Monday, June 16, 2014

Childhood Inspirations

Dedicating a project to Frida is a lot more work than I thought. Last year I made an eyelet blouse and decorated it with fabric flowers. I felt like white eyelet was an ideal fabric that reminded me of the many simple lace blouses that Frida wore in her photographs. I tried to move into modern Frida this year...imagining what sort of clothes she would wear if she were alive today. I believe her style would remain vibrant and fearless in any century.

From Olvera Street website HERE
Olvera Street is a little tourist town
next door to Los Angeles Chinatown
The internet has really brought cultures closer together, and that has far exceeded my wildest dreams. Unless we lived in the urban neighborhoods across melting pots like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and the like, most of us would miss the opportunity of blending history and culture by simply crossing our streets.  What do I mean?  There is San Francisco Chinatown next to Little Italy, and Korea Town, a stone's throw from Hollywood, and the list goes on.

This is how I grew up...smacked up against the Hispanic cultures of central Los Angeles, and Chinatown. My Latin neighbors were mostly from Mexico, and most of what I know about their love for friends and family stems from them. My elementary school celebrated Cinco de Mayo just as fervently as Chinese New Year. We danced and sang in both languages and rhythms. We ate each other's food, fought in English and in our native tongue, and on a rare occasion when unspoken neighborhood rules got broken, we banded together, brown and yellow. This is how I want to remember that time in my past. It's easy to recall the negativity, and maybe even difficult to see the good for some amidst our shared poverty and struggles. But I want to remember our many shining moments together in our hood.

Historical LA Chinatown, more HERE
These days, the reach of new neighborhoods are even easier, and we don't need to step outside our doors.  It comes to us from the tech phenomenon we call social media. It makes me appreciate Google translator...and forces an awareness about how little I really know about my neighbors on the other side of the world. Which brings me back to sewing...

Who would have thought that a needle and thread could be our universal language, and that regardless of our diphthongs or intonations, we could share a love we do with our hands without ever uttering a word. Dedicating a project to Frida Kahlo reminds me of so many things about what I love wrapped into one garganchuan, indescribable mix of my past, present, and passions.

Happy sewing!

A little update on my Frida Kahlo challenge...

Drying the sari fabric I am using for my Frida challenge. A 
Google+ SOMKT member told me how to launder the sari 
using shampoo. I like the way the seven-foot long sari draped 
across my back porch. I almost wanted to leave it there. I will
be blending the fabrics of India with my Japanese-inspired
Frida dress. A melting pot indeed! I think Frida would approve,
don't you?