At last evening’s opening reception for Whiteout, I decided to wear the coat that inspired the drawing. This photograph was taken by one of the Gallery 5 staff members.
The photo caught me with my eyes closed, conveying a dreamy sense. It looks as though the coat is transporting me to a time and place long ago. Despite my husband’s comment that the coat made me look “like someone’s grandmother,” I loved wearing it. The Good Coat bears a Ladies Garment Workers Union label sewn into its satin lining. Fine wool, a real fur collar, and lovely detailing inside and out distinguish this garment as something from a time gone by. Wearing it made me feel like a piece of living history.
At the opening I enjoyed talking about my inspiration for the drawing and hearing people respond with their own stories about cherished objects and places from the past. I reflected on the drawing and the reason the coat had attracted me from its hanger at the local Salvation Army Store. I had purchased the coat with the clear intention of drawing it, for it reminded me of a coat my grandmother had owned. Nanny’s coat hung in the closet in the front hall of her little 1950’s cape. Wearing this coat on a cool November evening, I felt warm and protected, wrapped in a bit of history, and connected to my grandmother and to all the women who made and wore these coats back in time.