Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A shrine to Dambi

Anyone who reads my blog with any regularity (that would be both of you :>), will be familiar with Dambi, the name I gave my paternal grandmother (before I could say Grammy) that all of the grandchildren were then forced to perpetuate. Well, this shrine is a tribute to her, and was made almost entirely with items of meaning that came from Dambi or that remind me of her for special reasons.

I found these wooden house boxes at a local dollar store, and they've been sitting in my studio for weeks -- sometimes it takes months, or even years before things get used so this was not so bad!! (the box in the background is what they look like unembellished). They probably would have sat longer, but I was making gift tins for a class and I had to wait for paint to dry. I decided to give a quick coat of paint to one of the little houses, and I could see immediately just what I wanted to fill it with. So I gathered small items from my sewing box - a box made by Dambi and passed on to me, and I began to place them in the little compartments. Once my tins dried, I abandoned this project for awhile, but over the weekend I felt compelled to finish it. It's simple, and quaint, and encompasses so many memories of my creative grandmother...
The backs of the compartments & roof shingles are pieces of an old fabric that covered a small vanity bench in Dambi's bedroom. I inherited the bench, but could not bear to throw away the fabric when I reupholstered it. I loved the burgandys, & pinks & browns in the floral pattern, and the texture of a good upholstery fabric. It was extremely faded on top, where exposure to sunshine & derierres wore it out, but underneath, the fabric was still bold and beautiful, and small pieces have made it into several of my works.
In the triangular roof cubby is a manufactured label that says "Fashioned & handmade by Lillian." That was Dambi's given name, and I have a packet of these labels that she used inside of items she crocheted for her six grandchildren SIDEBAR: anyone else familiar with headhuggers? These were little granny squares sewn together into ridiculous little potholder hats that we thought wer just wonderful when we were little dorky kids.
Other items of note include, in the lower left box, a garter fastener, as Dambi always wore stockings - never pantyhose - "your privates need to breathe", and a bobbin from the old Singer sewing machine with foot pedal in a flip-up cabinet and wrought iron legs that I also inherited - and altered(a later feature).
And for some reason my sisters and my cousins used to refer to Dambi as "Lilliana Rosebud" - I don't remember the story behind this, but it always made Dambi laugh, so the addition of a dried rosebud seemed appropriate as well. All of the other items - thimble, old measuring tapes, buttons, wooden thread spools, came from her sewing box - a treasure trove of collage materials & usable sewing supplies. And in the top center compartment sits a tiny copy of an old photo of my grandmother, when she was still Lillian VonKampen, not yet Dambi.


DEW said...

"Your privates need to breathe" - I sure wish I could have met a lady of such wisdom and humor!! I love this post and the shrine! The explaination of the shrine's is as important as the shrine. Thank you for sharing! I'm most certain that Dambi is smiling!!

Anonymous said...

I understand Mrs. Posson got a new style haircut with a great new color. I'm sure your counterparts would love to see a picture. Please post so we can all see the new Kerri!

Liz Ness said...

Beautiful art, beatiful story, and beautiful writing (I almost feel I know Dambi -- she seems like she was a lot like my granny). Oh, and yes, the hats (we all had them).

Sharon said...

Your tribute to Dambi is endearing! I can relate to the ephemera relating to sewing as I have just inherited my 91 year old aunt's Singer machine. I, too, memorialized her with art at http://e14studio.blogspot.com. Thanks for sharing.