There was something in the air on March 8th that made everyone step out in Ballard! We had a shop full of friends and admirers of our featured artist and jewelry designer, Drie Chapek and Jules Cechony! Not that we should be too surprised since their work was initially recommended to us by mutual friends.
We just got back from market this past weekend and had a blast hanging out with designers we already have relationships with and meeting new designers who's work we admire. Luckily, we had a little extra time for some late-night dancing and hanging out with old friends as well.
The experience of heading to New York for trade shows and designer meetings these past two buying seasons has been so incredibly inspiring and important to our mission at Velouria. We get to talk to customers everyday in the shop, but our designers show up in our lives more often through typed words in emails in our inboxes. And while that is fast, effective, efficient, etc, it lacks the personality of real human contact. For us to be able to talk to you about goods that have a story, it means we lose a part of the story. I read once that an astonishing amount of what we communicate as humans is nonverbal--that our tone, body language, facial expressions, inflections are all pulling their weight as well--perhaps they're doing even more work than the words themselves. Emoticons can certainly try to make up for this distance, but we think there is no substitute for being present.
When I was looking for a poem to share this week, this idea of presence was foremost in my mind. I turned to a poetry collection that I read in college by Claudia Rankin entitled, "Don't Let Me Be Lonely." (Incidentally, I can't seem to travel to another major city without running into someone I know. This time it was a woman from a poetry class in college who walked into the falafel restaurant where I was eating in Soho the monday after the tradeshows. So this poem is even more appropriate, I suppose.) We have such an appreciation for our brick-and-mortar-ness, for being able to be "here" and for handing you a story, or a dress, or a smile. And when we can't be here, or you can't be here, then we have these other modes as well, which we are incredibly thankful for. Let's just not depend on them to sustain us ;) <---see what we mean?
I've been reading a lot of poetry lately after a friend reminded me of a few poems I had forgotten about. I find that I have to be in just the right mood to feel uplifted by some of my favorite poets rather than devastated by them. It is often such a piercing, condensed truth that emerges from poetry and that has the effect of a hard-to-swallow pill or a dentist appointment we keep putting off scheduling for fear of what our mysterious tooth pain will actually cost us. It is probably not a mistake that both my metaphors are corporeal: poetry begs to be embodied, to be spoken, to be felt viscerally. And Louise Glück, one of my favorite poets plays perpetually with this tension between the body and the soul, earth and what comes after/before. I thought I'd start sharing some of my favorite poems on our blog, beginning with one by Glück that is particularly applicable to clothes--as a metaphor, of course! And it is perfect for this time of year in which we all feel like cleaning out the old to make room for new, more functional "clothing," whether it be actual closet edits, relationship overhauls, or personal inventories. To the new life that is no longer served by old trappings. And to the more brightly-hued textiles of Spring.
HERE ARE MY BLACK CLOTHES
I think now it is better to love no one
than to love you. Here are my black clothes,
the tired nightgowns and robes fraying
in many places. Why should they hang useless
as though I were going naked? You liked me well enough
in black; I make you a gift of these objects.
You will want to touch them with your mouth, run
your fingers through the thin
tender underthings and I
will not need them in my new life.
--Louise Glück from The House on Marshland, 1975