Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reunion Tour

I'll tell you what will turn Detroit's fortunes former Detroiters and reintroducing them to what makes this city such a hot bed of creativity that's what. We have squired around two former Detroiters recently who had forgotten just how amazing the architecture and art scene is here. The Lafayette Building is coming down and CCS alum Greg Simons visiting from Portland got the inside tour with me and the wrecking crew as we surveyed what might be salvaged from the remains of this 1920's building. The rooftop terracotta and graffitied windows should not be left to the landfill. We've got a week to find enough interested parties to purchase some or all of it or down it comes and the 150' drop is not gonna be kind. Greg use to work for Richard Gage Design Studio and he flew in to show his sculptural work with reclaimed plywood at the studio's inhouse gallery/practical art school Don't let the small venue in the Hazel Park warehouse fool you, he sold very well and was reminded just how loyal and supportive Detroiters are to their artists. Meanwhile, my high school pal Jennifer and her son Jagger flew in for a weekend from Miami to see her old stomping grounds and the fall color. She was ready to buy a house in the Boston-Edison district after I took her to an Estate Sale in one of the still beautiful and intact mansions down there. We stopped for provisions at the Eastern Market htt::// and yummy Supino's Pizza, took our boys to the Henry Ford Museum and marvelled at the minds and machines that made the city so great. Last but not least, we had to go to the old neighborhood, drive by the houses where we grew up and have cider and donuts at Yates Cider Mill It was the most perfect fall day ever and the grounds have been expanded since we were kids with a path along the river, all well-maintained. I hadn't been out there in years, and of course you never do these things if you don't have guests. So here's my challenge, invite a friend to visit you in Detroit, take them around to your favorite haunts, help them spend their tourist dollars here, say nice things about Detroit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

something's cooking

Sometimes things come easily to you and you might not even notice it. Take last night's impromptu dinner. I cook dinner for the 3 of us most nights, now I had two extra guests, old friends, so it was really no big deal. It gave me a reason to take it up a notch, but I didn't have a lot of time to make anything way out of my repertoire. I picked up a few groceries I needed anyway and then threw it all together with what was in the pantry and what was left growing by the driveway. Et voila, as Julia would say, just enough time to light the candles and set the table. Judging by the comments that were still coming this afternoon, it was more special than I thought. I've had a lot of cooking experience which helps, but my friend Jackie, co-owner Avalon International Breads, says so do a lot of people and it doesn't mean the food is good. Cooking just comes naturally to me, like breathing or talking. I might think it's good, but that's just my opinion. The other thing that comes easily to me is beautiful things. Partly from having done it so long, lots of people know where to find me and partly I know where to find it. The recession has put a serious restraint on my checkbook, but that doesn't keep me from bringing in new treasures for the store. This week my dealer pal Rick had a fantastic collection of tiles he'd had in his collection for 15 years, gathering dust in the basement. Rather than put them on ebay, he gave them to me to sell at the store. He had just sold a frame for me at a show and I am only too happy to return the favor. No money changes hands until it sells and we both benefit. Just when I needed it most, and boom, in comes something good that gives me reason to say, come on in and see what's new this week.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Getting by on scraps

Sure was slow in the shop this week. People were out, but they weren't buying. Nothing like a little anxiety disorder to motivate this week's create-new-inventory-out-of-what's-around. The 1930's diner stools have been hanging around the shop looking pretty shabby with the tired yellow vinyl seats. I'd had an epiphany of how to spruce them up with fabric samples I got from my very good friend and designer Charles Dunlap Now I had the time and motivation. Using a heavy duty stapler and 3/8" staples, I simply covered the seats in some gorgeous $125/yard fabric. Our designers often have good size scraps and samples left over from jobs and I have a good selection for a bargain thanks to them. We've stretched some of the more spectacular pieces and created wall art, used smaller pieces to make ugly dolls with kids and covered many a pillow. I've even been repairing my ripped up jeans. Vintage marimekko is my favorite, but this fancy stuff from Charles, now left over from covering the seats, is just right for the jeans I inherited from my sister Lia. She started this pair of jeans in the 1970's and I'm repairing her old repairs while I'm waiting for the tires to be aligned. Reminds me of that children's story Joseph and his Coat. The scraps are my salvation and constant source of inspiration