Not a great pic of me but see the dress... I must see if I have another pic of this dress.
I got many requests for this sewing pattern...
Anyway, so I fall in love with the J M P line and the next time I went to NY I had to stop in her, then Soho studio (then moved to Tribeca, which was a likely move because she is not what you'd call a 'commercial' artist and designer). Well, her studio was a dream for me. Within utilitarian rustic cement walls, she collects pieces of NY implements and artifacts ~ sort of a museum type retail experience, the store was accented with installation-inspired art. An amazing store, with hard cement counters and metal beams. The sewing machines were upstairs in a balcony overlooking the shop downstairs, and you could hear the low buzz of their work.
She had curtains outside of the shop and of course a beautiful metal shaped signature dress as her store sign. I was in heaven. She was not there unfortunately, but her staff were wonderful and wrapped my purchases in brown paper with a raw burlap string! Perfect.
A little history on J Morgan Puett ~ she received her Masters in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1985. From 1993-1997 she ran her business which she names as a multi-disciplinary project taking the form of a small business in New York's SoHo, and other collaborative ventures with artists and designers; from 1998-2001 she collaborated on a New York-based experimental, retail-clothing manufacturing project. Her art has recently been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and Wave Hill Glyndor Gallery, New York; she is currently working on a collaborative project with Mark Dion for the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. (from the J Morgan Puett site).
In 1997 she actually moved to establish an artists' colony in Pennsylvania. It continues to evolve today. It's called Mildred's Lane on almost 100 acres, and is a modern take on simpler times. Everything is truly a simple way of life but she styles everything in her signature baroque alchemy. Silver, glassware, vintage fabrics, gorgeous luggage. Her fridge shelves are covered in old table cloths (the cold preserves them!) The main house is built from local wood and is amazing with a sleeping porch, hinged pop-up windows and slated wood walls feel as though you're in a treehouse!
Surrounding the house are small outbuildings were artists and writers can stay plus an old barn housing the petrified clothing archive. Mildred Miller by the way was the former owner of the property and she lived in an old 1830s house that still remains, she lived there until her death in 1986. Puett named the colony after her.
Puett's life by her own words 'is art'. Being is my practice - eating, making, building.'
She's against throwing anything away and resuses everything from her wool jacket wearing it upside down, her dressing room tent from a store, now hanging over the bed as a canopy, she readapts old things into new. A nightgown becomes a table cloth, flour sacks slip-cover the dining room chairs. Obviously a collector, she and her best friend 'Peabody' collect things all year round and then give them to eachother at Christmas time. In fact I was in her first store and along the back wall were these beautifully simple wrapped brown packages with string, all with her name on them. I asked what they were, and the ladies informed me 'Oh those are Peabody's gifts to her from his trips around the world!' Hmmm....
Puett cleans with delight. It takes her a week to clean the house and she loves doing it because she rearranges everything... forever emerging, unfinished....
Some of her pics from Cottage Industry, see more at her site HERE