Happy Easter, to those who celebrate!
Easter will forever remind me of my Gramma Clarke. Holy Thursday dinner in her Church basement. Hot cross buns on Good Friday. Church on Easter and the smell of incense and lilies. Dyeing and hunting eggs. Brunch after Church, all packed into her small art studio turned dining room or outside, if it happened to be warm that year in Denver. Cousins.
My grandmother passed away on April 5th, 2005, and her absence still makes my heart hurt. Every once in a while I dream of her house and don’t want to wake up. I bought my house three months later and now my lilac blooms every year right around April 5th.
Three years ago when I was working on Big Little Lies in Monterrey, CA, I walked into one of the beach condos we were using as a changing area for the actors and stopped on my tracks. It smelled just like Gramma’s basement. Visceral memories washed over me with that smell. Musky mildew, but in the best way. I stood in that condo for as long as I could, soaking it in.
I always loved drawing in her studio. Trained as an illustrator at Parsons School of Design in the early 1950’s, my gramma was a truly great artist; sketcher, watercolorist, muralist, and draftswoman. I would usually just doodle or maybe draw my fashion books. Or, I’d sit on her spinning stool and look at all of the family photos hanging on the wall. I now have the bookcases from that studio in my studio.
Yesterday I poured small packets of dye into containers of boiling water and added a little vinegar. I got out my Ukrainian wax tools and beeswax and began to decorate eggs. This tradition began after my gramma had passed, sometime in my 20’s, with my mom and sister. Until yesterday, I hadn’t done it in years. But, anytime I find myself drawing, making, or creating, I think of Gramma Clarke and always will.