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Friday, January 7, 2011

How it Began....

I had just turned eight years old when I moved in with my Mmemme and Granddad in Oklahoma City. On our second day getting used to one another, out came the craft paper. Because if there is one thing that children seem to innately understand, it is the act of creating something out of construction paper and paste.

In Mmemme's studio, though, in addition to the usual paste and safety scissors, there was a mess of ribbon, seas of buttons, liquid porcelain, paint, brushes, needles & thread, bolts of fabric... the possibilities were endless. Mmemme could literally make something out of anything. A book of suiting samples became an entire dollhouse wardrobe. A roll of ribbon could become a bouquet. Cereal boxes cut & glued, painted and upholstered were jewelry boxes, or little dolls with hollow bellies to hide things. Her list of skills could fill volumes.

She was the fabulous magical granny that you read about in children's books and always hope you are lucky enough to have.

As I grew older and learned more about Mmemme's biography, she mystified and intrigued me. Born in 1925, she came into the world under the dark skies of the dust bowl, she survived Scarlet Fever epidemics, opened her own 'Beauty Shop' in pre-women's lib Oklahoma. She managed bars, drove fast cars, and dated curious red-cheeked men before marrying my very staid and steady Granddad.

The combination of all of these skills led to one overarching theme-- Mmemme was wildly creative and self-sufficient. 

And so, the Feminine Arts Brigade is dedicated to my Mmemme, Frances JoAnn King, who taught me to make something out of anything, to learn constantly, and to celebrate the ultimate feminine art; creation.