These are the penultimate Boxes of Mystery. These photos were taken in September and I hope this second-to-last group of contributors hasn't given up on me, thinking I wouldn't share the contents of the packages they took time to send all the way to Alaska. I have an excuse and it's 30 feet long, double sided. I also have 2 other excuses, they aren't nearly that big, eat a lot more and grow out of clothing faster than I can mend knee holes.
But, back to the business of Inheritance.
Possibly the Owens.
Thank you, Jill Isakson, for rescuing these hand made items and sending them my way. My daughter, age 8, has commandeered the red, green and yellow Christmas doilies after helping organize in my studio. Sometimes they are under the Christmas tree, other times under the cats. She's promised to return them to the "colorful doilies" bin, but I know her and she'll smuggle them in to the Christmas box come January's Holiday Dismantle. I hope you don't mind.
Something tells me you won't.
"... I believe they are from her mother’s side of the family, which would be the Owens. Wish I had more information...”
Continuing a Story.
Thank you, Denise Elaine Mongeau, for the heavy box of linens, wool tapestry needlepoints, the tiny hard bound needle case, the embroidered tea towels and all that pristine embroidery floss worthy of a 1940's sewing basket.
I'm sure there are very few of us who, at age 17, know what will be important to us 30 years on. It would be impossible. I'm honored to hold your mother's memory in my thoughts.
Make Mine Vanilla.
Last June, Marolyn Cook sent me an incredible collection of 33 linen handkerchiefs (these are documented in The 14th boxes of mystery). She has since sent this Clarks/J & P Coats instruction booklet, “Handkerchief Edgings” c. 1949.
There are a number of things I love about this:
First, the idea of crocheting the edging of my hankies is charming. It also bends my mind. Second, I think somebody in copyediting had a good time appealing to a certain woman at a certain point in time with those pattern titles. Third, all those stylized doodles along the tops of the pages -- an atomizer, kid gloves, a paint palette, a fan, a violin, an hourglass, a ribbon that says "dreamy" another "le billet doux" (love letter), a quiver with arrows and a heart -- tells me this isn't just the instruction book for edging your hankies, its the secret recipe for filling your hope chest.
So, that certain woman was perhaps a young woman.
Also, Iove that it cost 10 cents.
Spirit of My Heart.
Thank you, Tammy Hennessy, for sending this lovely parcel of linens from your mother's collection. I know that going through these items has been emotional and challenging.
Tammy first contacted me two years ago, after creating a painting inspired by one of my blog posts. At that time she was challenging herself to paint a portrait a day and my work inspired #70. You can see her work on her blog, The Seared Blue Hair Comment, an exploration of her artistic pursuits and all things that move her. She's also on Instagram as @myartofhearts. Her portraits are intense and have a way of burning into the viewer.
I know from our conversations it was important for Tammy to send some of her mother's things for this project, and that the relationship with her wasn't always easy. I, too, have linens made by women in my family who -- distance aside -- I rarely felt close with or understood by. But as many of us come to realize decades on, the love was there in the creating.
These items are part of Tammy's tangible inheritance, objects she spent over a year going through after her mother passed away.
"... I learned things about my mother that I never knew, really, and it was heartbreaking to me to discover how much we had in common, and how many things we both loved as much. I never knew this ... we never got to share those things together."
"... I have her entire sewing room."
Artist in Anchorage, Alaska, sometimes blogging about the collision of history, family & art, with the understanding that none exists without the other.