Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day

The Spring Party Scene
Part Two
As we said last post, April has seen a whirlwind of festivities -- a stylish maelstrom if you will. There was Anna's big bash at the Met last Monday where Madonna bared her booty. But we who cannot pony up the $30,000 for a ticket to the Met Gala, and who want to keep our booties under wraps, manage to have fun as we mine the depths of our closets for yet another stunning outfit.

On a Sunday afternoon, a group of friends gathered at our apartment for a tea to honor a visitor from Vancouver, Canada. Cathie Borrie is the author of The Long Hello -- Memory, My Mother, and Me. She was in New York for the launch of the USA edition of The Long Hello.

Cathie's book is an apt subject for a Mother's Day post. It tells the story of her years of caring for her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Since my mother, Mary, also had the disease, I have a keen interest in what Cathie had to say.

The Long Hello is prose poetry. In short interludes, Cathie reveals her intimate relationship with her ill mother. But not only do we hear the absurd, the heart-breaking and the lovely words spoken by Cathie and her mother, but we also learn about Cathie's life in a condensed narrative and crisp words. In spite of, her perhaps because of such well-edited brevity, by the end of the book we can say that we know Cathie and the details of her life.

Since Maya Angelou had exclaimed the book to be "Joy!" and the excerpts I had heard were sheer poetry, I thought that Cathie's care giving had been all sweet. And it was, except that it wasn't. As a caregiver, along with my siblings, of Mary during her illness, I can attest to the agony and stress one goes through. And Cathie did not escape it.
Author Cathie Borrie with her book,
The Long Hello.
(She is wearing her dad's bowler.)
My mother, Mary Markel, with me and
my sister, Susan. 
She dressed us in hair bows and cotton frocks.
Two-thirds of the people who get Alzheimer's are women.
In my opinion, that's why more money is
not being spent on finding a cure.
Tea party goers standing from left to right: Diana Gabriel, Carol Markel,
 Joyce Carpati, Valerie and Jean, The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas,
Maureen Gumbe, Debra Rapoport, Elke Kuhn.
Seated: Cathie Borrie and Nonnie Balcer.
We are rapt hearing Cathie read from her book.
There is no tea at our tea parties but there is bubbly.
Nonnie, Joyce, Carola, Teresa and Jean chat it up.
There was Brooklyn Blackout Cake,
and I made tea sandwiches from Sandra Lee recipes.
Debra brought fruit.
 Jewelry designer, Diana Gabriel.
There was shopping in my Hat Shop in a Box.
Cathie purchased these red and black beads.
 Elke and Jean model two of my hats.
 Lovely Elke in Marimekko and beads by Carol.
 Jean and Valerie, 
The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.
 Jean in my hand-painted straw cloche.
 Maureen and Debra.
 Carol in a Zara blouse.
 Teresa Taylor in my hat and beads.
 Valerie, Joyce (in mad tights) and Carola in a Zara dress!
Mary Markel
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.
Please pick up a copy of Cathie's book.
I am sure you will love it.
Read about it here.

Thanks to Denton Taylor for these photographs.

Mother's Day Tulips from my stepchildren.
Thank you Dianna, Richard and Michael.

À Bientôt!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Party Circuit

April Party Circuit
Part One
Who made April party month? O my goodness. A convergence of events and people visiting New York City created an overwhelming need to celebrate.

The festivities began last Saturday at the Washington Heights apartment of artist, writer and walking-art woman, Sue Kreitzman. I will use the adjective fabulous only once, and that will be to describe Sue, who dresses in glorious hand-painted gowns and eye-riveting pieces of body adornment.
Sue on left with Valerie of  The
Idiosyncratic Fashionistas.
Every inch of Sue's apartment is
covered with color and art.
Sue lives part of the year in London
where she met artist Diane Goldie who custom paints
and creates many of Sue's robes.
Diane was visiting New York and was the
guest of honor at Sue's party.
To describe Diane, I will use the adjective spectacular.
Diane's painting of Frida Kahlo as Medusa
on the back of her dress.
Photo by Denton Taylor
 Carol hamming it up in vintage bell bottoms.
Photo by Denton Taylor.
 Souleiado beret purchased in Avignon, France
 and silk-scarf blouse by Madame Matovu.
Yellow and blue beads of my own design.
Photo by Denton Taylor.
 Sue's parties are art parties.
We have show and tell.
Sue holds a work embroidered by
Concepcion, on the left.
Photo by Denton Taylor.
 In the milieu of Sue's art-filled apartment are
Jean (left) of The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas
and Ruthie Darling.
Photo by Denton Taylor.
 Outside Sue's home in Castle Village are
Nita Angeletti, Teresa Taylor, Dayle of Artfulcitystyle and 
jewelry designer, Diana Gabriel.
Photo by Denton Taylor
 Richard and I show our work.
Photo by Denton Taylor
 Sue and artists Anothai Hansen and Shelita Birchett Benash
Anothai makes many of Sue's necklaces.
Photo by Denton Taylor
 Show and tell in a sunny corner.
Teresa Taylor and outsider artist, Malcah Zeldis.
Artist Nita Angeletti with one of her
puppet creations. She is wearing
a necklace and hair ornament of her own design.
A study in pattern and color.
Sue's Russian constructivist plate
and my Issey Miyake sock.

À Bientôt!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Lower East Side Girls Club

Girls Rock on the Lower East Side
I have been doing some Spring cleaning and organizing, and I found a stash of gingham fabric that I have had for years. At one time I was using it to make dolls, and admittedly, I am gaga for gingham, but I decided to de-accession it to a good cause.
 These are some of my gingham dolls.

My friend, Mary Adams, dressmaker extraordinaire, and author of The Party Dress Book, teaches sewing at The Lower East Side Girls Club. I gave her a holler and she said that she would like to have the gingham. So last week, Richard and I went to the Girls Club, and Mary gave us a tour.

A corner of Mary's studio at the Girls Club.

The Lower East Side Girls Club was founded in 1996.
 It provides programs and services for girls and young women 
ages 8 to 23. 
At the Club they learn, have fun and develop confidence.
Mary Adams and Richard outside
the Girls Club on 8th Street near Avenue D
New York City
Girls gather in the Club's lobby after school.
The Club's mission is to break the cycle of poverty 
and to train the next generation of ethical, 
entreprenurial and environmental leaders.
 The Girls Club is housed
in a beautiful, 30,000 square foot building.
This is a sculpture by Kiki Smith in a courtyard.
 The Bake Shop at the Club makes
goodies for their shop at the Essex Market.
 Mary, Richard and I in the Club's cafe.
 The bathrooms have all been done up in
fantastic mosaic designs.
 This is the digital and audio arts studio.
 The Club has its own radio station, WGRL.
 Amy Sedaris, author, actress and
craftmaker, often
works with the girls to make
wonderful things.
Dolls made in Mary's sewing class.
 Fancy eye masks made by Mary's students.
 The Girls Club received a donation of denim,
and the girls made wonderfully inventive 
garments with it.
 An apron with a girl's drawing.
 Mary's eye is evident in this dress.
 The sunlit sewing room has the
best karma.
 Aren't these little fellows adorable?
 Sewing room still life.
 Scraps will be put to good use.
The Girls Club has a photography studio,
a Maker Shop and a 64-seat planetarium
with a 30-foot digital dome.
 These works were made by the
younger girls using pencil shaving.

Richard shows off a doll made for the Art on Paper Fair,
one of a group called Paper Doll Couture
made in Mary Adams' class.

À Bientôt!