Recently, we received an email from artist Susan Dworski* from her farm on Lummi Island in the Pacific Northwest. The subject line was “when not Kondo-ing pays off” (referring to decluttering guru Maria Kondo):
On Dec. 18 a young mother of three on island had put a post on Next Door Neighbor, our community forum, asking if anyone had some small lengths of cotton fabric suitable for making doll clothes in time for Christmas. She had been planning to cut up some of their old clothes to make doll dresses but wanted them to be ‘from Santa’ and not recognizable by her daughter. I invited her to cull through my boxes of odd fabrics lugged here from LA and still unopened.This photo arrived Christmas afternoon.
Dontcha love that smile?
Many of those materials were stored away in the cupboards in my Venice studio, for years.
Susan stored the all sorts of materials away in her Venice, California studio, and then hauled them to Lummi because she is a wildly inventive, resourceful person (check out what she did when her house burned down) and she knew that she might need them. Those materials, waiting patiently in their plastic bins, became a catalyst for unexpected delight years later.
More than five years after her death, the house still feels inhabited by the woman who called it home. Dresses and coats hang in the closet. Magazines and diaries fill the bookshelves, which display the breadth of Bourgeois’s interests, including the “Joy of Cooking,” the Bhagavad Gita and J.D. Salinger’s “Nine Stories.”
A sense that at any moment Bourgeois might walk through the door is heightened by the atmosphere of bohemian dilapidation…
…A two-burner gas hotplate that fills in for a stove and an ancient television that stands next to a small metal folding chair further the impression of a home not ready to receive company. “I’m using the house,” she told a visitor, when she was in her mid-70s. “The house is not using me.”