|10/8/15 ink, colored pencils|
Those of us who are old enough remember the ‘60s from a variety of perspectives: Kennedy and his assassination, the Vietnam war, Woodstock. A large part of my visual memory is made of the colors and textures of the fashions then, and an exhibit at the Bellevue Arts Museum highlights that visual blast from the past: Counter-Couture – Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture.
More than a nostalgia tour, the exhibit is about how fashions of the era reflected a rejection of conformity and consumerism and instead celebrated self-expression. Many of the garments in the show are what might be described as “hippie clothes” – lots of fringe and bellbottoms and flowers and, well, you know. Some famous outfits were also there, like those worn by Jim Hendrix and Wavy Gravy.
As a knitter and crocheter myself, I was particularly taken with the overly colorful crocheted garments. I wanted to sketch a number of them, but I settled on this one: A piece called Pioneer, which was commissioned by the wife of the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir. Actually a bedspread, it is described in the placard this way: “A cosmic explosion of colors and forms – vaguely suggestive of stars, planets and satellites – is depicted in a fluid rhythm of circular shapes, a metaphor for the infinite, endless cycle of the universe.” What a riot of color!
Of course, I was in a museum, so that meant I couldn’t use watercolors. All I can say is, I sure am glad I had my rainbow pencil! J See the exhibit if you can – it’s worth the drive across the lake.