Friday, April 24, 2009

Story Behind the Pictures: Vintage Thread Series

My grandmother passed away this week. Rather than giving in to my selfish sorrow and lamenting that she is no longer with me, I've decided to remember her as she would wish: to remember the mischievous glint that often flickered in her eyes; to remember the acerbic humor that lay just beneath the veneer of proper lady-like behavior; to remember her limitless patience with me when she taught me how to use a needle and thread.

When I first moved to Philadelphia nine years ago, I really wanted to learn how to sew. I'm not exactly a crafty person, but my grandmother was such a gifted seamstress that I felt certain some of her talent must be latent in my genes. She was too diplomatic to ever tell me otherwise, but the gales of laughter she tried to suppress when I managed to stitch my own thumb to the fabric was definitely an indication. In my defence, she was teaching me on my great-grandmother's vintage Singer sewing machine (the very first electric model, just a step beyond the ones powered by foot pedal). It was temperamental and I was not very talented, but I loved the time we spent together at her kitchen table, laughing at the (not very impressive) fruits of my labor. Most of all, I loved the wooden spools of thread in her sewing basket: a rainbow of worn wood and colorful cotton that, when I look at them, remind me of all the dresses she made for me, for my mother, and for herself when she was just a girl. When I think of it, families are bit like my grandmother's sewing basket: a jumble of different colors, shapes, and sizes, all linked together by one common


Allie said...

a lovely tribute, Michelle. Hugs to you, allie

Julie Magers Soulen said...

Oh, Michelle, what a beautiful tribute to your Grandmother. She would blush with pride I'm sure. Hugs.

Laura said...

beautiful photos, michelle, i'm sure her soul is resting in peace and with a smile. love laura

Natasha said...

Michelle, I am so very sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing. It is so clear in all of your works that she was a warm, funny, spunky, fabulous bright light in the world. I love the fact that she is truly alive in you, in your work, in your words, in your heart. This is a stunning tribute...I feel as though I was right there with you laughing, spinning at the kitchen table..thank you for that...thank you for sharing her here I long to hear more...sending much love and as many hugs as you want :)

KimberlyRose said...

a beautiful moving tribute! hugs and love, kim

A Painting a Day by Kristen Stein said...

A wonderful tribute Michelle. Although I never met your grandmother, I have met others in your family and can only imagine what an exceptional woman she was. This was a wonderful way to honor her memory. She'd be so proud! -kristen

UrbanJunkies/zuppaartista said...

oh michelle, i am so sorry to hear about your grandmother. this is a beautiful tribute to her and your memories together.
thinking of you guys,
*big hugs*

Jenjen © GottaLoveMom said...

Sorry to hear about your grandma.
She sure is happy to hear your thoughts - and the colorful life you've known her to have lived!
Big (((((hugs))))

robin said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother. My condolences to you and your family.

regina aka RED said...

I enjoyed reading about the lemons and toes ... I decided to come back and read some of the older posts. So sorry for the loss of your Grandma. These photos and the story tugged at my heart. My Grandma was a big one for making my sister and I matching outfits and trying to teach us to sew...I was about 10. Needless to say it did not go well. When she passed and then my mom passed 2 years later, I ended up with Grandma's sewing basket and my mom's button tin. I found a lot of memories in those containers.
Some wooden spools, rick-rack and a darning egg.
So thanks again for your wonderful stories and pictures.
regina aka red

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