). Here is my black and white pattern (throat starting to close now):

Oh, this feels too close! Those Lanzesque dresses, those overwraught patterns -- it's all coming back to me!

Now I had to color the pattern. Here are my results:

Jockettes, aging or not, do not cotton to this frilly tomfoolery. I will turn in this assignment, but I may not pick it up when it is handed back.

Here is a reward for having had to look at these designs: Sanjagirl at nine months!!! Doesn't she look like the RCA Victor (Victrola) dog?

Here's to the aesthetics of 'spare' design.

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