Thursday, August 10, 2006


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.


Grace Lin said...

AACK! I can't believe you have that picture of me and now it is viewable for all...and the story about Maurice Sendak. I'm embarassed I was so rude,I feel like I should send Maurice an apology card.

And I'm much neater now, really!

(who does owe you some crate and barrel merchandise)

alvinaling said...

Haha--"Grace--well, she is messy." When Grace and I and Jon all lived You think you know clutter? You don't know clutter.

I loved this post--because I love the subject!

Anna Alter said...

It is kind of amazing how much neater you are now Grace! Last time I was in your studio I couldn't help but marvel at how organized everything was. Though maybe I am just comparing it to my disaster of a desk.

Linda S. Wingerter said...

Yes, Grace IS so much neater now! I should have added that.

I don't think you were pasteling so much when he was talking, it was mostly when we were waiting for him. We were far enough back anyway.

I love that picture. Sometimes you were so hidden in the mess I wouldn't even know you were there.

You have no outstanding debts to me, girl, all is paid up tenfold over.

Blue Rose Girls said...

That's such a great story! I didn't know any of this. Thanks for sharing.

I'm posting as "blue rose girls" because when I switched over I forget my password and it won't let me post as gloria. ARg! I'll work on it.

anyone else got a great story?


Grace Lin said...

and, anyway,the greater the mess the better the work:

at least I hope so!