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Revised Notes on Design, Chinese Drywall & Photos of an Embroidered & Appliqued Textile

December 29th, 2009

Daniel Pontius

Midwest USA Circa 1920. Textile of various fabrics; cottons & wools embroidered and appliqued depicting a pastoral setting. 45 x 25. Exceptional condition. $7500 @ Just Folk, Summerland, CA.

In Rome I stayed with a group of friends in an apartment in the oldest part of the city. The terrace off my bedroom had a view of the Roman Forum. The setting that Plutarch reported Caesar saying, “Casca, you villain, what are you doing?”

In Rome on Gay Street (everyone has a gay street these days) near the Colosseum we met a nice Roman who had for a year worked in Orlando. His job was being, The Italian. We compared notes. I told him that once when I worked for Disney somebody at a design meeting said, “Why go to Europe when it’s easier to go to Florida?” We laughed and he reported that a well meaning Mid-Western lady once asked him, “do you have March in Italy?” We laughed and I thought, “I’m so embarrassed for the US right now.”

In Los Angeles we all seem to want to live in Disneyland. This, I thought, while at The Grove last Saturday evening slightly horrified by the synchronized timing of the fountains to a sentimental song. Memories of Las Vegas.

My Rome trip reinforced an idea of a need for a movement of localized design. (The sparse “indigenous style” architecture of L.A. not always having it’s there there). Mnemonics have always been of interest to Angelenos. Abbot Kinney wanted Venice in California, but most people do not relate it to the original because later it develops into something else.

As Americans we are more interested in an outward viewing. We use, “I got it at IKEA!” as a superlative. We buy things Made in China to fill up our spaces and give us the illusion of having wealth. We want things to look good because at this point almost no one is going to look at the mark on the bottom of the plate. Made in China fills a demand and then we blame–Google Chinese Drywall. Made in China is not the problem. We are the problem. If we wanted different things; different things would be made.

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