Marina wearing “Come don’t count the hours/ Ελα μη μετρας την ωρα” huipil
When I first arrived in Italy, it was not uncommon to see older women crocheting to make “centrini” (Italian doilies) or trim for tablecloths. In the villages women would sit in groups outside their doorways and talk as they crocheted together. Somewhat like a sewing bee.
Doilies were not just decorative. They were also used to protect furniture. Large rectangular shapes were used to safeguard the arms and neck rests of armchairs and sofas whereas the “centrini” were used to protect table tops.
It was once tradition for a young woman to prepare her trousseau and, with the help of her, would make linens adorned with embroidery and crocheted trim.
Then tastes and habits changed. Technology took over and homemade crafts were no longer appreciated so many of these crocheted objects were donated to charities. At the outdoor market near my studio in Rome, you can often find secondhand counters selling used linens and homemade crocheted objects. I try to buy them as often as possible to use them to make huipiles.
The Muy Marcottage huipil “Ελα μη μετρας την ωρα” (which roughly translates as “come don’t count the hours”) is made from second hand doilies and a very lovely vintage pillowcase.
Marina van Koesveld is wearing “Why Not Grow Something?”
The top is made like a huipil and the skirt is made, in part, from a pair of wacked off pants. The hand painting on the cloth mimics the print on the pants.
Food resources are becoming more and more of a problem. It would help a lot if everyone tried to grow at least 10% of their food.
Marina van Koesveld is a magical thinker. With her thoughts she’s able to create new realities. When Marina was younger, she’d dress as Frida (long before the craze) maybe because the two had much in common. Both are painters. And both are sensual with long dark hair and eyes that can perforate you like laser beams.
So last summer I asked Marina if she’d model some of my huipiles in a Frida-like way and, always eager to play, she contented me.
Here she is wearing the huipil dress One Drop Makes Many Ripples. The dress is made from a second hand cloth that, maybe, was used as a towel.
“Flowing” in and out of the dress is a strand of pieced cloth. The fabric design reminded me of drops of water so I embroidered the phrase One Drop Makes Many Ripples around the collar.
The motion of everyday life creates ripples—one action produces other actions. Thus ripples connect us one to the other. That’s why it’s important to be aware that our actions—be they physical or psychological—affect the lives of those around us.
Ripples are everywhere.