Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Private World of Tasha Tudor

Tomorrow morning I head south, back to the ranch. That’s where my family and studio have been without me (and I them!) since Wednesday. I’ve enjoyed spending time with Daddy while Momma has had a mini-vacation in Denver. It’s given me time to take pause, to dream, plan, and explore.

This afternoon, I’ve browsed through another book I re-discovered on Momma’s bookshelf. I had given it to her for Christmas in 1992. It was “hot off the press” back then and its beautiful photographs and illustrations inside had caught my eye. Mother is an exceptional artist and it was my hope the artwork, florals, and natural landscapes within this book would be of inspiration.

Before purchasing The Private World of Tasha Tudor, I had never before heard of the lovely woman. I was so thrilled to have discovered, and shared with Mother, such a delightful person!

Photographer Richard Brown amazingly captured Ms Tudor’s image in doing the things she loved like spinning, weaving, gardening, painting, serving a cup of tea, braiding onion tops, carrying wood, hauling water with a shoulder yoke, and tending to her doll house and the dolls she created. More than her image, the pictures reflect her essence in living a chosen simple life.

Dotted throughout the book are pictures of Tasha Tudor doing all the things she loves while wearing aprons. The charming designs and printed fabrics have inspired me to create a “Tasha” line once I get back to the studio!

I love the no-nonsense way she writes her thoughts, which is the style of writing found within the pages. The book is divided into the seasons with each having its own sage for the reader of all ages. Many things she wrote made me laugh, others made me yearn for the appreciation of a garden and animals and flowers like she grew and nurtured throughout the year.

I don’t remember which “season” it is, but under the picture of her sitting on a ladder harvesting pears, she writes, “He who plants pears, plants for his heirs.” What a lovely thought. Leaving something for those that come after is a wonderful tribute to the life we’ve lived.

She begins the book with Spring, setting the stage: “I always wanted to live in Vermont, and because I always get my own way, this is where I settled.” Something she wrote within this section resonated with me: “What you want is entirely a state of mind. I think happiness is a state of mind.” How true is this!

In Summer she explained how she enjoys being alone. I laughed out loud when I read: “You have to pretend an awful lot, thank people for something you don’t like, say you’re glad to see someone when really wish they were in Australia. When I’m alone I can be completely myself.”

Another tidbit, a rhetorical question, she gave us, the reader: “Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women?” I am very fortunate to be a woman!

In Autumn, she shared a delightful tale how to rid a rat! “… if you put the trap out three nights in a row with luscious bait on it – cheese with bacon fat and raisins – but unset, he become careless like any other creature. Then you set it on the fourth night and you’ve got him!” I will certainly try this plan of attack on the next occasion of need!

And I love this one “Candles are flattering to an old face.” Indeed!

Near the end of Autumn she explains: “I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”

She opens Winter with: “I don’t shovel snow. It’s a waste of time. I just walk through it and make a path.” The woman lived in Vermont, so she knew what she was talking about concerning snow!

We don’t get much snow at the ranch and it’s amazing when it happens. Like her, I watch for tracks. What I’ve seen, I never could put into words and she describes beautifully: “I found some of the most minute mouse tracks this morning, like little necklaces in the snow…the birds made the most beautiful tracks; they looked like lace.”

The book ends with what I hope to someday muster in my own heart:

I’m perfectly content…. I think I’ve done a good job of life, but I have no message to give anyone. If I do have a philosophy, it is one best expressed by Henry David Thoreau: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” That is my credo. It is absolutely true. It is my whole life summed up.

There is so much more I could share!

I encourage everyone to get a copy of this book 
…prepare a cup of tea
            …sit back in a comfortable chair,
and take a read through,
…savor the quiet time you’ll find.

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