Saturday, January 1, 2011
Craftswomanship at the Mall
While Mr. C. was getting what he needed, the children and I snooped around the accessories department of Nordstrom. My two daughters liked the headbands; my son (age 5) was bored to tears until we went to the boys' athletic shoe section. I liked a pink/plum tartan Burberry rain hat that would not fit on my generous head.
Somehow I herded all three to see what was old and new in scarves: lots of plaid cashmere looking forlorn on sale tables, but high up on the counter, a welcome burst of citrus color greeted us.
For I had come upon a orange silk oblong scarf that was elevated into covetable territory by a smart placement of texture and color: three primitive bands of fuchsia wool that were worked into the silk.
The SA saw me return to the scarf a couple of times and gamely began a conversation. "There's wool in that silk scarf," she said.
"Yes," said I. "Felted wool."
"You're good!" she exclaimed with true shock. "The wool *is* felted!" (This was uttered as if she were just realizing it herself.)
"Well, textiles are my life," I responded, which must have been confusing, given my post-workout Cape Cod sweatshirt and three tired children.
But this encounter illustrates exactly why I do not enjoy shopping in department stores. I wish that we could buy directly from artisans or designers so that we could have meaningful conversations about the techniques, the fabrics, the cuts, rather than superficial ones where the client knows more about the product than the salesperson.
I bought the scarf (closeup of the texture above) because I really liked it but also because I wanted it to be owned by someone who was passionate about the craft that went into it.
How do Gentle Readers deal with this issue?