A couple of years ago, the Budapest Times ran a lighthearted article on a phenomenon they called the “first thong of Spring”. Clearly Budapest springs are hotter than ours up here in the Lakes, but it was also a comment on clothing fashions and what people feel happy wearing.
Way back, I turned up as a fresher at university in my favourite legwear – a pair of hand-dyed purple trousers with knitted cuffs. I made all my clothes in those days and I was particularly proud of these. Within a short space of time, I decided legwear wasn’t for me and opted instead to wear skirts – with frilly white Victorian cotton leggings underneath. I have always been interested in clothes, textiles and fashion, but I think it’s fair to say that I’ve never really seen why the need to keep up with trends or wear anything elegant should apply to me.
As I have aged, this has just become more true. I’m happiest in old clothes, ones with worn elbows, holes, patches. They’re comfortable and they are also, if you are working with a hot flame and glass that occasionally spits, practical. The kids despair. They are young, cool and a great deal more fashionable and fashion-conscious than I could ever have been – and they carry it all off better than I could ever have done.
Being at heart a hippie and essentially a colour lover, I was happy this week to find a new source of socks – www.dubetdrino.fr. I ran this past the kids and they are universally horrified. “But they’re so colourful!” has been met with “NO”, which I’m afraid is an instant invitation to buy twice as many. You can’t escape your inner soul, and I’ve got to the age where there is no point in trying.
I have the same conundrum with glass. I often meet other glassworkers who love clear glass, at best with a hint of colour. Colour is distracting. It’s not pure. It’s not aesthetic, it’s not Art. Let the form, the texture speak out with clear glass… but I love colour and I can’t work without it. For me, in my hippie, colour patch socks, it’s what makes me happy – and if it makes me happy as an artisan, I reckon it shows in my work.