Spring, Almost

February 29, 2012

The last couple of weeks we have seen clear blue skies. I spent time in the basement pulling transitional pieces from my clothing storage. I am thinking about where in the yard I will plant peas.

Marit, my model for Spring 2012, just stopped in for a cup of strong coffee. Afterward she tried on the Spring style mock-ups for the last time. The final fitting. Yay!

Spring 2012, coming out in April! Summer 2012 coming out in June!

On A Tuesday

February 29, 2012

Lunch in the office cafeteria.

At Night Response

February 28, 2012

Your routines. Are as simple as mine. There are the necessities: dinner, teeth brushing, bed. And there are the electives: knitting, singing, making music, watching and reading.
Of course, for most of you, there is also a live component. And pet, child, friend or lover asks for your time or at least your presence, for the nightly steps. Dependents. For better or worse they anchor us and give a reason to come home at all.

Daytime is for happiness, nighttime is for loving.

I remember reserving nights for Josh. Which meant we shared a meal and walked through the house talking about what projects to conquer next. Usually the radio would be on but on special nights he would play guitar and I would dance. On the days that I made nighttime plans with friends, I felt sad to know I would not be spending the evening with him. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I would find his warm back under the covers.

Without a human partner, I turn to Bello. I feed him at the same time I feed myself. Afterward we climb the stairs and I head into the studio. I listen to the news and sew for four or five hours. At eleven or so I emerge, squinty eyed and tired. I announce its bedtime and attempt to situate Bello under the covers, on his side of the bed. I brush teeth while reading. I then fill the sink with hot water and sit on the ledge with a folded towel for a pillow, and write in my journal while soaking my feet. With steamy legs I climb into bed and find Bello’s warm back waiting.

I could go out, every night and meet new friends, see shows, find stimulus, but I chose to sit on the sink’s ledge. Just as you make similar choices. Your routines and choices soothe and quiet the part of me that is confused about what makes a life good. Your lives sound so wonderful, and they sound just like mine.

Snow Day Hike

February 26, 2012

Penelope and Sarah walked arm in arm, giggling, the whole way. Jamie and I were out in front because my hiking sticks make me faster than everyone else.
And then it snowed. A lot. And stuck to my woolens like hair on a big man’s chest.
Two hours later we were back at the car, they squealed and stomped their boots while I searched for the keys with frozen fingers. All we could talk about was food.

At Night

February 25, 2012

I have become mildly obsessed with this question: “What do people do at night?

This is not rhetorical. I’m hoping to hear some answers…what do you do at night? On a normal night. What is your routine? How do you spend the hours between nightfall and bedtime? It would really help to know.

Holding Mine

February 22, 2012

Silence. Except for the sound of the chickens. They are standing on the steps just outside the door. We are all enjoying a break in the clouds, a break in the day. If they could they would each be holding a small mug of coffee. I feel fortunate to be holding mine.


February 21, 2012

Am I just out of practice? At doing anything out of the ordinary? Because after my interview at noon I was pretty much spent. I got in the car where Bello was waiting and let out a big open sigh. Like, wow, big happenings Bell. And I really did not expect myself to do a whole lot more today. In fact, “on a day like this” I excused myself from normal behavior and was about to eat all three bars of chocolate in the cabinet when I realized the absurdity of my state of mind. The interview was more like a fun conversation and it only lasted fifty minutes. I was not spent, I was back at home and fully functional at 1pm. I think I expected to feel a certain way, a chocolate eating kind of way, and so I felt it. Regardless of the actual circumstances.
Even so, tonight I want to unwind and drink cocoa with Penelope. I’ve earned it after such a long and hard day of work.

Jiseon Lee Isbara

February 21, 2012

I am due at noon. An interview. A chance.

I am meeting Jiseon Lee Isbara, the head of the Fibers Department at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. She is brilliant. I feel greedy and desirous of her work, wanting to posses and claim it and hang it in my house. But I also relate to her and find her choice of topics- multitasking- particularly relative to my life. We share something. We share an obsession with order and time and the belief that, with a plan, we can orchestrate a perfect life of productivity. It is a ridiculous approach to being an animal on this lush earth. It is also a childlike quality and is made human and endearing through her work. How vulnerable and brave she is.

Job or no job, I am excited to be part of her day.
Do you see it, written there… “meet emily, noon, fashion class?

In Here Far Too Long

February 20, 2012

I am so fucking bored. I can’t take another night in this studio with only the news to keep me company.
My soul is screaming for stimulation like a dog waiting for her daily walk. Except this dog has been trapped inside for four months.
I need complication…that does not involve clothing.

Check In

February 18, 2012

Oof, I just ate a big dinner. Soup with black beans, kidney beans, broccoli, zucchini and tomatoes and a big bowl of kale, Brussels Sprouts and marinated golden beets- all with homemade (and improved) Gomasio sprinkled on top. I might go dancing at ten and want to be well fed. I might have overdone it.
I’m in my studio now. The little heater is on. I’m reading the Huffington Post but I should really work instead. Spring 2012 is done but not really- patterns need to be adjusted and trued and hems need finishing. But I don’t really feel like doing it.
I don’t know what I feel like doing. And that lack of focus invites confusion and what feels like an identity crisis. It is Saturday night. What do I do- meaning what does an Emily person do? What do I like? How have I spent previous Saturdays? Why does it matter?
I am never sure that I am satisfied but I’m pretty confidant that I was in the past. Either I’m delusional or I really am satisfied now (soon to be the past).
I saw Luke last night. Jamie and I went to an impressive presentation of John Cage compositions. It was a classy avant-garde affair and I wore heels and slacks and a ballooning nude colored blouse. The outfit gave my body a new shape- high flanked and wide through the middle. I liked it. We spotted him when we were leaving. He was across the street on the corner. He looked like himself. I wanted him to see me and notice how mature I looked. I wanted to run across the street and shake him. But instead Jamie strained to see him without her glasses while I stood, back to him, asking if he was looking. And then we drove away. Have I mentioned that I miss him?

Food Obsession Exhibit B

February 16, 2012

If you are like me you don’t so much cook a meal, you mostly heat a vegetable either by steaming or baking and eat it plain. A typical recipe of mine consists of: kale, olive oil. Or squash, olive oil. So when something comes along that can be added to that “dish”, it’s pretty exciting. Enter Gomasio. This shake seasoning was in the cabinet for months and sometimes I would see Sarah use a bit. One day I gave my Brussels Sprouts a sprinkle and Oh My God. What a little sesame seeds, sea salt, dulce, nori and kombu flakes will do to a bowl of greens. I blew through our supply in a couple of days and raced out to buy another jar. And then Natalie mentioned loving it as well and making it herself. Oh, right, it’s just five ingredients. And so I promptly made a batch. And even though I didn’t get the ratio just right and mine looks and tastes like fish food, I still love it. Give it a try, it’s healthy!


February 16, 2012

I went to yoga yesterday for the first time in weeks. In the storage area my mat was buried beneath the mats of more frequent practitioners. During class my body felt distant and tired. And maybe I’m PMS-ing. But it was a great class because Natalie was there. Wearing nude colored stretch pants and a matching sweater. Besides looking naked she also looked incredibly lovely. Because she is in love.
I have really enjoyed watching her relationship with Jeremy progress. It has been steady and private. It happened over the summer and solidified this fall. Now they live together and are adopting a cat.
Seeing Natalie is a treat. She is busy and sought after and so I don’t see her as often as I would like. But the infrequency of our hangouts has made her transformation particularly easy to note. I can picture her at the beginning, having just met him and not absolutely sure. A couple months later I saw that the qualities in him that made her unsure had become the reasons why she was now very sure and this change in her was reflected in her smile and desire to buy a piece of cake at the end of dinner to bring to him. And then I did not see her very often because she was no longer standing with us, her girlfriends, analyzing the guy over there, she had crossed over and was standing with him. She was a pair. The blending of her spirit with his is obviously so tender and dear to her, such a treat and a surprise and also so natural, that I can’t help but be happy for her even if it means less of her time is for me.

So Good

February 15, 2012

I’m really enjoying Jonathan Franzen’s memoir The Discomfort Zone. It’s so good that I endure a hand cramp trying to hold the umbrella and turn the page at the same time. I loved Freedom and The Corrections and even found pleasure in How To Be Alone but I like his personal stories the best. I know I love the book because I have a crush on him but I have a crush on him because of his writing, so whatever. He’s awesome and endearing and terrible and smart and lives in Santa Cruz. It’s just a matter of time.

Don’t Look Down, Look Up

February 15, 2012

Gosh. Spending money is stressful. Spending money is not shopping. It’s not fun.

I just sent in a purchase order for fabric to make Spring 2012. Thousands and thousands of dollars! I feel like my insides might overtake me and I will jitter myself right off the chair.

But when I look at the page and imagine those colors and textures in the form of the dresses that surround me, I feel reassured.
It is going to be so pretty.
This collection is for the woman who never looks in a mirror. She drives a yellow truck and is in love with the horizon line.

Mixed Company?

February 14, 2012

I wonder if men read this blog.
Are you a man?

To Be Here, Revisited

February 14, 2012

(typing a heart-felt love letter to Josh, many years ago)

Jenny commented on the To Be Here post regarding sadness. She asked if the drama was a bit tongue and cheek…

Well, no. The drama, the mournful indulgence, the sighing, the solo walks…is not a put on or for show. I sincerely feel it, all the way. But I also welcome and revel in it, just a bit. And this is ok because there is a real difference between the blues I feel these days and the real, life shattering sadness I have felt in the past. Just as there are shades of color, there are shades of sorrow. The pastel sadness I feel when I sit and drink a glass of wine is a far cry from the saturated, sobbing version I was a number of years ago. And yet I think that sobbing version set the stage for the mild version I now experience. I got used to melancholy and depression and now I find a bit of familiar comfort there. Perhaps this makes sadness less scary but it also might make it more likely to be felt.

Three Cheers For Love!

February 14, 2012

I have never really participated in Valentines Day. I have a thing about set-ups– days or events or blind dates where I am supposed to act and feel a certain way. I typically will feel the opposite. But this year I am thinking a little more broadly. I’m going to celebrate love by recognizing how much love there is, on this Tuesday, on this wintery Tuesday, on this wintery Tuesday filled with sewing and a dog’s company and a bike ride and really good coffee and a meeting and more sewing. And some eating. And some sleeping. Not bad.
Go toward love, just keep going toward that which you love.

To Be Here

February 13, 2012

On the way home from the grocery store I stopped for a glass of wine. It was 5pm and grey and Bello was content to rest. I sipped and sketched and sipped and stared out the window. I felt sad, whats new. But I was aware that it was the put on kind of sadness. And really, not sadness, just contemplation. That made me smile and inwardly laugh at my temperament and tendencies. I felt thankful that I have the freedom to indulge myself in the ways that I do. What a good, sad, wonderful time to be here.


February 13, 2012

Oh house. How I have neglected you.

Just Dramatic

February 12, 2012

A friend of mine wrote today. A warm and wonderful email checking in and hoping to see me soon. She mentioned reading the blog and that I seemed “up and down with work and love”. What? Me, up and down? My life is great! And then I remember / realize / come to terms with the fact that I indulge in sadness and shout it from the mountain top. I like feeling strongly and I like the heavy and thick emotional quality of sorrow. I like having an important, private experience and carrying it about my day- just throwin on some old thing cause I just don’t care or moping through the produce section daring anyone to smile at me. I like sitting at my desk and staring out the window or maybe even laying on my bed and staring out the window. Oh, the drama!
Most importantly, I like to document these potent mournful feminine feelings through writing and sewing and telling my sister all about it. I used to keep my thoughts contained within my journal. If you were to sneak a peek you’d think I was chronically depressed and hated every one of my boyfriends. I never wrote when I felt good. I didn’t need to. Now this blog has become my journal. Does it seem like I hate my boyfriends and cry all day? Does it seem like I love my boyfriends and cry all day? I should strive for a bit of balance. I should let you know that along with feeling isolated and wishing I had someone to kiss, I also feel important and incredibly creative and content. Like you, I am a mix. I am happy with what I have and longing for more.

I Am One, You Are Two

February 11, 2012

I am nearing the end of a lengthy project. Four months of work. Day after day a similar routine.

Now, as the work wraps up I begin to have a little more free time. And I start to see holes in my day where the work used to be. Without the work my life suddenly seems vacant. Like I woke up from a long nap and the house is empty and dark. Where is everyone? How do I find you?

I start by leaving the house. I start with doing something pleasant. I start with a walk. For three hours Bello and I traversed the city. I wore the appropriate Woody Allen walking outfit of belted sand-colored chinos, a railroad-striped button-up and a ratty beige cardigan. Hands in pockets. Looking up and over and stopping to examine plants and houses and people. Noticing in particular couples. How they work together in the yard. Or stroll with a baby. They go to the hardware store as a team. They bicker about what to buy for tonight’s dinner. Couples don’t worry about what to do on a Saturday. They never have too much alone time.

Flowy Elasticized Pants

February 9, 2012

I bought a pair of rayon print pants. They have an elastic waistband and a wide straight leg. They are so highwaisted that I have to fold them over once, which makes them more flattering and reminds me of my teenage years. They look good, even with the suede boots and navy blue cashmere v-neck I wore into the store. They will look even better with sandals and a loose champagne colored tank.
Fashion is so funny.
When I stumbled upon the rayon pant section of Goodwill I was confused. Wait, I love you guys. Why haven’t I thought about you before? Because guaranteed they were right there, the whole time. But the last time I was in Goodwill I was only looking for chinos. Now it’s time for slinky printed elasticized pants. Really, who would have guessed.
That is the cryptic answer to the question I get asked all the time. How do you keep coming up with new designs? I keep changing my opinion on what is beautiful.

I Love My Job

February 9, 2012

I walked to a potluck last night, through neighborhoods where people had not yet closed their blinds for the night. I could see them as the went about their evening routine. A lot of TV and a lot of snacking. I don’t remember anyone doing anything else.
I was struck by the wide openness of their night. They got off work and came home. Now what?
And I was struck by my assumption that I would enjoy a similar lifestyle that separated work from the rest of one’s life. Or, my accurately, my prior assumption. Because I have to admit, TV watching and snacking didn’t look that great. At least not every night. And I realized, once again, how much I love my job. My little private job that requires all of my attention, even after dinner. A collection is a story and when I put a half-made dress down, to go to yoga or eat or meet a friend, I cant stop thinking about that character. I can’t wait to see what she will decide next, how she will evolve, what role she will play in the plot. I am happy not to know about the latest shows because I have my own show right here.
Thank you for supporting Filly. I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself.


February 8, 2012

I went upstairs last night. I made a top. I listened to the Diane Rehm Show and everything else even remotely related to politics. I am very informed.
But I was still attached to the original plan for the night. Even though it was never a plan, only a desire. So around 10:30 I got stoned. And tried to limit dancing and bangs cutting and ruminating on the collections to a half hour because I knew it was getting late. I put on The Congos and wagged my hips from side to side. It was nice to feel my chest release and my mind become less pointed. My insides matched the glow of the x-mas lights. Soft and mild. I sketched just to say that I had and then I was ready for bed.
Last night I allowed myself a glimpse of the relaxed, swaying woman who is hiding inside and biding her time. Amanda is right, she will arrive with the spring. And that is still a couple of months off. And so, for now, work will have to be my drug.


February 7, 2012

I see land. Still a ways off, but visible.
Today I met the model for Spring 2012 and fit the samples to her frame. She is lanky and beautifully awkward with kind eyes and smile lines. She embodies the natural, candid feel of this collection. I think the Spring 2012 catalog will be as easy to shoot as the collection has been to design.
After I sent my OCAC class proposal in to be reviewed (cross your fingers!), I biked down to Heart Coffee and met Anja to go over the catalog shoot for Fall 2012. The model we had hoped to use moved to Chicago. The back-up choice moved to Paris. Still searching for the right woman.
Now I’m home. The daylight has left. Squash in the oven. Brussels sprouts on the stove. I sit in the rocking chair and look out the big window. People passing by can see me but I can’t see them.
Above me the studio waits. Four more tops to make and Spring 2012 will be complete. I should go upstairs.
But tonight I want to stay downstairs. I want a different kind of evening. I want the kind of evening I will have when all of this is behind me and Spring and Fall 2012 are done. That kind of evening will have me make a fire. It will have me smoke a joint and put on a record. And I will move my body wildly, in socks on the hardwood floor. Out of breath and full of life.

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