The first Blue Rose Girl I met was Grace when we were sophmores at the Rhode Island School of Design. I knew who she was because she had dated a friend of mine. But the first time we ever talked was when she came into the room where I was waiting for my Italian class. I think she was leaving a note for my teacher.
She said she was going to see Maurice Sendak give a talk at the Brown University auditorium just up the street. I couldn't believe that Maurice Sendak, one of my heroes, was giving a talk just up the street and myself being in the Illustration Department had heard not a word of it. I thought, this girl is amazing that she has this information. So I skipped class and followed her.
We sat together and she pulled out a very large board with a half finished pastel drawing on it, and began to work on it right there. I was amazed again, at her industriousness and her total lack of concern for the pastel dust spreading out over the beautifully upholstered seats of the Brown auditorium. It's funny that I remember very little about what Maurice Sendak had to say that day, but I remember so much about Grace.
The next year we were assigned a studio together in the Palazzo Cenci while we were in the RISD Rome Program. She was the perfect roomate, quiet, friendly, and always always working and full of ideas and advice. Her intensity and tremendous output inspired me to keep up. Our studio always looked like a tornado had gone through it. I'll pack rat any interesting piece of trash I find on the street, and Grace... well, she is messy. People would come in just to stare at the chaos.
That was 12 years ago, and we've stayed in touch all that time. She's kept me on track and been the moral support and friendly competition I needed to push myself. We'd always bet on each other in the "Which of us will get a book next?" guessing game. Whoever got a book was suppose to buy the other something from Crate & Barrel as consolation. Had we followed through my house would now be totally decked out and Grace would be poor.
Photos: above, Grace in our messy studio; left, my side of the studio.