If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

The Hamptons: Land of Zero Point Zero Contrasts

Dear Ann,
Hi doll. I’m out in Southampton, where the geraniums are all lipstick red, the dogs are all blow-dried, and the American flags flutter, but do not flap. And where you will be ticketed if you stay in that parking space for longer than 30 minutes. Especially if you are as haggish as moi, in my flip flops, and my straw hat that is old enough to have belonged to Gertrude Jekyll. There ought to be an ordinance against me. Maybe there is!
(The other thing that hurts my feelings about the Hamptons is that the gas stations have prettier gardens than I do. Ouch! I think this is because deer do not like the smell of gasoline. But still, it’s humiliating that the Russian Sage at the Hess station is so much happier than mine.)
But you go girl! You and your unpronounceable, unspellable linguistics! I’m impressed!
Or am I? After all, I am a woman of the world. I have friends whose true names are not even read from left to right. Take Orna. Every day since she moved to this country, Orna has had to spell her own name in an alphabet other than the original Hebrew. Personally, I would find this hard. You are not going to see me emigrating somewhere where I have to learn to spell “Kay” in Cyrillic. I worry about that letter that looks like a P but is not a P. Not having it, I tell you.
Perhaps mutual unorthodox orthography explains why, one evening last winter, Orna was approached by someone named Hrafnhildur Arnardottir). Did they spy each other across a crowded room, and each think about the other, “I bet that one is not named Debbie, either”? Orna was at a concert and Arnardottir, aka “Shoplifter”, famous for her “aimez vous avec fervour” piece, which is pictured here and, I believe, still graces the Museum of Modern Art’s street window, approached her. She was interested, artistically, in Orna. Specifically, in Orna’s hair. You do not see hair like Orna’s everywhere. If you are an artist whose medium is hair, and your work requires hair of a certain scale and magnitude, you can’t be shy. You have to march right up and speak to the hair. You have to sign the hair UP.
For Orna, this was charming, but it was also kind of been there, done that. “So, you want my hair? Take a number.” But, being Orna, she was amused and interested, and agreed to allow her hair to participate in Arnardottir’s work. Orna showed up on the appointed day, not knowing what role her hair would play. A dress had been made specially for her. There was a lovely young woman there. And also her hair. And so it was that two world-class heads of hair were combined into one epic work of art.
Ladies & gentlemen, I give you the Mason-Dixon Knitting premiere presentation of “Siamese Solitude”, co-starring Orna’s hair. Creepy! Arty! More of Arnardottir’s work here and here!
Only in New York, kids. And to be honest, not all that often in New York.




  1. Working with a person from Iceland I recognize that Hrafnhildur is Arnar’s daughter, it still wouldn’t help me pronounce it, but I understand that her brothers would have the “surname” Arnarson. Enjoy the Hamptons, hot as the bejezus here.

  2. Gertrude Jekyll’s HAT?? Cracked me up! 🙂
    Sorry about the ticket, though.

  3. Gee whiz, ladies!
    I go offline for 5 days, and I return to find ladies with luxuriant locks braided to each other and that Ann has been in 4 Baltic countries and that Estonia came into being with a singing revolution…

  4. But what IS the symbolism of the orthopedic shoes???

  5. This is the ultimate *top this!* post. OK, you win. 😉

  6. But am I really impressed?

  7. Very cool! Creepy indeed with a bit of music and a bit of wind machine.
    I wonder what Hrafnhildur’s American friends call her.

  8. Enjoy the Hamptons. The waves will be rockin’ & rollin’ due to Hurricane Bill.

  9. I’m thinking this hairdo isn’t going to be all the rage this Fall. And, I’m thinking that’s a good thing.

  10. ticket – Kay – you’ve been here long enough to know to park in the parking lots and walk wherever you want to go – but sorry about the ticket – I’ve been lucky to come back 5 minutes late and not have a ticket – I guess the brownies walked slower that day 😉

  11. Say hello to the Contessa for me while you’re out there.

  12. Little Edie Beale of Grey Gardens had a lot to say about the Hamptons. My favorite: “It’s a mean, nasty, Republican town. They’ll get you for wearing red shoes on a Thursday.” Your flip flops aren’t red by any chance?

  13. OhmygoodnessOhmygoodness. You think I can’t handle it, and you’re right. I can absolutely not handle this. I’m with Jan: you win.

  14. The link to the video is down – just more proof of the power of the knitting blog. I will check back later. What I did see was incredible. How do you find this stuff??

  15. Just Wow! Love Orna as always.

  16. Who’s going to card and spin that enormous bale of wool?

  17. Icelandians are weird but wonderful.

  18. dear kay,
    check out this lady – an original müncherin. she wove herself a hat out of her own hair. nearly mispelt meself there! she runs the karl valentin museum amongst other things (the housewives political party).

  19. Weird and wonderful indeed ! Ethereal yet creepy. Art, partly because it makes you think. Slightly hair obsessed, possibly.

  20. I don’t think I could have a meaningful conversation with that artist!
    Mary G. in Texas

  21. Speaking as a mother of teenagers, I suppose that is one way to make sure your kids are REALLY following your sentence of grounding them.

  22. here is petra-perle’s web-site
    forgot to paste it in yesterday!

  23. I know exactly why anyone would talk to Orna about her hair – it’s amazing – ‘certain scale and magnitude’ is a very good description. Much more so than it looks in the vid, although that is quite a sight.
    But it was the letter that ‘looks like a P but is not a P’ that had me laughing. I wouldn’t have it either! x x x

  24. Fantastic post!

  25. So. Do you suppose the hairdresser used a ‘Russian join’?

  26. Knew an artist in Baltimore who was really into hair. Oh, I tried, collected some of mine at a cutting…intrigued by the gray/not gray but really could not get into it.
    Just saw much of it at a exhibition “The Seen & the Hidden: [Dis]Covering the Veil” at Austrian Cultural Forum. Last art before leaving the City and very provocative. Hope it travels elsewhere in America and women gather to ponder how we cover and uncover ourselves and meaning thereof.
    Hoping you and Ann make another book tour visit to PDX. love, n


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