There is a particular yellow, orange and red paisley fabric, that has grown up along side me, as long as I can remember. In yellowed Polaroid’s I saw the fabric sewn into a simple sheath dress that hugged my mothers petite figure like the flaming robes of some retro version of a lovely Grecian goddess.
In another Polaroid my sister wore the fabric as an toddler, it had been sewn into some very fashionable bell bottom overalls. My sister and I learned to sew first with a needle and thread and then with my mother’s old Singer, by carefully making practice stitches in the paisley. I once made a hand bag and matching headband. Later I made a dress, that I wore to my 9th birthday party. My best friend and I made head scarves too, so that we could easily identify each other through the massive crowd, when we attended our first rock concert.
Until recently, I never actually wondered where the endless yards actually came from. My mother can’t remember either, only that her mother had purchased them, probably in the sixties, perhaps to make curtains with… or perhaps just because it was on sale when the garish colors were considered to be very sheik.
When I asked my fiancé to marry me, I made him a book, I made 12 paintings and affixed a few words cut from magazines to each page. They were my vows “for kinder gentler times…for life and love…for the universe and art and for purity of truth…for family and illness and wealth…for beauty and heaven and earth…for better of for worse.. committed to you” in last page of the book, I enclosed a letter I had written to my father, with whom I have had a very unstable relationship with, offering peace and forgiveness and explaining to him my plans to ask Rene to marry me.
After all the years, the fiery paisley fabric had come to an end and as if to signify the ending of my childhood, and the beginning of a new life with the love of my life, I wrapped it loosely, many times around the fragile book, to keep the damp and abrasive ocean air from damaging the pages of my most remarkable creation and also to bind my vows, with my favorite symbol of joy and love, family and celebration.
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