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Diary in wood & fabric


I think this room says a lot about me: my values, my eclecticism, my memories. Each piece has a story, its unique history, interlocking each other into what is now my life, a visual diary in fabric and wood.


I begin with the furniture which was my childhood set. It sat in storage for years and was frankly on the chopping block, destined for Goodwill, or anyone interested. I never really liked it. I have great memories of twirling around its banisters; but, I had always preferred my sister's bedroom with its lovely lavender flowers. And practically I had wished for a full size bed. But, when it came out of storage post our expat in Shanghai, I opened its drawers and found the label, Lillian Russell. It wouldn't hurt to call the company, learn a bit more if it had provenance. I remember going with my parents to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago to pick it out. Amazingly the furniture maker, Davis Cabinet Company, still was manufacturing in North Carolina. And yes, the twin poster was unique, even a bit rare. Always practical, I bargained it can eventually pass on to grandkids; or simply stake its claim in this lower basement room for when they all visit. I respect its sturdiness now; and with a jute rug beneath it and muted colors from the setting sun that enter the room each evening, it appears softer to me now.


The Otomi fabric on the wall too was locked away since 1985 when I spent a summer in Guadalajara learning Spanish. I never knew its intended plan or purpose. I liked it simply for its vibrancy and joy. When the furniture moved in 2015, I immediately knew this piece would be the central backdrop. Tucked away in a Rubbermaid tub for 30 years, it unfolded as if brand new. It is the first thing you see; hardly escapable. I find it equally intriguing now that it is loaded with spirit animals something I was clueless to at 18 but have ironically become key elements of my own journey over the years: guides, soothsayers, that have provided wisdom and strength when unexpectedly needed.


The woodcarving adjacent the window is from a spectacular artist in Cable, WI who carves Viking Santa's from fallen trees. I have visited his shop for decades, picking up occasional antiques; but never his specific works of art. Last summer I visited with some artist friends who spent hours admiring his work. He was much frailer then I had ever seen him and his wife was also showing advanced signs of memory loss. I knew then it was time to find a special piece, fearful that the following summer they could both be gone.



On the night stand is a pale lavender box with dried flowers, a modern trinket from a trip back to Provence as a young adult. Invisible in this photo is a basket full of childhood books: Babar, The Lonely Doll, The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. The latter an uncanny story of how a family moved an old farm house swallowed up by time and the city, back to an apple orchard in the country, just as Tom and I would do with this home in 2011. A photo of Mom in her early thirties, tinted rouge rests on a bookshelf along with one of Dad's mechanical engineering tomes from Marquette; and even Tom with his prayer rug from the Turkish Bazaar in Istanbul circa 1991 are all present in this singular space: a mini-microcosm, chapers in the story of our lives.

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