Monday, July 30, 2012

Mirror Mirror

Since January, I have been slowly working my way through a series of crazy quilt journaling blocks as part of the Crazy Quilt Journal Project.

From the beginning, I had wanted the series to be about Reflections.  Knowing that my subject matter for each individual block was likely to vary widely, I made the decision to use mirrors and reflective materials in each block as a unifying element.

I set about gathering mirrors and mirror components that I might be able to use in my blocks...

In January Reflections, I used lots of silver and mirrored components including the mirror in the hole of the trunk of the tree...

And in my current shelling piece, the shell below is actually a vintage mirrored cabochon...

I have been enjoying adding these reflective elements and intended to frame the pieces with mirrors much in the same way as my Breakfast at Tiffany's piece.

Imagine my surprise on Sunday, when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal:

And once again I was amazed that I could be working with mirrors at the same time that the fashion, home decor, and art/design worlds are simultaneously using the element as well.

Let's just face it.   Nothing is new.

Mirrors are popping up everywhere from mirrored purses, mirror-heeled shoes, mirror furniture, and mirrored clothing.

This dress is from the Fall 2012 RTW collection by Thom Browne...

Brad Pitt wore mirrored aviator shades to the Cannes Film Festival and Chanel is selling its new line of lip color through a short video titled, Mirror Mirror...

As if all that isn't enough, the movie about Snow White starring Julia Roberts titled Mirror, Mirror was also released this year.  Go figure.

But it happens all the time, doesn't it?  The simultaneous generation of ideas...

I remember when Jim and I gave Jack his name.  We were certain that we were giving him a name that hadn't been popular since parents named their children for President Jack Kennedy.  It had been at least 30 years since the name was really popular...or so we thought.

When Jack hit first grade, there were 7(!) Jacks in his first-grade class...evidently, everyone else had the same idea.  

This phenomenon has been studied and written about fairly extensively regarding scientific discoveries, with hundreds and hundreds of inventions throughout history being discovered at approximately the same time by very different inventors in different parts of the world.  

It's referred to as the phenomenon of simultaneous discovery and it turns out that it's fairly common.  I found this great article by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker Magazine titled "In the Air"; which proposes that perhaps scientific discoveries are inevitable...that inventions are not necessarily the result of a single, solitary genius but, in fact, that they are in the air, products of an intellectual climate at a particular time and place.  Calculus, the telephone, evolution, decimal fractions and oxygen were all discoveries that had multiple discoverers, having their Eureka! moments at roughly the same period in time.

So here I am working away in Baltimore, MD, using mirrors just like everybody else.  

In needlework, mirror or shisha embroidery originated in India in the 17th century and its use spread through most of South Asia, including Iran, Afghanistan, India, China, Pakistan, and Indonesia.  

I particularly enjoyed this "vintage" video produced in 1971 by the late Erica Wilson, where she shares  examples of mirror work and demonstrates one way of attaching mirrors to fabric.  She also shares a few "modern" projects...which are all pretty mod and groovy...for 1971...

There are lots of online video tutorials on different methods of attaching mirrors to fabric that can be yours for the searching so I won't repeat them here.  

I will, however, point you to the work being sold in the Dinesh kumar Rathi Etsy shop, where vintage Banjari textiles are being honored and re-purposed into wonderful pieces of textile art.

It's Monday and we just returned from a long weekend away so I'm back to crabbing...

See you next time!


Marsha said...

Very interesting. We named our second son Adam and there were 3 in his preschool class of 12. It made me wonder. Good luck crabbing!

Suztats said...

An interesting post, Susan! I must have missed the mark with naming: son, Chad and daughter Candace seldom, if ever, had a classmate with the same name.

Rachel said...

Mirrored lipstick, too!

My parents thought they'd found an unusual name for me, and there were three in the baby clinic and then I was never in a class - school or university, or even dance - that didn't have at least one other Rachel in it!

Cassandra and Alex said...

The way you used that mirrored shell is STUNNING!!

Judy S. said...

Interesting. Somehow I missed that your theme was Reflections and you've done a clever job in both blocks with the mirrors. I'm waiting for you to delve into shisha stitches! And enjoying your crab encounters. I love the way you've been making nature a part of your stitching.

wendy said...

Love how you used the mirrors in your work. Your crab pictures are great!! have a fun week!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

You talk about some interesting concepts about discovery. There must be something to it. You often hear about experimental this or that being tested in different ways by several different labs.

Don't you wonder what is going on behind the scenes in the design world...possibly spies to pass the word about what the next big thing is and everyone joins the bandwagon. Aren't we often obsessed to try what we saw someone else doing?

Very interesting post Susan, with great pics too...the lipstick is just too over the top though, even for me!
Bling, Bling

Anonymous said...

Awesome post. "Everything old is new again", as the song goes :)

Simultaneous discoveries (artistic, scientific, etc.) are strong indicators of Jung's 'collective unconscious', IMO.

Laurel's Quill said...

Ecclesiastes 1:9

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

funny how that works! great post! Have a good week! Laurel

Jillayne said...

Love this post - you said it so well. There are so many similarities and commonalities in who we are and what we do and what we do it with, that it would be silly to think there isn't someone, somewhere else doing something much like what we are working on at any given time.
I love this post and your stitching is exceptional. I love what you are creating!

MulticoloredPieces said...

Great post and lovely stitching. And I really liked your Fall Fashion 2012 post--stunning work being done.
best from Tunisia,

vicki said...

Susan- I've always felt that life and all it's components go round in circles-- you are right-- what was old becomes new again----

These pieces are totally amazing!!
I get SO excited when I get to see your creations!!!

Catherine said...

Very interesting post! You always have a treat for the eyes and some thoughts for the brain!

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