Mary, in purple


I never asked her name, and after I’d talked with her awhile I didn’t really want to know it. In my mind she’d become Mary, and finding out that her name was really Beth or Linda or Agatha would have just screwed things up.

“That’s a lovely coat,” I’d said admiringly, as we both waited for coffee, “Do you mind if I take your picture?”

The farmers marketfolk swirled around us, doing their best to look glassland-wierd. A half-shaved girl in a clown costume gallumped past, and three girls in crayon-colored Hello Kitty! slickers danced around us in the rain, singing about bicycles.

The weatherman had said “slight chance of rain” and I’d left my raingear at home, taking him at his word. Now I was getting soaked, and hoped the latte would ward off the chill. Mary looked nice and cozy in her purple rainhat and coat, and I envied her.

Even more so when she smiled at my request. “I don’t mind posing at all,” she said proudly, “I made this outfit myself.”

“Wow. You made your hat and coat, and the matching bag?” I said, pointing to the bag on her arm, already full of market produce.

“No, that’s not the same fabric, they don’t match at all,” she said reprovingly, “But the coat and hat, they do. I made them from an old Vogue pattern I got at a garage sale, an Issey Miyaki. Probably from the 80s.”

She turned to let me see the detail pleating on the back, the way the ties gathered into a longish kind of sash, almost an obi. She’d set her hat at a rakish angle, pinned up on one side to reveal a wild tangle of orange curls.

Purple and orange are my favorite colors, and hers were rich and saturated. I snapped away happily as she preened. Mary, I thought, is my next sculpture.

We chatted for a bit about sewing–“no one really sews anymore,” she said sadly–and the weather, and the market, really just passing the time while we waited for our coffees.

“I like your jacket, too,” she nodded, “But it’s getting wet. You shouldn’t let linen get wet.” And with that she picked up her coffee and headed for the stalls.

5 thoughts on “Mary, in purple”

  1. Cynthia, I am sitting here, cat on lap, enjoying a cup of coffee, and reading about your personal observations and interactions with those around you. What a nice way to start my day! I hope you have a good one.

  2. Lovely lady! I agree that people do not seem to have time to sew anymore. —- or are afraid to try…. It really is not that hard. And just like many other things, the more you try the better you get.

    BTW, I wonder about working with glass. Does one have a lifetime limit to good-new-interesting-worthwhile projects to do with glass or are there only “valleys” (slow periods) when nothing seems to go right or be worthwhile making in glass?

  3. “Mary” suits her quite well. And, indeed, she makes quite the future subject. Photoshop Q…what filter did you use to create the distortion? Do you have a favorite filter for your sculpture subjects?

  4. Well, for sculpture reference I’ll build and print multiple images to make sure I’ve got the planes and contours correct. Usually I start with 3-4 shots of the subject, and do each one in the original color, very finely tuned, then I’ll filter to supersaturated color, B&W, high-contrast B&W, and various blends.

    That’s a bit different than this image; this one is just for fun. I just like to start in Lightroom and mess with the colors, then move over to Photoshop and play around with filters and see what I get. I started doing that for some of the photocollages I use to illustrate blogposts, and I just liked the effect. I do some stroking on the graphics tablet, highlight or shadow, etc. I think this image has about six layers of varying opacities, with multiple blends.

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