Last summer while cleaning out my aged father’s home I happened across my mother’s manual for life…Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette published in 1954. I grabbed a spot on the sofa and began to leaf through this treasure of civility. Not too far into this tome and I was laughing till the tears came. Much like watching old 50’s re-runs on TV this book is a living testament of those very proper rules so important mid-20th century that today are often comical, ridiculous and/or surreal.
It was then the idea began to ferment about doing a narrative series on the etiquette of my youth. This spring I created a few screens and began to screen-print vintage linens with these stories. The first piece Keeping Up Appearances #1 is now up on my website. I incorporated dye-painted & screen-printed dinner napkins, dishtowels and hand-woven samplers in this piece that speaks to women chain smoking in the office and discreetly eating candy at one’s desk. Within the text collage is also wisdom about how to properly show interest in a prospective mate. We would never want to be improper!
I have just finished designing the second piece of this series with more in the works.