You ever put down one of Terry Pratchett’s infamous books and sigh to yourself, “Gee, I sure wish I had my own Granny Ogg.”
Boy oh boy am I lucky then. ‘Cause I’ve been teased, harassed, loved on, and had a finger wagged at me for a decade now, from my own wonderful Granny Ogg. Featured artist for the month of May, Lorraine MacLovey is a local artist from Texas who knits, crochets, cans, paints, sews, and does a plethora of other amazing crafts that surely dazzle the eye.
Her inspiration comes from years and years of extensive experience. Of the many stories I recall, she stood at the skirts of her own second mother and learned how to cook delicious meals such as pork bone soup, Passover Chicken (where you literally just pass the chicken over the soup a few times and then put the bird away, soup sans chicken), poor man’s biscuits and gravy, and a variety of cookies. Her hands have punched through walls and crafted the most delicate yarn work I have ever see. She can curse like a sailor. No, I lied. She IS a sailor.
I met Lorraine through my best friend, Zeno, during middle school. The MacLovey-Owen family has been my second family ever since. It was through Zeno and Lorraine that I embraced multiple forms of art. Lorraine was the one, however, who opened up her sketch books and art crates, letting me nose around and absorb as much as I could. Even now, I am holding an old Christmas craft book that she lent me. I hope to learn how to make ornaments out of used mason jar lids, which Lorraine recommended to me.
Her home is a crafter’s paradise. The walls are lined with crates full of pencils, rulers, tackle boxes filled with markers, stacks and stack of sketch books, yarns balls piled pell-mell and just mountains of beautiful fabric. Taking a peek at her sewing area, I am never surprised to see her mannequin all dressed-up with a half-finished piece of work. Larger pieces are passed on to me in some cases, but her daughter Zeno is the model for the more elaborate pieces. Such as the Dress Impossible, made up of seven zippers, seven gores, grommets with ribbon laces, decorative sticking and bows. The dress took a year to complete, “‘Cus it kept irking the shit outa me,” according to Momma-san.
Between the two of us, we’ve had hours of conversation regarding self-sustainability and DIY projects. We even swap products, some four o’ clock seeds for yogurt, jam for pickles, etc. It was through Lorraine that I felt it was okay to grown your own food. It was okay to want to be independent of certain services around me. Entering this weird path of semi-sustainability, I felt crazy. Many a time I broke down in her living room, wondering how I was going to pay for all this food and not shirk health in the process.
Ah, but that’s what’s great about Momma-san (as we sweetly dubbed her in our school years), she’ll tell you you are crazy. But, as Alice says to the Mad Hatter, all the best people are. Momma-san will, however, give you the piss for even thinking negatively in the first place. Well, she had taken pains to drill into us that we’re OKAY and GOOD ENOUGH and well, as a needy child, that sends the heart a thumpin’ with hope. At twenty-three, my heart still races when she looks at me dead in the eye and says: Child, just go heckin’ do it.
As always, be kind and tender to each other.
All images credit: Lorraine MacLovey