Seeking Color In The US

Crème De La Gwyn

Maggie OwensComment

When camping in West Virignia, on a night so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face, fuck ghost stories — tell Goop stories. The three of us decided to collaborate on an collection of work, investigating one of Hollywood's most divisive starlets, Ms. Gwenyth Paltrow. 

Here's what we came up with — the Crème De La Gwyn, if you will:

1. People think Gwenyth is "high-maintenance," but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Look how casual she is with messy hair:

2. She may not be high maintenance, but if you don't remember who won Best Actress in 1998, she'll fucking cut you with a set of Sur La Table knives: 

3. Is there anything more on brand than a portrait of Gwenyth captured on a Whole Foods napkin? 

4. Also, the motto "Goop in the Street, Poop in the Sheets" is absolutely one to live by. 

5. "What's in the box???" a forlorn Brad Pitt asked at the end of Se7en. Gwenyth Paltrow isn't afraid of shit, so she's not afraid to show you:

6. Though, let's not fixate too much on what's in the box. Take a moment to think outside the box (a.k.a Gwyn's hot bod):

7. Somehow, Gwyn is an ex-pat and incredibly "country strong," all at once. How does she do it?

8. Look beyond America and the U.K. Gwyn is an international superstar. Check out this Japanese DVD cover from her 2003 hit "View from the Top": 

9. Think just because Goop has articles on finding the right Italian villa or making a fruit tart, that Gwyneth's soft? Check out her hard-as-nails squad, featuring daughter Apple Martin and delicious drink Apple Martinelli's. 

Gwenyth's poem: 

Think Gwenyth's tame like a Coldplay song?
Because she's Chris Martin's whore?
Well, this bitch ain't yellow, 
she'll make you're life hell, oh
you'll "viva la vida" no more. 


Apple Martin's poem:

An apple a day keeps the doctor away
-or at least that's what they say-
but don't go startin'
beef with Ms. Martin
or a doctor will be too little too late.


Apple Martinelli's poem:

What? You're not afraid of Martinelli's?
Because it's soda? Because it's pop?
Well, when the gas it sends
comes out from both ends, 
we'll see who comes out on top! 


Friends in Friendsville, Maryland

Maggie OwensComment

Friendship is much like being trapped in a car on a roadtrip. It's better if everyone involved has the same taste in music and is honest about when they've farted. Also, once the key's in the ignition, it's hard to escape.

Our dear friend Rachel is about to see just how true this is for herself. We picked her up in Washington DC and immediately drove her to Friendsville, Maryland. For the next three weeks, she is essentially our newest, funnest photo prop. Look how happy she is!

Now, she's stuck with us driving around the south in the middle of the summer.  Welcome Rachel to the endless road trip! Welcome Rachel to Friendsville! Welcome Rachel to the next segment of Pantomerica!! 

She has no idea what she just got herself into. They never do. #friendshipgoals


Gettin' Artsy Fartsy in Baltimore

Maggie OwensComment

Baltimore is the home of one of the best museums we have ever been to. The American Visionary Art Museum houses work by boundary-pushing, self-taught American artists. I would love to go into an elaborate review of everything this museum has to offer, but what would be the point when the review, below, says it all? 

There’s no need to be redundant here.  This five-star rating really captures our entire experience, if by “son” you mean Ceil, and by “fart machine” you mean a literal fart machine.  

Stroll Through a Haunted Convent

Maggie OwensComment

In Maryland, we visited a haunted site called "the Hell House." Naturally, Ceil brought her hellish little baby along. Nothing is as idyllic of a backdrop for a demon baby birth announcement as a satanic alter! 

Congratulations to the beautiful family — give 'em hell, you guys!

Janneken Smucker

Maggie OwensComment

anneken Smucker is 5th generation Mennonite quilt maker that we met in Philadelphia.  She recently wrote a book called Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon.  So basically she’s an expert on Amish Quilts and for some reason she decided it was worth her time to spend an hour in a park with us explaining the entire history of her people.    


What role does color play in the development of amish quilting techniques?

    Its actually a really interesting history.  In the early days of the tradition women used the same fabrics they were making clothes out of.  They were buying fabric in bulk and what was left after they had made their clothes is what they would use to make quilts.  So the colors that were used for quilts were based on acceptable colors of dress.  It wasn’t this super formal crafting style that people might see it as today.  They were literally just using leftover fabrics.  

    And different Amish communities had different rules about what colors were acceptable for clothing, so different communities began to have different styles of quilts.  For example some communities had stricter rules about adults being able to wear bright colors.  Bright jewel toned dresses and shirts were seen as acceptable for children, but not adults.  Generally speaking they didn’t use fabrics with patterns, which seems to be something that held true for all communities.  

    But even within Amish communities fashion goes through changes.  From an outside perspective these details may be hard to notice.  A small cuff detail could be a major fashion trend in a small town.  There is such an emphasis on community in these towns that colors tend to reveal community preferences and trends rather than any harsh rules that people associate with Amish and Mennonite dress.  People see their style of dress as so one dimensional because they don’t pick up on unique details that show how Amish women express themselves through their clothes.  Sometimes sisters will like to dress in the same colors, which is something you might not realize if you think Amish women all wear a kind of uniform.  


How did the unique amish style of quilting come about?

    The fact that quilters were so separate from the mainstream fashion world played a big role in quilts patterns and styles.  They were buying fabrics in bulk from stores so they were sharing fabrics with the dominant culture, but then they would use colors in completely crazy combinations, with really eccentric patterns.  You can always tell if an Amish style quilt was made by a lay woman because it will have really mainstream color combinations.  


At what point did Amish quilts begin to have a presence in mainstream culture?

    The commodification of Amish quilts really began in the 70’s and 80’s.  Collecting quilts started to become popular, and collectors started to establish what colors and patterns were more desirable.  People outside the Amish community began to decide what particular details made a quilt more or less valuable.  For example, a pattern with a red diamond in the center became the penultimate in quilt value.  They wanted exclusively a quilt to hang on a wall.  In the marketplace bold and graphic- like the red diamond pattern, was key.  Blue on black was a popular color scheme, as well as a rainbow spectrum- color combinations that fit in with mainstream culture.  

    Once the marketplace created a demand for Amish quilts we really started to see a change in style.  Women began getting commissions which motivated them to start following trends.  Its funny because Amish women had created this generations old quilting tradition and people had create how-to books trying to mock that style.  And then to meet the needs of mainstream trends, Amish women began using the patterns out of these how-to books written by lay women.  In the 80’s the rose and light blue color combination epitomized “country” aesthetic, so this is what became popular in quilts.  So you have these Amish country women following quilt patterns created by mainstream society in some attempt to appear more “country”.  


Did this create a rigid quilting aesthetic?

    It just really set up this sense of “this is what an Amish quilt looks like.”  But when you get back to the heart of authentic amish quilting styles, its not about rules at all.  The style of a quilt will always be about familial preferences or church preferences.  You never hear an amish woman talking about quilting rules.  You wouldn’t typically see patterned cloth used in a traditional quilts, but thats because amish women never buy patterned cloth to use for clothing.  But there are even exceptions to this.  If a woman with a non-Amish friend gave her print fabrics, she wouldn’t throw it away- she would still us it in the quilt.  (She still wouldn’t make clothes out of it though).  


You literally wrote the book on amish quilts.  Did you have a unique advantage in your research because of your family history? 

    Generally speaking research into Amish communities from an academic stand point can be difficult.  They tend to reject outsiders so it can be difficult to get interviews and first person perspectives.  It definitely helped that I have a traditionally Amish last name.  I think a lot of people granted me interviews based on my family history and the feeling that I am somewhat of an insider.


Why are the Amish hesitant to open up to outsiders?

    I think they are really aware of being outsiders themselves, and sort of don’t want to be seen as a novelty.  Basically, they don’t want people coming to their town to stare.  Around the time that I was researching my book in Lancaster I heard about a Japanese exchange student that was living with an Amish family.  I thought that was so strange at first, given the Amish tendency towards privacy around outsiders.  I went to go meet them and I realized they sort of had this incredibly symbiotic relationship as equal outsiders within the greater American culture.  The were both willing to open up and share parts of their culture because they both had so much to learn from each other.  I could tell that the Amish family were sort of fascinated with the Japanese student and willing to open up themselves in order to learn more about her and her culture.  They displayed an interest in her that they never would towards a member of mainstream American society.  


Ok so most importantly now, what’s your favorite color?

Orange.  It’s just the best color.  There’s a cheerfulness to it that I love.  Since I was a kind I have always kind of felt bad for other colors fro not being orange.  My wedding dress was bright carrot orange.  (not a joke).  

Cows, Cornfields, Dutch-Themed Roller Coasters

Maggie OwensComment

We arrived in Amish Country finally ready to unplug (read up on Maggie's previous breakdown in Amish land here).  We pulled into a campground just our side Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  We knew we needed a quiet, relaxing night surrounded by nature and fresh air before our big day of shopping for Amish quilts.  (Spoiler Alert: neither of us can afford an Amish quilt.)  Our location couldn't have been better.  We settled down right by a creek as cows came by from the neighboring farm for a drink of water.  

It was so serene we almost couldn't hear the 55 foot roller coaster from the Dutch Themed amusement park that was literally 100 feet from our tent.  

Behold, Dutch Wonderland:

Why did someone build a Dutch Theme Park next to a peaceful Pennsylvania campground?  I don't know.  What exactly is a Dutch Theme Park? I DON"T KNOW!  We didn't make over as we were too busy pulling all our life savings together to try and afford anything made by an amish woman (apron? potholder? the gum off the bottom of one of their handmade leather boots?).  

A little research into Dutch Wonderland told us that the park features 15 animatronic dinosaurs, presumably from Holland.  

A little more research also pulled up this picture... Maybe we should have gone?



Amish or Armani?

Color 7, Color 2, Color 59, Color 45, Color 19, Color 21, Color 23, Color 42, Color 43, Color 44Maggie OwensComment

At the risk of sounding stupid, we genuinely thought Amish country would be inexpensive. We came rolling in, thinking “these people don’t even watch Netflix. I’ve been pretending to watch Grace and Frankie for two full years now. We city folk are gonna clean them out of their quilts before they knew what hit them.” 

It turns out, hand-stitched, one-of-a-kind pieces of art are expensive. Like really expensive, guys. You’d think someone who would have no qualms spending 16 dollars on "farm-to-table" guacamole, even if it was at an Quizno's (especially if it was at a Quizno's?), would’ve expected this. But we were shocked!

If all of this makes us sound ignorant, it’s because we were fucking ignorant. We’re not ashamed to say we knew little about what goes on in Lancaster County until actually visiting Lancaster County. That’s the point of traveling, buttmunch — to become less ignorant. Now go find a Jezebel article on feline genital mutilation you can tear apart. 

Anyway, even from the fabrics alone, you can tell from the unique patterns and painstaking details just how special these textiles are. And, because special = expensive, you can probably guess how many actual quilts we walked away with. It rhymes with hero (which is also something we would order from Quizno's). 

We could afford zero quilts. All the same, it was exciting to even see the quilts and fabrics up close. 

Amish or Armani? Judging from the price tag, it's pretty damn hard to tell. 

2 Dummies In Lake Nummy

Maggie OwensComment

We took a swim in Lake Nummy in New Jersey's Belleplain State Forest. The cedar trees that lined the bank dyed the water a cloudy red. It was like swimming through a film negative.

Being the curious cats we are (bad wording, cats hate water, change this later*), we dipped our disposable camera in the water to see what effect it would have on the film. That was the intention all along — we definitely didn't drop it by accident. 

*too lazy to change this. You don't like it? Get your own damn blog.