Point of View

Being at home the past couple of weeks has been both a struggle and a blessing.  I opened a brick-and-mortar store here in Los Angeles on March 6th, which was the worst timing ever!  But I am immensely grateful for the support I’ve received and I know there are others struggling much more than I am.  Each day brings up new emotions, and while I’ve tried to stay positive I will admit that the anxiety is real when it rushes over me.  I know I’m not alone in this; I know that we’re in it together.  I have continued to work from home and have filled my days with exercise, cleaning and organizing, lots of cooking, journaling, and reading.  I have also never talked on the phone so much in life, which has been both uplifting and comforting.  It made me think about my junior high days of sitting in my bedroom on my Swatch phone for hours, gossiping about boys and making big plans for summer break.  It’s been a time for reflection, dreaming, and hoping.  One of my favorite phrases which I continuously borrow from Nick Cave, my favorite musician and performer, is:  “In the end, beauty wins.”  There is so much loss and tragedy and confusion right now, but I continue to make beauty a priority in my life.  While I’m at home protecting myself and others, it continues to show up on a daily basis in various forms.  I hope that reading this Point of View gives you a little inspiration and allows you to see that beauty is infinite. 

LACMA Online Collections:  One thing I’ve been doing at home is going through the saved bookmarks on my computer that I’ve accumulated over the past 15 years.  There are an overwhelming amount of online museum databases that are filled with some pretty extraordinary collections, and I have spent some time looking at LACMA’s Costume & Textile archive.  The quilts are some of the most impressive I’ve seen, but what really got me were a few of the prints like this one titled, “Les Deux Pigeons” by Maurice Dufrêne who was a French decorative artist and the head of the Maîtrise Workshop for the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris. 

Entre Nous: Bohemian Chic in the 1960s and 1970s: Some of recent book purchases have come from one of my favorite bookstores, Arcana: Books on the Arts, here in LA.  I really appreciate a small book that packs a punch, and this photo memoir by photographer Mary Russell does exactly that.  Filled with black and white photos shot by Russell, who was a former fashion editor, it’s a glimpse into the lives of some of the greatest designers, muses, and creatives of our time including Jane Birkin; Yves Saint Laurent; Fred Hughes; Hélène Rochas and more.  Apart from the uber-chic photographs, Mary Russell lets the reader in on some of her escapades and intimate moments with her subjects who were also her dear friends.  The book can be purchased here through Arcana: Books on the Arts.   

Handmade Visions on the Crafts Trail in Mexico, NYT: This article written by Michael Snyder in last Sunday’s NYT really cemented my desire to visit Michoácan.  During the past few years, I’ve become so enamored by the crafts made in the various villages of Michoácan, Mexico, learning about its history and the families who have been working with clay and yarn to create some of the most sensational works of art in Mexico.  Decorative piñas or “pineapples”, feathered shawls, and one of my personal favorites: the cream and black pottery depicting village life in Tzintzuntzan, are specific examples of what I would love to learn more about by visiting and seeing the process in person.  What’s so wonderful about this particular article is the many different villages that are mentioned and the introduction to artisans, hotels, and chefs throughout Michoácan.  While it’s a brief immersion in print, it definitely got me dreaming about my future travels.  Many of the items carried at Kneeland Co. Rarities are from Michoácan, and in fact a new shipment just arrived that I will hopefully be able to unveil soon. 

Jazz Playlist:  While I appreciate the stillness and quiet at home, I also appreciate listening to soothing music while I’m working or reading.  Jazz is pretty much the only music that is calming my nerves these days, so I put together a playlist of favorite songs from that genre.  Pulled from my husband’s extensive music catalog, this playlist is both relaxing and seemingly optimistic.  It’s an instant mood lifter for me, and I hope it is for you.  You can listen to it here on Spotify. 

Patti Smith Performs Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”: This is nothing new, but it is one of my all-time favorite performances and I have watched it over a hundred times.  I can’t think of a better time to watch it again than now, as it’s a perfect metaphor for life.  When Bob Dylan won the The Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, he declined to perform at the ceremony, and instead the great Patti Smith performed his classic song, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”  It is an unexpected and powerful performance, and I invite you to watch it here.  And, immediately after watching, you should definitely read this.