Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
As I was searching for seasonal jewelry the other day, I came across a scent from the past. It was a small blue vial with a tassel on the top and the gold label proclaiming “Evening in Paris” cologne. I am not sure what year this was from, but I think there is also a small dark blue bottle containing the same scent elsewhere in my possessions.
I started to wonder? Was this a gift given to my Mother from my Dad? It had to be early 60’s maybe — when the “Evening in Paris” was all the rage.
Then I started to try and remember what Mom got from Dad for Christmas? Christmas was after all, all about me and my brother and sisters. So I don’t remember my parents getting anything for themselves.
Of course, we made them gifts at school which I am sure they treasured.
From here I started to consider, maybe Mom didn’t get something from Dad, maybe he took her fabric shopping.
Which brings me to people who are artists.
If you look up the word, one of the definitions is “a person skilled at a particular task or occupation.”
I have a friend who lives in Montana who is an artist. He creates on canvas with paint images so beautiful and precise you would think they were photographs.
I have a sister who can grow from seed any plant she chooses. She paints her flower garden as a canvas of plants and color.
I have a sister in law who can bake an apple pie worthy of blue ribbons. It has even been served in a pub in England.
My grandmother, while she wasn’t necessarily an artist, was a magician. Raising all her children on a farm, growing her own food, making their clothes keeping chickens and running daily farm life.
My mother was an artist. Her tools were sewing machine and cloth. We would go to Kaplan’s Woolens on the Plaza and she would buy fabric for coats or suits or jumpers or whatever was needed. Wool lasted a long time through lots of items of clothing.
I am sure she learned to sew on the farm out of need. Feed sacks which were brightly colored were made into jumpers and dresses, handed down to the next sized child, remade or buttons moved until it ended up in the rag bin.
This was recycling in the earliest form.
I had a dislike for fabric stores. We would be there for a long time, and there was nothing for an antsy little girl to do.
Mother was in heaven. She didn’t see bolts of cloth, she saw dresses and blouses. She saw jumpers and slacks.
All in the most modern of styles.
She would hand measure yardage. Tip of nose to extended fingers. She would unfold the cloth and make sure there were no obvious flaws or mistakes in the pattern.
If the pattern called for three yards she could work all the pieces into two and a half. There was very little waste in her fabric world.
Maybe her Christmas was fabric or patterns.
She had many patterns and lots of fabric in dressers and boxes after she passed.
Mother was an artist, as is my sister and my friend.
I also believe people who work on cars, or people who create food are artists.
I believe my nephew who writes for a large newspaper in Florida is an artist. He is a great story teller.
Art is, as they say, in the eyes of the beholder. Sometimes, only after looking at something for years and years do you realize that what you are seeing is the artistic work of a person.
I wish I had been able to appreciate those things as art. I wish I had told those people what a talent they had.
I still have time with a few of them, and I will.