The following is an email that I sent to my parents reminiscing about my first ever paid gig, being an extra in the 1989 production of Mefistofeles at the San Francisco Opera House. I was fascinated by the costumes. As a kid this experience and the last page of Red Rackham's Treasure (Tin Tin) was what inspired me to want to sew historically inspired garments. If you watch the clip, I'm the kid chasing the float wearing the harlequin dress and sheep's head. I was in the fourth grade which is why you may find it surprising that this clip is 100% NSFW.
Hi Mom & Dad,
I was nosing around the San Francisco Opera House website to see if they had any opportunities available. In my cover letter I wanted to tell them about my involvement as a supernumerary...But I couldn't remember what year it was that I was involved.
So I Googled it and was surprised to find a YouTube clip of the scene I was in. I was even more surprised that I had to sign into YouTube to watch it because of adult content....and I was thinking 'what adult content'? Then I watched it and reflected on how graphic that was for an opera....
As an adult, seeing the clip again, it brought back a lot of fun memories. I loved wearing the costume and running around the catacomb basement of the theatre with the other misfit opera kids. I tried to project myself into your place (at that time) and I think that the combination of a distinct disinterest in the fourth grade, long commute into the city and gratuitous nudity would make me question if it was right for my kid to be involved. So, 22 years later I've got to thank you for letting me be a part of it, I got lucky to have parents like you.
There are a whole lot of babies happening right now. I'm trying to convince myself that it's just that time of year but realistically it's probably got more to do with the fact that I've hit that age when my friends are starting to have families of their own. Usually if I've got the time to make something as a baby gift I like to make one of my many vintage toy patterns. Admittedly as of late I haven't had much time to sew (this is going to change) and there has been a whole lot of store bought gifts going on. I recently got a special request for a handmade quilt. At first I had a bit of a grump on about making a quilt, but in the end I loved the whole process and I can't wait to make more. Here's how it turned out:
When my nephew Ezra was a baby I was really surprised by how obsessed he was by fabric tags. If he had a plush animal that had a dangling fabric label, it was the label that held his attention and not the toy itself. I wanted to somehow incorporate a third dimension to the quilt without it being a 'taggie' blanket, I'm not a fan of the taggie. From the top photo you may not realise, but the outer triangles of fabric are essentially bunting flags that baby can play with to his heart's delight. Here's a detail:
I'd like to make more of these quilts and sell them in my (currently empty) Etsy shop. I've got some ideas involving fabric nursery packs, whereby you can basically create a unique look for baby's room using fabric accessories.
Along with creating more quilts, I've got to learn how to photograph quilts. I'm not happy with the way the top photo turned out in relation to how the quilt actually looks. If anyone has any quilt photography tips, I'd be grateful for the advice.