It's All in the Details
“The details are not the details. They make the design.”
You may remember the woman whose personal effects I seem to have inherited. I've written about her clothing and her boxes of fabrics several times in the last month. I've found her name, finally, written into an enormous faux fur coat, no doubt, by someone at a dry cleaning establishment. Her name was Ruth, and she died last November at the age of 96. One of the boxes contained scraps, and some larger pieces of corduroy—a fabric that I love. Sometimes, I don't know what I'm making until I begin, so I cut several large blocks of canvas, and began to glue corduroy onto it. When I finished one block, I tried to imagine how I might both strengthen it and bring it to life. I found a stitch on my sewing machine that I liked and, behold, it came together better than I had imagined.
Decades ago, I saw an article in a magazine about a woman in New England who made beautiful rugs by weaving corduroy on a loom. She would go to thrift stores and buy men's corduroy pants, cut them into long strips and use them in place of threads. I was so entranced by that idea that I have remembered it since the 1970's. I don't have a loom, but I do have a sewing machine, so this is the first block in my version of a corduroy rug. Thank you, Ruth.
Charles Eames, a famous American designer, contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright, was born around the same time as Ruth, and died in 1978. He said this about design: “Eventually, everything connects—people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality...” His words are true on many levels. All things are connected. We humans are inclined to skim the surface, especially in this age of internet marketing. In doing so, we lose the depth of meaning that understanding the connections brings—the soul of things, the pulsing of life within them.
Next time you buy something—anything—notice the details. Think of all the hands that made it; that took the raw materials and created what you now hold in your hands. Take time to realize that a long chain of human beings handled every aspect of it, from its inception to you. You'll find yourself connected to people you don't even know. Understanding brings appreciation and the realization that everything is one in this dance of life.
In the Spirit,