How about a dance from West VA

by Lynn-Jane Foreman, an actor on tour with the National Symphony Orchestra wearing Ivey Abitz.
Writing Two

The National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) is playing tonight in Glenville. Then, we are all up in the a.m. to travel to Charleston, about 2 hours away. Then, tomorrow night a concert in Roanoke, W.Va. Children’s concerts on Sunday and Monday. Thank goodness, not at 9:30 a.m.

One or two nights in each hotel does not really allow unpacking or relaxing or siteseeing or “having fun.” There are receptions for us, but now I understand why most of the musicians and staff come home and go directly to bed. I am exhausted, and I am not playing each night.

I remember when my husband and I first got married. I thought touring (as do many others) was glamourous, especially overseas. But the first time I went to Europe with the NSO, we did 37 cities in 41 days, two days off at the beginning of the tour, and two days off the entire time we were away. People were tense: reviews, food, taking care of instruments, sickness, etc. Although I was thrilled to be there, it was frustrating to not be able to enjoy all of it. And we thought those ballet tours were hard! When we go to just one country, it is not so hard.

“American Residencies”…it is estimated that 400,000 people have heard music through the NSO residencies, and there has been a residency each year since 1992.

If I was queen and this was my world, I would make sure that children got music, art, and health care and not wars and politics. Not just children, but all people.

The NSO offered to do a benefit concert for the miners, but people here have little money to spare, so they are playing a special piece at each concert in remembrance of the miners that recently died. Charleston (tomorrow) is about 10 miles from the mine that exploded.

The cultural committee of W.Va. is holding a supper for us tonight with an Appalachain buffet and with traditional mountain music. Did you know they award a music degree from U. of W.Va. with a major in bluegrass? AND how similar (of course, look who settled W.Va. – Scots Irish) to the jigs and tunes we have in our show. In fact, we changed a line in the show from “how about a dance from the USA” to “how about a dance from West V-A” The audience loved it – and I did too!

XXX from the freezing West Virginia mountains…..

LJF

NSO tour as a “guest artist”

Something so extraordinary about wearing custom made garments

by Deborah from Rhode Island

To Cynthia and everyone at Ivey Abitz –

I’m so in awe of the work you do – from Cynthia’s timeless designs to the black satin ribbon that is tied around that perfect white box. When the scarf that you so carefully made for me arrived on Saturday, I was not at all surprised at the glorious fabric or the perfect stitching and the lovely way that the scarf was folded inside its box. I’ve come to expect that everything I order from IA will be cause for excitement. I ran out to greet the postman as he was stepping out of his truck to deliver my package – he could tell that the box was for me. There was a tornado watch in my area that afternoon and I doubted that my scarf would arrive. So, I was all the more excited when it did! I felt like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus to arrive (and the postman probably thought I was a little kid). I truly savored every minute of opening that box, pulling back the tissue paper, and holding the scarf in my hands. The lovely color, the texture of the silk and linen fabric. I’m so pleased with it, as I am with all my Ivey Abitz. There is just something so extraordinary about wearing custom made garments. This scarf will look beautiful and feel soft worn around my neck, and will keep me warm and feeling lovely. Thank you so much for sharing your creativity, talents, and skills – I feel fortunate that I have experienced all of these. I’m already day dreaming about what could be in the next box I receive from Ivey Abitz.

Best to all,

Deborah

Ivey Abitz from the Inside Out

I’ve discovered that I’m coming to prefer just about everything on a smaller, more intimate scale. Our own food supply is one thing. A small community and personal service is another. Handmade, timeless clothing from limited runs of speechlessly beautiful fabric and with loving, well-placed details is yet another. Prior to every ivey abitz order I placed, there was an event coming up for which I’d purchased each piece. (That’s the official story, anyway. It was a convenient excuse to buy the pieces I loved.) Each time, comically, the event was either indefinitely postponed or cancelled entirely. Sometimes it was weather-related, sometimes not. 

In the meantime, they instantly became the most stunning members of my closet, eclipsing even my formerly most prized and flattering pieces. The day I wore my black sueded silk Bartholdi skirt into town (not exactly the ceremony for which it had been purchased, but she had a good sense of humour about it), my husband kept gushing about how much he liked it and how well it suited me, and even the postmaster raced out from behind the counter to stroke the silk (she’s a woman, it was OK) and admire the wild, elegant design that I like to call controlled chaos. More than any of the compliments, though, it felt so good to wear, and instantly elevated my mood and reminded me of the transformative power of a well-conceived, beautifully handcrafted article of clothing that was literally made just for me. I was reminded of my powerful desire to both create and be surrounded by beauty, and what it does for me from the inside out.

The Birth of Discernment

My own group of artists, writers, and geeks was neither emaciated nor extraordinarily wealthy, so we ate with gusto, kept our food down and shopped on Melrose or Main Street to score cool vintage clothes that we’d mix up with more modern pieces and then swap among ourselves for greater variety. Even then, though there were occasional longings to have access to limitless finances, we knew deep down that budgets were more liberating than limiting; and that our resourcefulness and creativity muscles were getting exercised in ways that really opened our eyes to possibilities and unique combinations. Our templates weren’t models, which was liberating in itself. 

There was never any mention of the actual quality of the clothing, though; for the most part it was about the “look.” No one seemed to care about or notice the materials used (other than the fact that we all hated polyester and acrylic), the stitching, or anything as exotic as dressmaker details or handwork. With few exceptions, none of us was ready to recognize, appreciate or embrace the hallmarks of excellence that would later come to mean a great deal. But when the shift does take place, it’s mind-bending and extends into every other corner of your life. At that moment, discernment is born and your childhood is over. 

Fast forward a couple of decades. Something happens as you grow up. Cycles and trends become easy to predict, because we’ve finally lived through a few rounds of them and can see it all as a circle and not necessarily a linear progression. Trends are finally seen for what they are:  gimmicks to promote impulsive spending, and not benevolent offerings from exalted, over-hyped designers to enhance one’s personal style or uniqueness. But there are exceptions. 

to be continued in the next entry…