Seeing John Malkovich
October 19, 2005
While you and the entire blogiverse have been in Rhinebeck blissing out on wacky new crafts and carrying on like a bunch of Kappa Deltas during rush week at the University of Alabama, I have been on the MOVE.
Stop One: Tailgate Antiques Show
If it’s October, you know where to find me: out in the parking lot of the Fiddler’s Inn across the street from the Opryland Hotel. I am utterly addicted to the Tailgate Antiques Show: a strip motel becomes ye olde curiosity shoppe once hundreds of dealers fill up the rooms with Stuff To Sell. What more could a person want? I know, I know: less potpourri. But still.
There were the usual heads, shoes, stuffed mountain lions in repose on Persian carpets, and oil portraits of dogs who have gone on to a better place. But I knew it was going to be an auspicious day when my traditional stop at Gwen LaFevre’s textiles room netted me a new addition to my collection of mending and darning samplers.
I have a strict rule that I have to buy anything that has my initials on it. This sampler is so subtle that I can’t get a picture of it–it’s just a series of seams some European girl named A.S. was practicing in 1913. But the seams! So straight! So teeny! So NOT something that girls are practicing anymore!
We turned a corner, and hanging from the balcony was this:
The price tag says $2,250.
This is a boro textile, I have now discovered. It came from Japan, early 20th century probably, and was a futon cover or some sort of bedding. These textiles show the extreme frugality of the poor Japanese–the patches sometimes have patches, and even tiny scraps of fabric are not wasted.
Take a look at these boro textiles I found after googling “indigo patch Japanese.” Scroll down. Remind you of something?
You can read more here about a boro textiles show in San Francisco last year. Did anybody happen to see it?
Frannie and I spent a good long while pondering this piece, as well as this coat made in the same way:
The dealer asked hopefully, “Do you work for Ralph Lauren?” When we chortled at the likelihood of that, he said that the Ralph Lauren folks had been through, taking ideas from these boro textiles.
It’s Gee’s Bend of the Far East. I was so wiped out after this discovery that the mood indigo tinted everything else I saw:
You would have been proud of me, loving the indigo and all.
Free bonus: What’s this? Yet another one of Ann’s weirdo pictures of human hair?
Naw, it’s actually flax, aka Your Favorite Yarn in its natural state. I would have bet money that this was hair. Creepy enough for ya?
Stop Two: Chicago
This past weekend, there was no yarn. There was precious little knitting. There was no chance to go in search of famous Chicagoans like Evelyn or the Knitting Biologist or Bonne Marie or Cristina’s family or any midwestern knitter at all.
It was all about the kids. ALL about the kids. It was a quick inspection visit to see my frere Clif, the sister-in-law Mary Neal, and nephew Wilson, who have just moved to the big city from a small town not far from . . . Rhinebeck.
Amid the Nazi U-boats, beluga whales, and burning cheese, there was a moment at breakfast when I looked up and thought, That looks just like John Malkovich. It was. He was looking awfully dapper in his joli-laid way, wearing as he surely was clothes of his own design.
Stop Three: The Perfect Sweater
We return tomorrow to our Future Search. Destiny is just around the corner. Maybe John Malkovich could help us design the perfect sweater. Somebody call the guy, please?