I recently spoke to a fashion boutique owner about our new Paint Bag; she said she had 3 'splatter' collections in her shop - they are so IN right now! I thought to myself that sounds awful, I mean the word 'splatter'. We don't splatter, we paint. Well, at least the technique is to render a painterly affect. Blocks of beeswax crayon, traditionally used for encaustic painting are grated and sprinkled onto each bag canvas, followed by the overall wax treatment and heat press. Volia, the Paint Bag. But it's not about being in or out of fashion, the reason is partly a tribute to my Mother.
The inspiration, too, probably comes from my Mom, Dorothy McKeough (also known fondly as Dot, and on occasion Hurricane Dot). Pictured here in party mode circa 1950. I was born in 52, the last of 5 kids. The story around the photo, my Dad recalls goes like this: a high profile business man from Detroit brought his yacht up the Thames River to Chatham and parked it bow first at Tecumseh Park. Can't remember what the party occasion was - did they need one - and my Mom's love of big band music,cocktails and dancing found her on the bow of this boat having a ball. Someone took a great photo. Yes, but my Dad said what followed 2 secs after the camera flashed was equally spectacular. Taking two steps backward, Dot disappeared and went down the hatch. My Dad joked he was certain the marriage was over. But a hand, then a head appeared still smiling. Whatever my Mom landed on, it was thankfully soft. And the music played on for another 65 years : dining and dancing , knitting and needlepoint, painting and parenting - of the free range school.
Her words of wisdom to me that hopefully have stuck: "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear". And one I suppose would not try the converse. My schtick and artistic challenge is how to make a better paper bag with the use of wax cotton material. Material choice and integrity of material are very important design qualities. If it's a sweater then the weight and content of the wool, the size of needle…. But equally important she taught me was that if one did not have the perfect 'silk' material, then one did the best one could with the materials at hand, ergo, resourcefulness and waste not/want not. This was long before sustainability became famous. So we try to put into use everything possible in the making of the BBB. For example, when we pink the top edge of the bag, it becomes the packaging tie, thanks to Dot. Similarily, growing up, in the kitchen there were never leftovers. My mother was famous for her soups - mystery soups! Also her sweaters which she knitted many, a favourite of mine being the one she created from the ends of yarns, shown above. My paint sweater!
So falling down the hatch - before I was born , and as I recall witnessing a few repeat performances after I was born - did not appear to diminish my mother's joie de vivre. Her last 10 years were in a slow decline with dementia. We were lucky for the most part, she never lost her love and delight in living. Music and icecream were essential towards the end. My Mom was born 02/22/22 and died at home with family on May 22,2015. On this past Feb 22nd, my sister Bonny ( caregiver #1 during these last 10 years ) and I celebrated Dot's birthday with a full moon. We could hear ole Frankie singing Fly Me To The Moon. And in fact, the planet Jupiter joined in too, following the moon across the night sky. She will forever be playing and dancing amongst those stars for us. Hopefully, Dot will not take 2 steps backwards and fall down a black hole…… but I doubt it would dampen her spirit or style one iota!