Friday, August 21, 2020

My French Grandmother and the Art of Reinvention


My French grandmother was an artist.
No, she didn't paint or draw or even write.
Although, she did dance and she did make dance costumes for my mother who was a tapdancer in Vaudeville in the 1920's.  She was a regular Shirley Temple!
But that's not what this story is about.
This story is about my grandmother's hat.
Do you see it there in the photo?  I know it's not so easy to see in this old black and white from 1964, but it's the only photo I have of her wearing her fur pillbox hat.


This pillbox hat is emblematic of my grandmother's artistry.
And I do believe it's a lesson in creativity and re-invention.
You see, it was originally part of a fur coat from the 1930's.  By the 1960's, it was falling apart, and so she cut it up and began sewing a whole bunch of fur pillbox hats for all the girls in my family.  This was long before these days when we talk about the dangers of fast fashion and the value of re-purposing.  In fact, my grandmother and my mother taught me the joys of shopping in thrift stores and consignment shops very early on in my life.  
My grandmother was truly ahead of her time!
When you shop vintage, you'll find that you pay more attention to details, to the fabric and the quality of the workmanship.  Also, vintage clothing teaches you a whole lot about social and cultural history.  
You can see, I'm a fan.  And it started with my French grandmother! 
For today's creativity prompt, I'd like you to look at something in your life that you no longer wear or use.  Ask yourself, could I turn this basket into a hat?  Could I turn that flowerpot into a pencil holder?  Could I turn that scarf into a table cloth?  Could I hang my umbrella upside down from the ceiling and adds lights?  Could I take a man's tie and turn it into a scarf?
Actually, that's what I've done--you'll see my demonstration in a 
The point of this assignment is to look at your world from an upside down perspective and shake up your molecules.  Creativity will follow and you will bring this new way of looking at your world into your work.  For your creativity  assignment:  write a story or draw a picture or write a song or invent a new recipe called "Upside Down Suzanne Cake."  
And most important of all, have fun!

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