The new issue of Stitch magazine is out. The Fall 2009 issue has lots more pages and projects than previous issues. This publication is a great combination of engaging articles and innovative projects that blur the lines of sewing—garments, home dec, quilt-y kinds of things. The issue has a global theme and articles on Japanese fabrics, fashion designer Max Osterweis and his sewn-in-Kenya collection using Kenyan fabrics, shopping for textiles in Hong Kong and (ta da!) an article on the history of Finnish manufacturer Marimekko’s fabrics…by me!
That piece was such fun to write—I’ve long loved Marimekko, but didn’t know anything about the history. In its early years, 90 percent of the company’s staff was female. After Marimekko’s founder died in 1979 the company was sold off and nearly run aground in the 1980s. But another woman, retired advertising executive Kirsti Paakkanen, bought the company and brought it back to life by shifting the focus from bureaucracy to the designers. Today, it’s thriving.
At the time I was writing the article, I happened to mention it to Judy. Turns out Judy’s mom had been one of the early adopters of Marimekko style, purchasing her dresses at the only shop at which you could buy them at the time, Design Research in Cambridge, Mass. Judy’s mom remembered that her husband, photojournalist Ted Polumbaum, had photographed some Radcliffe students wearing Marimekko dresses for Life magazine. I shared this with Tricia, Stitch’s editor, and lo and behold, she ended up using one of the photos. (For more of Polumbaum’s photos, visit the Newseum site. His work is a great combination of the momentous and the great—Freedom Summer and Ted Kennedy—and the everyday and small—women wearing hats, reading on a park bench in Boston. There’s a great shot of Julia Child, too, under the Curator’s Choice link.)