Things are not always as the cropped image on Instagram would have you believe.
Sometimes -- most times – there is a reality that exists beyond the crop.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by upholstery. Perhaps, it's because my mother valued it; she really appreciated a well-done couch or armchair. I always looked forward to the delivery of one of her rehabbed chairs or couches. She’d tell me, as she pulled off the protective plastic, “This was Grandpa’s chaise. Mother hated it. She thought chaises were for showgirls and harlots. I love it, though – this pink lambskin was a good choice. It’s just stunning, don’t you think so, Bea?”
It wasn’t until years later that my love and respect for upholstery really kicked in, when I had my own home and Mom started to give me some of her pieces.
And I collected some of my own pieces, too --- finds like old chairs I saw on the street, or at flea markets --- resurrecting them, breathing new life into them, bringing out their beauty through upholstery. Two of my favorite chairs were bought for $100 at a Ralph Lauren Sample Sale.
Have you ever been to an upholsterer’s shop? If you haven’t, I can tell you this – it’s a shit show.
I started frequenting those workshops. I make friends easily enough, so no one really minded that I was there, and none of the dudes minded if an extra girl was hanging around. I wasn’t hassling anyone, and I just took it all in: The smooth, expensive cloth rolled out onto the cutting table; the mess from the previous cut swept to the floor; the cutting shears slicing through Brunschwigs finest; pulling those perfectly-pleated corners to perfection over the bump; the welt and the fringe stitched on by hand. In the end, delivering a majestic product --- gleaming perfection.
But to get that Gleaming perfection, there is a process.
And it starts with the Selvedge. If you are not careful and you don’t know what you are doing, it can unravel quickly.
So, the Selvedge is a great metaphor for the world that I find myself living in today. The Selvedge is the stuff we crop out. Beyond the perfectly-pleated, colorful fabric, beyond the “gleaming perfection,” is the crop, and it holds information. The crop holds the facts. It tells you what you need to know to get the job done. It looks simple, but when you get into it, when you start cutting, you start to doubt yourself. You can get lost.
I am not a purist.
I am not some bleeding heart for The Selvedge and the Glue. I love beauty and I am perfectly willing to crop out the unnecessary pieces to present a great picture, but what I am not willing to do is to disregard the Crop’s existence and its purpose in the process. I will always try to remember what it is that I am cropping out. It makes the beauty of the piece that much more sweet.
Did you know that the first prototype of the Hedgehouse THROWBED was made in an upholster's shop?