Thursday, January 31, 2008
Later, as a young woman in Massachusetts, I roamed the woods and fields around my home in search of beauty and romance. Reciting poetry outloud to the trees, my dog and I wandered a landscape broken up by crumbling stone walls built by early settlers, and I would imagine life as a pilgrim girl, or an Indian maiden. Once we found a long-forgotten centuries-old well, now appropriated by frogs, and almost reclaimed by brambles. Even in the winter, when snow was deep, it was fun to traipse through the New England woods, try walking upon a frozen pond, spot red cardinals against the bleakness.
Here in New York, its no different. I can walk and walk, alone, through landscape as wild as any countryside. Instead of wheatfields or woods, I see skyscrapers and cement. My mind wanders and absorbs the beauty of elaborately decorated architecture. I observe the people who pass by, the shop windows, the schoolyards, the streetcorner fruitstands, the garbage, the art, the beggars, the taxicabs, all of the lights and colors and sounds. Some people express surprise when I tell them how far I walk--I've learned that it's not a common practice here, even where things are so nearby. But I love walking, and I take every chance I get to explore. It's still an adventure, full of discovery, beauty and romance.
Monday, January 28, 2008
A wonderful result of working at the Antiques Show was the close friendships I made with people in my class, and in the antiques field. My fellow students are amazing! And I had the great fortune of being assigned to work with Barbara Pollack, an antiques dealer from the Chicago area. She took me under her wing, as we sat beside her booth each day, and told me the stories about each one of the wonderful American folk-art pieces she had for sale. I read through notebooks of her meticulous research on each piece, and found a greater appreciation for such things as 19th century Mourning Pictures and Theorems, painted primarily by school girls as a way to learn decorum and discipline. Barbara is a wonderful new friend, and offered me a place to stay any time I find myself in Illinois or New Hampshire, where she spends the summer.
At the show, whenever I had the chance, I attended the series of lectures given on various aspects of Shaker crafts, such as their oval boxes, and "gift drawings." I may choose to write a paper on a similar topic--the drawings especially fascinate me. Apparently, within the Shaker community, it was not uncommon for people, usually women, to receive visions which they would record in the form of drawings, and give them as sacred gifts to one another. The few drawings that survive are extremely intriguing. I can thank the Antiques Show for introducing them to me.
The show was not without its gossip and scandal too, but I stayed out of that, or missed it inadvertantly. Apparently, after my sister and I left Young Collector's Night, a drunken man got into a scuffle with one of the dealers, over a girl in a fluffy fur vest. The man flung a wineglass across the booth, knocking a painting askew and possibly damaging an old wooden chest with the winestain. He was escorted out by security, but it must have been a frightening moment. I also missed the evening when Martha Stewart stopped in, as well as Steve Martin. Well, there's always next year!
After leaving the Armory, I wandered into Central Park, which was surprisingly still and unpopulated--probably because was a Monday morning in January. The sun was warm and a lone guitar player was strumming and singing next to the frozen pond, so I sat for a minute and ate an apple, until the man stopped playing and started smoking a cigarette. The trees were full of birds, and beneath their cacaphony of song myriad snowdrops poked their pristine white petals and jagged leaves up through the frozen earth.
Gordon B. Hinckley 1910-2008
Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Through words and deeds of those who love.
What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christ-like friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days?
When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts--
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord above.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
But around 5:30 a change in mood occurred on the show floor as people slipped away to change into fancy clothes, and caterers began setting up huge tables of wineglasses. At 6:30 the young people began to arrive: uber-blond girls in short, tight dresses, with hapless young men in bowties trailing behind them. Everyone headed straight to the bar, and that is where most of them stayed throughout the evening. However, some ventured into the actual booths to look at the art, and I got the feeling that most of the exhibitors were enjoying the evening, despite the notorious lack of sales this event brings. At least they got to have free drinks.
My sister and I grabbed glasses of sparkling water, to fit in, and wended our way through the throng of Missoni dresses and Manolo Blahniks to alternately sample the food and look at the art. I showed E. all of my favorite things in the show, from a chinoiserie jewelry box with mother of pearl inlay to a tramp-art desk made completely of cigar boxes.
I also showed her around the Armory, which is always beautiful, but most dramatic in the evening, full of people dressed to the nines. In the Tiffany Room we looked at the items available in the silent auction, and tried to figure out who Badgley Mischka was, because we heard he/she/they were there. We mixed, we mingled, we browsed, and we schmoozed. We didn't meet any rich young bachelors, but that's okay--they all seemed to enjoy the booze a little too much for our taste. In fact, we knew it was time to go when we saw Mr. Keno himself completely sloshed--but to his credit, still captivating a group of girls.
The wife of one prominent American classical furniture dealer objected when I used the phrase "the young and the checkless" because she said if all we accomplish is to get young people into the same room with fine antiques where they can see that there is nothing stuffy or intimidating about them, then we've accomplished something. After all, the future of antiques lies within the young people who will one day be collectors, caretakers, and connoisseurs.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
No other celebrity sightings for me, though I heard that Ralph Lauren's brother was at the Antiques Show today. Also, something curious was going on near my house. Late last night and this morning the entire section of Convent Avenue was blocked off and there were policemen and police cars everywhere. EVERYWHERE. But there didn't seem to be anything dangerous going on--no weapons were drawn or anything like that. I asked one of the shivering cops what was going on and he just said, "I dunno. I was just told to stand here." Poor guy. It must have only been about 15 degrees--its been torturously cold the past 2 days.
So it will remain a mystery. My guesses are that a celebrity of some kind was in one of the churches on that block (there are really only churches on that block) or else it was a practice hostage crisis, or... maybe something so top secret that even the policemen themselves didn't know what it was. Like one of those movies where the villain is about to destroy the world and nobody even knows it except for the one hero and maybe a girl that helps him save the world. Well, I'm happy to report that the world is now safely out of danger, because the policemen have gone and the road is unblocked.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Working at the Winter Antiques Show has been very fun, sometimes frustrating, but really rewarding. I'm having a great time. So basically, through my school, I'm an intern at the Antiques Show for the duration of the event. It began last Monday and continues this week until next Monday. So every day, depending on what I have been assigned to help with, I arrive at the Park Avenue Seventh Regiment Armory, report to the show office, and get my orders for the day. I could be assigned to do anything from greeting guests for a VIP brunch, working with one of the dealers in their booth, handing out gift bags for Veranda Magazine, helping with vetting, guiding a tour of Bank of America employees, or any number of other things. It changes from day to day. That is the exciting thing, and the annoying thing.
Part of me wishes there were more structure, but the other part finds the fluidity stimulating. At the least, whatever I'm doing, I feel important, because I have a badge that gets me entrance to every aspect of the show, whatever the event.
The first thing I was able to help with at the show, last week, was vetting. Vetting is a process that ensures the objects at the show are genuine and of high quality. In order for the show to retain its reputation as the nation's finest antiques event, the objects must be the best, and that can only be determined by experts. Thus, vettors are enlisted from every imaginable niche of antiques specialty. Experts on everything from Swedish furniture to pre-Columbian South American artifacts, from medieval illuminated manuscripts to American Shaker art, are brought to the show and let loose for a day of mass vetting. The vettors are divided into groups such as "Jewelry," "American Arts and Crafts," and "English furniture" and they go from booth to booth taking a look at each dealer's goods. Anything they find mislabeled must be corrected before the show opens. Some things are rejected and must be removed from the show. Dealers file appeals, and the items must be deliberated over. Eventually it is all sorted out and the show opens. I found vetting to be the most frustrating part of the show so far, but only because of the system by which it was performed. The vetting forms were impossible to understand, and us ignorant interns were unprepared for all the questions and confusion we would be faced with. I can think of several ways to make the process a lot smoother for next year, so I hope they listen to my feedback about that!
Opening Night was amazing. Tickets normally cost about $1500 for this part of the event, so it was fun to mix with New York's rich antique collectors and celebrities-of-a-sort. In past years Martha Stewart and Oprah have attended the Opening Night party. This year I heard a rumor that George Clooney would be there, but though I circulated around the floor all night, I never saw anyone famous. However, Mayor Bloomberg was there. I didn't see him, but he shook the hand of my friend Kathryn! The food was phenomenal, and the antiques are just amazing. I can't decide what I like best at the show, but I do love the chair above, and all of the early folk portraiture.
I had to go to my real job yesterday, so it was the one day I wasn't at the Armory, but apparently I missed Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, who were there shopping. They were in the booth where my friend Kendra was working.
My other favorite thing about the show is that there is a room full of food for the exhibitors and staff. It is constantly stocked with bagels, donuts, soup, hot chocolate, and leftovers from all the VIP lunches and brunches. So I haven't needed to buy groceries this week--I just eat my breakfast and lunch at the show, and if there is an evening event, the catered appetizers make a delicious, if rich, dinner.
This post is really long, so I'll stop for now, but I have a lot more to say about the show. So stay tuned for posts on handsome antiques dealers, gossip from the dealers about the Sotheby's/Christie's tea tables, and other random occurences, like the guy I met today who worked for my former boss in North Carolina back in the 70's!
Friday, January 18, 2008
Never heard of Big Star? Your life is just about to get a lot better. Go listen to them now. Any song will do, but my favorite is "Thirteen."
Thursday, January 17, 2008
and these girls
have kids who learn to harmonize from these guys
The answer? These guys (and girl)
Old Springs Pike. A strange name, but a pretty cool band. And seriously--they sound just like the future children of the Avett Brothers and the Ditty Bops mixed with a dash of Simon and Garfunkel, on a vacation in the Caribbean, to be exact. In fact, when I was at their show last night, I kind of felt like I was in the future. It was wierd. My only critique: the girl needs to sing more. Her voice is exquisite.
Now, who wants to go with me tomorrow night and see
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
1. Become more spiritual. Yes, I go to church and all that stuff, but there is definitely room for improvement here. For example, I want to go to the temple this year. The other thing I can do is read my scriptures more often. Also, I want to prepare my Relief Society lessons more than a day or two in advance!
2. Date. It just might be good for me.
3. Finish projects. I'm going to start a quilt this month and finish it by December. And if possible, I'm going to finish a quilt I started about 3 years ago and set aside.
4. Be a real aunt. I feel like I hardly know my neices and nephew, and I want to change that.
5. Spend less money on myself and waste less. I've already started carrying a backpack to the grocery store, but I have to practically force the store employees not to give me plastic bags. I'm not going to buy bottles of water, or throw away things that can be recycled (anyway, recycling is a law in NYC) or made into something new, like cloth, string, paper (I can use the other side of printer paper for notes and stuff), etc.
6. Make art. I had to leave my printing press in North Carolina, and I know that school is my prime concern at this point in my life, but I don't want to totally abandon the act of creating art. I want to find time to draw and paint, so that my skills don't atrophy.
So... I think that's enough for now. Of course I could also add stuff like "try out a new recipe each week" and "write in my journal every day" but I make those goals every year, and never stick to them. The trick with my goal-setting and goal-keeping is to keep the goals general enough that they are possible, yet specific enough that I have some sense of accomplishment. So within each of the above goals, I'm going to try and set smaller goals. For example, with goal #2, I'm going to try to talk to at least three guys each Sunday at church, so that they know I exist and am a nice person. With goal #3, I will give myself deadlines for sections of the quilt, and I will set aside time to work on it instead of watching TV or surfing the Internet.
I'm really excited about these goals, and feel like they will really be good for me. At the end of the year, I'll blog about how well I did!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Yes, working Saturdays will be good for me: keep me busy and give me some extra money. But gone is my day of sleeping in and not changing out of my pajamas. When will I find time to crochet now, let alone start that quilt I'm planning to make? Tomorrow will be my 7th day in a row at work.
It's not so bad, though. I've kind of enjoyed working at the jewelry store. Now I just need to find my sister a different job. She's miserable, and it makes me feel terrible. She moved here along with me to have an adventure, to get out of town, and to be more independent. She thought it wouldn't be too hard to find a fun job in a place like New York City, and began applying at her top choices as soon as she arrived. A mentor in her same field met with her frequently to help hone her resume and portfolio. She worked tirelessly on drawings and illustrations to round out her portfolio, and it's really an awesome package. But New York is tough. No doubt hundreds of other animator/illustrators like her are searching for the same jobs.
Finally, in desperation, E. took the first job to be offered her, even though it has nothing to do with art. She figured it would pay the bills, and plans to keep searching. But meanwhile, from what she tells me, its as if she goes to work in a coalmine each day. The owners of the business are crazy and mean. Her co-workers don't speak English, so nobody talks to her. The building is in Brooklyn, away from anything else, so she can't go out on her lunch breaks. The one nice person she works with is quitting at the end of next week. Sometimes she has to grind metal. And the pay is really low. It's horrible! Every day she comes home drained, a lifeless expression in her eyes. Where is my beautiful exuberant, free-spirited sister? Every day I tell her to quit, but I understand how scary it is not to have money. What other option does she have? She's not a quitter, and doesn't want to give up on New York so soon. But it makes me sad to see her drudging her days away.
So, I'm going to Craigslist right now to search for a new job for her.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
So I've been working at a jewelry store, and it really worked out well for me to start working full-time right when my school break started, and be able to continue through the holidays up until when school starts again. My classes, such as they are, resume Monday. So I'm going to finish out working this week and then ask if they want me to work Saturdays during the school term. While I need the money, I'm not crazy about the idea of giving up my Saturdays again. We'll see how it works out.
Also, there are good things and bad things about this jewelry store, and I haven't decided yet if the good things are worth the bad ones! One bad thing is that some of the people who work there have worked there so long that they are set in their ways, cynical, and unfriendly to newcomers (some are unfriendly to everyone!). Also, the place is really really really unorganized. But the good thing is the money, and the experience, and some of the people are really nice.
After a particularly hectic day at work yesterday, me and another girl (who is also new there and really nice) de-stressed by shopping the sale at Express. Rather, she shopped and I helped her pick stuff out because I promise I'm not spending any money! Then we went to her house in Brooklyn and ate food and watched the New Hampshire Primary results on C-Span. Fun fun! It was nice to hang out with someone different, talk about work and other stuff, and just escape from my routine for once. Also, it's interesting to see what other people's homes look like around here. She lives in her brother's bachelor pad, which is in a gritty warehouse-looking building, but is actually a pretty cool place on the inside, with nice minimalist-modern furniture and original art. The guy owns a night-club, which must be a pretty hip place, if it's anything like his apartment.
Anyway, not much else is going on with me besides working and trying to get over this nasty cold! Hopefully it will go away soon. Sorry for the boring post. I promise I'll think of more interesting things to talk about next time.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
As I approached the location, I was happy to spot one of my friends outside, with two other guys. We said hello and I was introduced to the others. My friend loves to point out the fact that I'm Mormon when introducing me to new people, especially at bars (and this is my disclaimer: I don't generally hang out at bars as a rule, but if I want to have non-Mormon friends, they tend to hang out in such places, so I'll occasionally make an appearance.) I think he likes basking in the novelty of it, because you don't expect to find a Mormon girl hanging out with guys at a bar. And I don't mind his announcing it, because I'm not ashamed of my church, and if people can see that I'm a normal, good clean-living person and associate that with my faith, then that's a good thing.
But the reaction I got last night was hilarious. This is how it went down:
Friend: "This is Holly, who I was just telling you about. She's a sweet Mormon girl braving big Harlem."
Bar Guy: "You're a Mormon?! I'm sorry." (giving me an empathetic look)
Me: "What are you sorry about? I have nothing to be ashamed of. I'm a Mormon, and actually rather happy about it." (giving him a huge smile)
Bar Guy: "Really?" (He thought I was joking)
Me: "Dyed in the wool, true blue, through and through!" (Okay, so I didn't actually quote Joseph F. Smith, but that would have been awesome. But I did say something of similar effect and spirit, to let him know that yes, I was telling the truth.)
He seemed incredulous, but quickly recovered his "wit" and went on to ask if I wear the "secret underwear." Trying not to roll my eyes, I deflected his question with what I hope was finesse, and let him know that I'd be happy to answer any questions that he had about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Then the subject was changed and we all went inside.
Later, when I was leaving and saying my goodbyes, that particular guy apologized to me and said he hoped I wasn't offended by anything he said. Of course I wasn't, and told him so. In fact, I have always liked sharing the fact that I'm a Mormon with those around me. Even though worldwide membership in the church is rapidly growing, Mormons are still misunderstood by many people, and it surprises me to learn what misconceptions some people hold. I hope that I can be a good example of a Latter-Day Saint, and that as I live my life according to my beliefs, people around me will see the good things that come from my life and associate good things with my church. Because, as it is written, "every good tree bringeth forth good fruit... wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:16-20) And this is my Sunday message.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Friday, January 4, 2008
Tonight I met up with some out-of-towners (a friend and friends of friend) at the MoMA, which was really fun, but rather baffling. I guess I don't understand people that don't really get excited about art. Walking around at the Museum of Modern Art, you come across iconic paintings and sculptures that are fantastic artistic creations--many of them products of genius. Even if you don't know the process by which it was created, gazing at a Mondrian for example, you might still feel a thrill of wonder or awe or curiosity that makes you want to step closer and analyze it. Or you might become mesmerized by it, drawn in by some indescribable emotion. At least that's how I feel when I walk around an art museum. I feel surrounded by beauty and passion, power and subtlety, humor and pathos... Don't other people feel the same?
Apparently not. I found out tonight that there are people alive in America right now who had never heard of Jackson Pollock. Or rather, they had heard of him, but only in passing, and never had a desire to go see his work or read about him or even watch the movie "Pollock." Where do these people come from? What do they do for entertainment? Don't they feel a huge void in their lives where Art should be?
Thankful for art am I. Thankful and blessed, because without art I think life would be very bland. Very boring. Then again, I'm the type of person that sees art everywhere. As I parted ways with my friends (they got bored of looking at the art after only 30 minutes!) and walked through the New York streets, I saw beauty and magic in the tall illuminated skyscrapers, the shredded paper on the sidewalks, the faces of people passing by, the patches of cloudy sky up above, where stars tried in vain to shine. I kicked myself for not staying longer at the MoMA, even if it would have been alone, but comforted myself with the realizations I've just described.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
4 folded paper stars for my mom, to hang in her window and catch the sunlight.
2 crocheted hats, for my nieces. (I'll have to make one for my nephew tomorrow.)
1 drawing of Central Park for my dad's birthday present.
1 crocheted flower and leaf pin for a friend.
10 decoupaged notecards and envelopes.
Also, I cleaned my room, wrote 6 letters, and packaged two things I sold on etsy.com. In between I've eaten lots of candy, watched A Room With A View, and have never changed out of my pajamas. This is what I call a heavenly day! Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow...