Last October I posted about the CWAJ Print Show and in particular, this print Nature story-(heaven), by the Young Printmaker Award Winner Kyung Sun Kim. It is an edition of only 3 prints and at the time I knew that the artist would keep one, the Daigaku Hanga Gakkai (Committee of Universities of Art for Print Studies in Japan) where it was originally displayed would keep one, leaving only a single print for sale at the CWAJ show. At the time I thought it would be fun to try to follow where it ended up and while I wanted it very much, I was sure a donor or VIP would buy it at the opening reception before I had a chance to.  Little did I know that my true competition would come in a much closer and more personal form – my mother!

My mom never worked as a professional designer, but her house was famous for its perfection in our neighborhood growing up. While everyone else of her generation was falling prey to the excesses of faux French Provincial in the 1970s, my mom held tight to her modernist ideals and her Paul McCobb bedroom set (walnut mind you, not the blond stuff). She suffered the disappointment of a so-called “friend” who stole her long-planned decorating scheme, but triumphed in the end by doing it better. And who can forget the year of the “Great Flood”? No, not Noah’s flood, but the year the pipes burst in our house during Christmas vacation. Water ran for days before it was discovered and I recall crossing the Verrazano Bridge at midnight on New Years Eve, racing to get home. The flood ended up being a blessing in disguise, allowing her to pull out all the original ceilings and raise high the roof beams, realizing a creative vision she had for a simple development house. Nowadays, besides a bad back, her biggest problem is all the neighbors coming over to question and copy her best ideas!

My mom often reads the blog and sends me emails on the side wondering what I like so much about a particular room. We can be such opposites – color and clutter versus bare and beige. But over the years her palette has expanded and she has squeezed in a few good Louis pieces too. (And the famous family saying “all antiques are just firewood” was actually coined by my dad.) Having seen my post on the Print Show, she promptly called me and said she “had to have it,” and a good girl never argues with her mom. But truthfully, it is so rare that our taste intersects so exactly and so difficult to find things that she truly wants that I was thrilled. So this YPA winner’s print has traveled from Tokyo to Florida to take up residence with her.

Nature story-(heaven) now hangs above the bed, the color and size just perfect in the high-ceilinged room. She has come up with a few other ingenious ways of dealing with the huge volume of space, like the hanging night lights.

My mom likes to think things through (often at odd hours of the night, which works with a daughter halfway round the world) and get it right. Before she committed to the hanging night lights, she photoshopped some examples to be sure. That brings me to the first of her decorating and life rules – Positive visualization.

Continuing along with the list:

Mix custom with ready-made.

Strive for balance and scale.

No detail is too small. Arrange untill perfect.

Recycle when possible.

Buy souvenirs wherever you go.

My mom comes from a long line of knitters and she taught me that so many things in life are like a knitting pattern.  When you read it all at once, it makes no sense. The key is to start at the beginning and read one step at a time…Cast on 58 stitches…Decorating can be like that too.

And by the way, that isn’t the only large artwork from my life to make its way home with her. For more on Sakura in the Moonlight, click here.

Mom, thank you always and forever for everything! I love you!