Room after room after room … the glorious colour, vibrant patterns, and range of textiles that form the Step into Paradise exhibition offer a small glimpse into the design world of Flamingo Pink’s Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson. Spanning more than three decades, this was the setting for the final ETA Writing Teachers meeting.
The first room, ‘Before’, showcased their inspiration from a heady 60s London and I was struck by the wildness contained within an image of Vern Lambert at the Chelsea Antique Market, 1970. Jenny worked here, selling a mix of haute couture, homemade and ethnic dress.
For me, Chelsea market was the school of fashion and life … we didn’t just flog frocks and style ourselves, we styled everyone who came in, from Mick Jagger to Marianne Faithfull. It was like directing wardrobe on a movie set called The Sixties.
A Big Life, Jenny Kee and Samantha Trenoweth, 2006
digitised image (photographer unknown) Herald and Weekly Times
Several small openings in the black walls functioned as peepholes into their past. I stood transfixed as colour overlaid the image, billowing across Vern’s portrait, jotting down words and ideas.
After our exploration, we discussed our impressions then settled into the pomodoro writing technique. After several attempts, focussing on the photos I’d snapped, I settled on this edited ekphrastic draft:
The Shoes, The Shoes
a checkerboard bright harlequin heel
steps out from swirling blues and rises above canary yellow crochet
red creeps up the legs, over the hips and bleeds across a protected chest
smiling as teal drips down trees and purple whorls shift inward
a melding of navy beneath an orange sky burst
shaping darkness through the background
a sleeve standing out now – pointing to the plain brocade
itself a grey riot of rich embroidery embellishing satin
the heaviness an anchor of this altered moment
sepia slowly draining energy and focus fading now
muted crimson drifting
the shoes resume their prominence
his smile departs