Friday, April 2, 2010

With Sugar

 Cup of the Day #10
Red Venti by Gwyneth Leech
India ink and white-out pen on 
cardboard cup.

One afternoon back in early March, when I was spending long days at the Gershwin Hotel doing the Studio on a Bed project during the Pool Art Fair, I was delighted to see my friend Elisa Jimenez enter the room. Elisa is an awesome maker of art and fashion known to many from Season Four of Project Runway. She and I met in  Hell's Kitchen some ten years ago when our daughters were romping on the jungle gyms in the "Train Playground" on 45th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues and became friends on the spot.

In part, Studio on a Bed was inspired by the studio/bedroom Elisa had in her walk-up apartment on 9th Avenue, around the corner from where I live on West 47th Street. Many a time I sat on Elisa's bed as she cut and sewed garments by hand for a runway show or store order. Years ago she gave me some glittery blue picnic cloths which I used at the Gershwin to cover the bed in my installation, as well as a gorgeous length of diaphanous cloth that shifts from sky blue to pink. I draped it across the head-board to make it more celestial.

Family drawing by Moe Nadel
Studio on a Bed,
Pool Art Fair, March 2010
Elisa moved to Santa Fe a few years ago but is now back in the NY area, living in Nyack with her daughter and her partner Moe Nadel, creator off MeanderWare Bags. So here she and Moe are now, coming into the room with a giant Chai latte which has been carried all the way from Café Mocha on 2nd Avenue at 6th street. My bad. I had sent out an e-mail with the wrong address for the Pool Art Fair and she didn't get the correction. But in true Elisa fashion she did not give up until she found the hotel, and to boot, carried that cup of tea for 20 blocks.

I take a sip - sweetened with sugar! This takes me back. In her Hell's Kitchen days, Elisa used to sleep for a few hours in the evenings when her daughter Calliope went to bed, then get up and work through the small hours, carrying off an astonishing workload for a virtually single mom. The next morning, rising early to take her daughter to school, she would start her day with a Venti tea from Starbucks - stirring in at least five sugars!

Many an afternoon into the evening, Elisa and I would drink tea in my kitchen and cover every conceivable topic pertaining to art and life while our little girls played in the next room. The girls are headed for high school next year and with luck, Elisa will be back living in the NYC and creating her magic blend of art and fashion with a higher profile here than has always been possible from further afield. In anticipation, I am keeping my sugar bowl stocked.

"Family" by Elisa Jimenez
Studio on A Bed,
Pool Art Fair, March 2010


  1. hello gwyneth i am also a friend of the inimitable elisa jimenez, and i thoroughly enjoyed discovering your blog (thanks to your post on her fb page) .. many good wishes 2 u!

  2. Glad you found it. Elisa is one of my favorite people. Just had the pleasure of reciprocating with a cup of green tea for her during her recent fashion and art sale, on the roof of the Chelsea Hotel!