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  Many storms affected the land around the farmyard. Entire families of all kinds of hatchlings from within the farm and the surrounding countryside were displaced. The barnyard itself faced challenging losses in its domestic population. Openings of space were now available for taking in refugees from the bordering forest and marshlands.
  Understanding the value of diversity the farmyard elders began to advertise to the marsh, and woodland creatures with the intent of creating a more vibrant community. “Vacancies were available to those in need —As long as they posed no threat to the inhabitants of the farm.”
  A local osprey family—having an excess of hatchlings in the following mating season, decided to drop off a first-born runt to the local hen coop. Ruling the coop, was a sterile hen with no eggs or chicklings of her own to care for. This mother hen was gracious to be the recipient of a foreigner (even if it was not a baby chicken) it was still an infant bird in need of care.
The same year the barnyard decided to hire a new manager. They chose an immature mallard, because of its determination and resourcefulness. This particular mallard arrived from a previous storm relocation effort into the barnyard duck family. No one bothered to tell it, that it was no regular barnyard duckling. (As the new parents realized it would someday find out on its own.) Growing up in the barnyard, the baby mallard was fancier and smarter than the other hatchlings. —Although it still thought of itself as just a more refined ( —yet domesticated barnyard-duck.)
  When the opening for the new barnyard manager arrived, the elders knew the immature mallard was highly capable of regulating tight, and effective barnyard policy. (Things had gotten a bit out of hand, as of late,)
  The arrival of the infant osprey was in proximity to the hatching of a new baby chick family. Soon, it stood out to observers as quite different. Little osprey seemed always to be the first to locate a lucrative worm bed, as well as the tastiest of insects and seeds. The savviest of the other chickens and chicks (seeing the osprey’s satisfaction and pleasure) followed after her, and were quick to make good on her intuitive discoveries. Other obvious differences were how private and tidy the young osprey preferred her space. (A tiny cubicle raised over the mothering hen.) The other hatchlings preferred communal nesting and tended to gather together in group play. They did not discern to keep their space free of waste or other distractions. Young osprey preferred seclusion in their free time. Frankly, she was quite singular.
  The immature mallard noticed these differences —Seeing them, and unsure of himself, and his own uniqueness. As well as being uncomfortable with certain similarities of the osprey’s disposition, he could not help but feel suspicious. Trickles of envy and jealousy soon led to viewing the different chicken as sinister. Eventually, the manager-mallard was convinced the osprey was a dangerous barnyard imposter.
 Realizing this, he began offering caution to the other managers, whilst engaging them in secondhand gossip.
 “Did you see that?… When she did that.”
When the baby osprey grew into an immature osprey, she began daily activities of stretching and flapping of wings.
 “As if showing off.” The mallard commented to many. Sensing the vibes, Immature Osprey often became wary of being a show-off, when really her prowess was just a natural progression of growth.
  Knowing the generosity of the larger farmyard community the osprey valued the free sharing of her passions. One of her favorite spots for exercising her wings was sitting on a low stoop or post and stretching her wingspans to their maximum girth. While doing this, she dreamingly watched the adult ospreys soaring above the stream. Sometimes they would dive straight down into the blackened stream of the marsh, and come up with large fish. Waddling by one day the mallard manager saw and felt the dreamy energy of the young osprey as it flapped, and stretched freely on the stoop. Effecting him negatively, the mallard said silently to the osprey lass,
  "You're no osprey, you’re just a hen like all the rest, but with the dirtiest of feathers." Not understanding telepathic duck language, it was of no concern to mademoiselle Osprey, although she did sense the animosity.
  At the beginning of spring each year it was each manager's job to do an assessment of the concerns and situations of all their tenants. Going into the meeting in good faith, the little osprey decided that it might improve matters to show some vulnerability, in hopes of improving relations with the heavy-handed manager. (Of late, many of her favorite resources were being limited, and scrutinized by the manager.) At the meeting, the little osprey opened up about her concerns that her rations were slowly being trimmed, and her resources within the community regulated. In reply, the manager only nodded.
Finally, the osprey shared his biggest frustration concerning other chicks,
  “They follow right behind me, and when I make a worm discovery —They gang up, and try to snatch it from me, Instead of procuring their own worms.” She explained, adding,
  “I don’t like to fight, but I will if I need to.” Taking note of this the mallard jotted something down.
  A local fox was in the habit of infiltrating the hen house for its own feeding needs. Often the invasions went too far —Bordering on entertainment. The first time the fox approached in the presence of the osprey, instinctively the small osprey sensed danger and created an uproar of alarm. Unfortunately, it was not enough time to stop the fox from making off with a wandering fellow mallard duckling friend of the manager’s. The chirping, squeal-alert-warning was, however, effective in notifying the parental Ospreys to dive down and confront the fox, diverting a potential disaster.
  The following morning the manager duck (Still in mourning for the loss of its friend) came upon the junior osprey collecting feathers from the scene of the crime. The mallard summarized the feathers to be those of his friend when in actuality they were those of the osprey’s parents. Enamored of the smell and designs, —Little osprey lined her nest with them. Seeing this, the mallard manager became very suspicious and angry.
  With the relatable parental feathers in her nest, the osprey soon gained a better understanding of who she was. Seeing the osprey fake-flying on her stoop the next day, the manager-mallard felt resentful. On a subliminal level, —He knew just how he could retaliate. Finding the prime feeding plot prior to the osprey’s forage, the mallard waited. When the little osprey led the gang of followers to the morning worming, the little mallard was hiding in ambush, waiting. Upon arriving hungry, the osprey routed out the fattest worm from the wormholes. Jumping onto the scene, the mallard latched on to its other end. Being startled by the attack, the immature osprey arched up its wings, let out a hideous squeal, and displayed its sharp talons to the manager in charge of the barnyard. This presentation of power greatly disturbed and even frightened the manager. Feeling threatened, the manager went to the head manager, crying,
  Eventually, he proceeded in having the imposter “hen” written up for staff harassment. In the weeks and months following, the mallard began heavy rationing, and revising of regulations concerning all of the osprey’s farmyard resources. Meanwhile trying to get her needs met, the osprey began making a name for herself, as being quite assertive. She was now in the daily habit of fighting for her worms. (from other invasive, yet less enterprising farm fowl.) What was especially concerning to the less aware members of the community, was the osprey’s habitat of trying to take more than the regular share of chicken pellets at feed time.
  Understanding her destiny, the youthful eagle knew that in order to reach her full potential, she would need to make accommodations for her nutritional needs somehow. All the others saw was pushiness, and apparent greediness.
  Witnessing the ongoing and increased restrictions of her most valuable resources, osprey knew she had to address it to the elders, —This was not comfortable for her as she did not feel entirely competent in barnyard-speak. Meanwhile, knowing she could not trust the manager duck, she began to fear she could not even trust her own impulsive reactions to him. —And doing so could endanger her safety, as well as leave her homeless to the nature of the wilderness. Reflecting on the matter, she brought it to the council of elders, —Who were mute about the situation. Many of them were not aware of her status as a raptor, those that did, realized it would soon be time for her to move on, on her own, or with a little help.
  While in the process of further reflection, she felt the need to relax and I enjoy the summer breeze. Stretching out, she arched her wings to full height. Just then the mallard puddled by, commenting silently,
  “You’ll never fly.” (That is what the osprey read from the fake smile, and smirk on the mallard's face.) Lowering her wings horizontally another gust of wind blew by lifting her a foot into the air. Flapping ferociously the osprey lifted two more feet into the air. With several more extended flaps, and more wind gusts the eagle caught a wind current, lifting her high above the barnyard.
  Seeing a fish swimming near the surface of the stream, she fluttered her wings. Signaling her intention to Mother Nature to feed, while giving thanks, she dove directly straight down. Snearring a golden perch in her talons, she rose from the waterway only by pure, core-strength. With a steady rotation of her wings, she lifted the fish away from the dark of the stream.
  —A gust of wind, —elevating to an airstream, took her with ease to the branch of the tallest pine. Not that far below, members of the farm community looked up in amazement and appreciation of the event. The elder donkey kicked gleefully in acknowledgment. The motherly hen, self-satisfied, went back to tidy her roost. All the other observers went on with their morning routine.
  Seeing this, —instinctively the mallard flapped his wingspan so hard he lifted himself to the top of the highest post. Looking down, to the far side of the fence, a domestic squabble broke out between folks from the accommodating hen-house. In a fancy instant, he flew down. Rolling forwards on his webbed feet, he immediately blockaded the squabble, —Disparaging any further confrontation, with one mighty quacky-quack-quack.





While studying at Parsons School of Design, I got a job as a busboy at the Metropolitan Cafe in Union Square. It was a fun job for restaurant work. I loved the atmosphere and helping out the interesting and glamorous waitresses who were pursuing other creative dreams like myself. The regular customer was a stylish, cosmopolitan type. One of the owners was a Scandinavian supermodel.

That December, the Metropolitan Cafe was always packed full, especially on the weekends. While bussing a table one night, I cleared the plate from a lady who had barely even touched her meal. While doing so, I dripped sauce on her suede mini skirt. My arms were piled high with dishes, I knew I had to get rid of the plates first and then get back with apologies.

I returned, telling her of the spill and offering a cloth soaked in soda water for cleaning. She was speechless. On my next shift, I Found out from the owner that her husband, who was present at the dinner, was a lawyer. He was suing the restaurant. My days were numbered there, I knew I had to find a new job fast.

Immediately I went to the job board at Parsons. Posted there, I read about a job looking for an artist to paint silk for a fashion designer. The Designer had a nearby address. I had experience with silk painting from previous classes at Mass Art, in Boston. I loved the process of silk painting and the challenge that dyes on silk had to offer. I placed my call and got an appointment for later in the week.

Arriving at the interview, portfolio in hand, I stepped off the elevator on the seventh floor of a beautiful Cast Iron building by Union Square. The Loft was enormous, painted entirely in white, with white high gloss floors. Large, simple abstract paintings were hung on several walls. In front of many large windows stood massive potted ficus trees. Opera music was playing in the background, I saw to my left, and right, extensive flat wooden tables, covered with white silk. I instantly felt like I had arrived in heaven.

The Designer appeared, tall with closely cropped dark hair, he was dressed all in black and introduced himself to me as Michael Katz. Glowing with enthusiasm, with a big smile, and a firm handshake, he asked me to sit in the lofts showroom area. Here he began viewing my portfolio, going slowly, from large sheet to sheet he continued to nod his head. I had arranged my artwork with examples of recent fashion illustrations done with India ink, and spot colors with pastels.

I had selected drawings of models in 50's style, satin dresses, as well as some historical fashion plates from my History of Fashion class. I had no examples of my painted silks with me, but I spoke of how much I loved that class.

M.K. asked a tall blond man dressed head to toe in preppy classics to view my portfolio also. Soon a lady, who had been diligently arranging a dress pattern, on top of a table of brilliantly painted silk, also came over to see. As they began discussing my colors and line work, I spied a long hanging rack, covered by a large piece of black silk. Under the overlay of silk, popped brilliant colors of what looked like a collection of hand-painted silk designs.

The lady and young man complimented me on my portfolio and returned to their work. The Designer, who had by now repeated the word "fabulous" about three times, began showing me his current collection. Tossing the broad swath of silk aside, he revealed marvelous examples of painted silk fashions. I saw lavish flowers in vivid colors, pastel stripes in varying broad brush strokes, abstract patterns of color blocking on quilted silk coats. Bold, black, and white polka dots and zebra prints on full-length tunics and kimonos. Several long, slinky-cut gowns expressively painted with large tulips on jewel-toned grounds stood out. M.K skipped over each outfit in a rush, as if he had much more important things to do. The interview, I realized, was soon to be over. As I headed toward the exit, I realized what a special place this was. The craftsmanship, creativity, and quality of what I saw in production here were unparalleled.

Back at the Metropolitan Cafe, during a lull in my shift, the next weekend afternoon, I started polishing the brass hardware around the bar. Immediately the bartender asked me to find something else to do. I moved on, and by the end of the shift, she was apologizing to me. The next time I saw her, she offered me a bussing position at Grace Jones's new restaurant. It was set to open on New Year's Eve. I was a significant fan of Grace Jones - actually she was an idol of mine, so I agreed to bus tables for her restaurant's opening.

The next week I traveled to my parent's home in Maine to celebrate Christmas with my family. Stepping onto the front porch of my parent's old farmhouse, I saw my childhood dog Pehr a Norwegian Elkhound. Our family was lucky to be gifted with him from David and Peggy Rockefeller of Northeast Harbor. He was tied up to his run and jumping with joy to see me. He was unkempt and smelled of skunk spray. I went to pet him, his overgrown coat, his dog odors, his neediness, I realized our time together had ended, and I began to alienate him from my affections. I remember having no interest in expressing my love for him. I had moved out and left home for good now, I was no longer his rightful master. He looked at me with renewed friendship, yearning for his love to be reciprocated. He had once been my loyal, constant companion. On that icy winter day, I mentally abandoned him. I gave him a pat on his head, and a hug and went inside. The week passed without any renewed bonding with Pehr, except for a little caress here and upon going out to smoke a cigarette. Right before leaving to catch my flight, I did one last thing. I let him off his leash and told him to go, run and be free. He had always been a roamer, he liked to chase deer and any female dogs in heat. He did not leave immediately but sat on the porch reproachfully, and forlorn as I moved my bags to the car and said goodbye.

I returned to N.Y.C. to enjoy my life away from home. Late in the afternoon of New Year's Eve, I arrived in SoHo at Grace Jones restaurant, La Vie En Rose. Upon meeting the manager, I set out to learn my job. I met the other busboys, the wait staff who seemed rushed and frantic, there appeared to be little order about. I began to familiarize myself with the inner workings of the restaurant. I noticed the manager/Maitre d' trying to decide what cassette tape to play in his sound system, he had very few to choose from and chose something mediocre for my taste. As he left, I took a look at the small tape collection and noted there were none of Miss. Jones's. "How strange," I thought? "If I had known this would be the case, I would have brought my own."

I considered Grace's music to be the ultimate, most refreshing sound around, I was in love with her rendition of "Send in the Clowns," and "Tomorrow." Her album "Portfolio" was incredibly inspiring to me, my life, and my dreams. I began setting tables and preparing the restaurant for its opening night. Serious Fashion victims and minor celebrities started to trickle in, My bartender pal told me one group of dudes at a nearby table was the band, Duran, Duran, come to think of it, the cassette now playing was "Hungry Like the Wolf." Then Grace arrived, wearing a full-length, deep magenta, stretch silk charmeuse Azzedine Allia number, with matching satin stilettos. Her silk hood up, she slipped through the crowd, greeting her guests, whispering that she had been up all last night, and had a horrible cold. I was trying my hardest not to stare, I imagined myself being like a fox and blending into the background. Soon I was filling the water glasses at Grace's table. I slipped away and continued to bus other tables. There was the humming buzz of guests socializing, then her loud, deep laughter separating the moments in between silences. The night wore on, uneventful, and somewhat low-key, for what I was expecting. I went to her table to replenish the water glasses. 

"Can I get you anything?" I asked her with a smile,

Grace, "Diamonds, give me Diamonds!, my darling."

While refilling her water glass I accidentally spilled a multitude of ice cubes diamonds onto the white linen table cloth. I was mortified, I felt my face turn a bright shade of red. I cleaned up and hurried away,.. a peal of muffled laughter, and "hmmm," was all I heard in the background.

I do not remember when the clock struck twelve, rolling in 1988. It was just a big fashionable party now, guests coming and going. I continued to bus, and clean up. The place emptied out early. Seeing the manager drinking with the other busboys and wait staff, I realized I could head home any time soon. They seemed to be partying harder than any of the guests had that night. I collected an insubstantial amount of tips and left for my uptown apartment with Grace's "Feel Up" playing in my head as I walked in the drizzling rain to the subway. The early mourning sky was a deep shade of Cerise.

"Feel up, feel up, feel up,

Feel up, Feel up, feel up, feel up.

Downtown rob, try to run, feel up,

Don't give up, don't give up, feel up.

You've had your dream, your dreams aren't real, feel up,

Don't give up, don't give up, feel up." 

FEEL UP - Grace Jones

I never followed up on the busing job gone bad, but I did receive a call from the fabulous fashion designer. I had been hired as a painting assistant and was to begin work there immediately.

Arriving at the Designer's Loft the next morning, I was happy to meet all his other employees. Ed, the tall blond man, was M.K.'s first assistant and studio manager.


Josephine, the lady, working with scissors and yards of silk during my interview, was the patternmaker and head seamstress. I was to train as a painting assistant under Edward's supervision but first was to spend some time tidying the loft under M.K.'s guidance.

"Was I good at organizing? "The Designer asked?

"Yes, I'm a fast and excellent organizer "

My first project was to climb up a high rolling ladder and reorganize and clean some shelves that were dusty and cluttered behind giant white muslin curtains. After that was done, I began to organize his work desk covered in papers. A large metal Rolodex was opened to Patty Hearst's phone number. The phone was ringing.

"Do I answer the phone, and how would he like me to greet your callers?"

"Michael Katz Studio," he said.

For the next fifteen minutes, I worked all around him, straightening up piles of papers, throwing out empty coffee cups, putting away pens, pencils, paper clips, post-it notes, personal letters, as well as many beautiful postcards. He showed me how I was to fill out his phone message book properly. 

"That's the biggest Rolodex I've ever seen!"

"M.K., "Did you know that Eleanore Lambert's Rolodex is organized with lists of all the favorite items and needs of her clients?" I had no Idea who Elenor Lambert was, but I soon was to find out.

M.K., "Why don't you call Elenore right now on speakerphone, and ask her secretary for an invite to my fashion show. I want to hear how they handle it." I hesitate with the phone receiver in my hand. "Elenore Lambert is the publicist for my fall show."

M.K., "What the hell is she doing for it anyway?" he shouts to Edward.

"Michael, don't worry about it, She is the best there is," Ed says. 

M.K., gruffly "Well….what are you waiting for? Call her"

"What was I to say?" I asked

M.K., "Just say you are interested in attending my show, and you want to know how to get an invitation. Put it on speakerphone, do you know how to do that? Look, hit this button here." I place the call, and a fussy-sounding woman answers.

M.K., "Put it on speakerphone!" I click the button again.

"Yes, hello, this is Michael Shyka calling, I would like to attend Michael Katz's Fall show, How do I get an invite?"

"Who is this again?" she gurgled, what's the name of your boutique?"

Michael grabs the phone from me, "Eleanore, (rolling his RRs) it's Michael Katz," he speaks in a very charming tone new to my ears. "That was my new assistant, I had him call you. I'd like to know what exactly are you doing to publicize my show?" (He turns off the speakerphone) Minutes later, while hanging up, he quips, "She has never, ever answered her own phone, and now, the one time that she does, it had to be you who called her!"

For the remainder of the morning, I clear his desk completely, and wash it with spray bleach, removing all the dye and coffee stains. I then return all papers and pads to neatly organized piles while desperately trying not to get in the way of his phone work, which sounds like a lot of hustling to me. 

At noon M.K. utters, "I'm famished," handing me a twenty, "Go get me a sandwich, a cup of pea soup, and buy some food for yourself, you need to eat something, your way too skinny, and keep the change. He shouts down the loft, "Edward, are you still watering the plants?"

Edward is casually strolling around with a giant green water pitcher, "Yes, Michael, I am."

"Well, are you going to spend all morning doing that?" Edward ignores M.K.'s' question and continues to water the massive plant collection carefully arranged throughout the entire Loft. There are lush Ficus trees, Norfolk Pines, tropical palm trees, flowering bushes, and large ferns set before the massive, bright windows.

I bundle up and leave, sucking down a cigarette as soon as I get outside. Walking to the deli I ponder the heightened energy of the Loft. After picking out some designer sandwiches, and rushing back, I return to find M.K. waiting for me by the elevator door.

M.K., "What took so long? Well, get it out, serve it up, hustle, hustle - Let's eat over here, come sit down." Ed and Josephine join us.

M.K., "Do you like the art of Toulouse Lautrec?"

Ed, "Michael Loves Lautrec's linework!" 

"Ed, don't interrupt. I think you draw like Toulouse Lautrec, I want you to do some Toulouse Lautrec-like prints, Dancing CanCan girls, in luscious jewel tones, and amber for my fall collection." 

"The Can-Can girls should all be kicking their legs high up in the air in complete abandonment," Josephine chimes in with enthusiasm. 

Halfway through lunch, Michael asks me, "Who is your favorite Designer? ( I should have said he was - but was not so clever at the moment.)


"Emanuel Ungaro'' I say, "I Love his use of print, and color, also his draping skills, the sensuality of his designs."

M.K., "You know you should never, ever mention another designer's name" he replied.

"Was that advice from Halston?" Dead silence...My ironic sense of humor falling flat.

"Easy there, Eve," Ed says, chuckling and looking at M.K. and then Josephine with his eyebrows raised.

"Have you seen the movie - All About Eve?" Josephine asks me,

"No, I haven't."

Josephine, "Well, when you see it, you will understand the sarcasm."

M.K., "What do you think of Karl Lagerfield?" James asks me.

"I think he must be a very busy man, with a great team. He designs for Chanel, Fendi, and Chloe, as well as his own label, I believe, not to mention all the coffee table books." trying not to sound like smartypants, while feeling victorious, and slightly smug about my answer, I then add, "Chloe is my favorite of them all, for it's ethereal and romantic look."

M.K., "Umm," he shrugs; Edward and Josephine are oddly silent, and continue to eat, the door buzzes.

M.K., "It's Raya! " He roars, rolling the r's with much joy, and bolting to the elevator to buzz her in. A minute later, a beautiful, Red-headed woman, saunters in, all smiles, her glowing white face framed by long, luxurious waves of red curls. They kiss and embrace.

M.K., "Meet my new painting assistant," he gestures his long arms my way.

"Nice to meet you," she says, demurely, with a broad smile that completely abandons her face as she looks me in the eyes and shakes my outreached hand gently. *Note to self,…do not ever, ever mess with her, or it will be the end of you here.

Raya, "How do you like working for Michael so far?" 

"I love it!" I gleefully reply. She seemed to roll her eyes slightly, looking back at her dearest friend, my new Boss.

After lunch, I am handed over to Edward to begin my training. We start by giving a third coat of black dye to a zebra print that he has already begun. I use a small foam brush he gives me, from a box containing dozens. I'm told to "let the dye drip off of it before applying it to the silk." We carefully fill in the black stripes that are bordered by a thick line of wax. After filling in the outlined area with dye, I learn to buff, the wet areas of dye with paper towels." Carefully, so as not to stain the wax border." Next, Ed and I get down a large wooden frame that hangs nearby. It was once painted white but now is covered in deep stains of dye. We cover the top edge with masking tape, "So as not to stain the silk." Edward brings out a large bolt of white silk, 16mm, crepe de chine he calls it. He rolls it out, about four yards long, covering the whole length of the frame, and table. He snips it with scissors and tears it across the width. Josephine is standing across from us, working on cutting out a dress from a paper pattern that's pinned to silk already painted. She hums to herself. The Boss is in the back of the Loft, still in a quiet conversation with the lovely Raya.

"First, we tac down the four separate corners, then place a tac every eight inches," he said, handing me a handful of tacks. We do this, trying not to stretch the silk out as we go along.

"He said That?" I hear Raya ask loudly, James speaks in hushed tones, and laughs. Soon the whole table of silk has been tacked down. 

"Now look," Ed says, "You should be able to bounce a dime on it.''

He pulls a dime out of his pocket and tosses it on the silk. It bounces. Together we lift the stretched frame of silk and move it back to where it hangs from the ceiling. 

More cackling from the back, getting louder, and louder, the opera music is turned up loud now too. There is a sizeable empty table opposite us, covered in stained newspapers. Edward begins to Place jars of dyes on that table.

Ed, "Nows a good time to clean the dye area, empty out any containers of dyes that are not standard colors." Pointing to rows of Powdered dye cans, each labeled with standard color names. I start by taking the most muted and muddy colors over to a large porcelain sink in the kitchen area and pour them down the drain. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Raya and M.K. stroking his blue-grey Prussian cat, China, who has just come out of hiding. Ed has me wash out, with paper towels and rubbing alcohol, the stained, empty containers. The rubbing alcohol removes the dye stains but now my hands are stained ink black. Ed, seeing me look at my hands passes me a pair of plastic gloves. As I clean the many containers, over the rush of water, I hear Raya saying goodbye.

I shout, "Bye, Raya, nice to meet you!" Still washing up, and bleaching the sink, so it's no longer stained, I hear bits of a heated conversation from Michael's desk,

M.K., "What do you mean they can't make it today?, o,k., JUST GET THEM HERE TOMORROW JOY !"

Next, Ed then has me remove all the stained newspapers covering the dye area, and replace them with fresh layers. Then we proceeded to replace all the remainder "true colors" of dye containers back in the dye area. At Michael's table, he quietly rearranges the many piles of papers. His opera music gets loader.

Ed, "OK, this is how the dyes are to be mixed, I know it's a lot to remember on your first day, it's okay if you do not remember it all, just watch and listen and you will soon learn." Ed takes a clean container, cleans a stained dye spoon with rubbing alcohol, and then fills another vessel with water, he puts it in the microwave. Michael is now singing along to the opera music. Ed takes out the container of hot water and adds two shots of rubbing alcohol, then two heaping tablespoons of the dye powder from the can labeled "YELLOW." He mixes it thoroughly and then cleans the spoon with a paper towel. We continue to do this with five more colors of dye powders, straight from the can. An emerald green, a gold, a light blue, a rose, and a pink are all mixed.

Ed, "I'll teach you how to mix a black, it's complicated, you might not remember it all this first lesson. You can always ask me how to do it later. First, you will need a big container of boiling water and a lot of rubbing alcohol, about five shots, (Ed is also is a bartender - he has informed me earlier) Then you add five heaping spoons of "dark blue" dye powder, and one heaping spoon of black."

Ed, adding more alcohol, "You can't use just straight black, or it will stain the silk with a metallic color that you will never be able to get out. Mix it very aggressively,"

"WHAT are you two talking about over there?" I hear coming from Michael's desk, I look over and smile, to see his table now completely in disarray again.

"Just chill Michael" Edward quips back, "Mix it fast for at least a minute, here I'll do it, you get a scrap of chiffon from Josephine." I return with the chiffon scrap, Ed tapes it to another large container, strains the black dye through the layer of chiffon,

Ed, "Throw this out," he hands me the black dye-soaked chiffon. ( my hands are now stained black again.)

Ed, "Finally, add three more shots of rubbing alcohol and mix thoroughly."

"Shouldn't I be writing this all down?"

Ed, "No, after you do it a couple of times, you will remember."

M.K., "Really, Ed, are you done yet? I need you to go to the post office and the bank for me" Edward rolls his eyes, smiles, and goes to get the mail and banking ready. As Edward leaves the Designer, says, "BOY!"…., what's your name again?

"The same as your - Michael."

M.K., "That's not going to work. There can not be two Michaels, do you have a nickname?"

"No," I reply, I look over to see Josephine cutting a pinned-down pattern with specialty friskers, smirking as she hums to herself.

M.K., "What's your middle name?" he asks gruffly

"Andrew"… I say softly.

M.K., "Well, that is what we will call you - Andrew."

I think to myself, "This is weird..." I say, "I do not really like that name, It's my father's name, and we do not really get along that well." 


"Maybe Mike?"

"NO, That's my nickname. How about Micky?"

"Umm, I don't like that either," I say, bewildered, and drawing a blank as I roll up some discarded newspapers, from the table.

M.K., "Andrew, I Like that name, It is a good name, you will be called Andrew." the phone rings "Can you get that, Andrew? I pick up the receiver and reach for a pen and the message pad.

" Michael Katz Studio, this is Andrew speaking."

"WHO? Are YOU, Now?"

"A painting assistant," I state.

"Let me speak to Michael, tell him it's Snake."

M.K., "Give me that!" my Boss grabs the phone from me. I hear raucous laughter, and snarky humor from the back of the Loft, I smell a joint has been lit. I continue to cover the large table with fresh newspaper and get a bolt of 45" silk, to continue to cover the table with, as Edward had instructed me to do before he left.

When the table is stretched Michael comes back, glowing with his big smile, "BOY," …he pauses, "Do you know how to mix colors?"

"Of course," I say, what colors do you want?"

M.K., "Silver-grey, use the one from the can labeled Silver, but use vinegar, instead of rubbing alcohol. I want a rich, deep, dark brown, a seafoam, a lime green, red, and chartreuse, I'll tell you how to mix the red properly, as well as the chartreuse. How will you make the other colors? "

"I can use deep blue, with orange for a dark brown," I mix it up, and show him the sample of deep brown.

M.K., "That's impressive, a rich brown is very hard to mix. Is that done by using complementary colors?" he asks, a bit intrigued.

"Yes, dark blue and orange make brown"

M.K., "Do they now? what else?"

"I can use a pale turquoise, tinted with a little yellow for the seafoam." I pour a speck of yellow into a container of turquoise I have just diluted with water, and show him the sample of it.

M.K., "That looks great."

"Emerald green, with some yellow in it for the lime?'

M.K., "Just strait emerald with more water. Use yellow with a dash of violet, for my chartreuse, and for bright red, use the red straight from the can, with a speck of black in it. That is my secret for a stunning red! He then mumbles something about red needing that speck of black to make it pop. I mix the colors as fast as possible,

M.K., "Are they done yet?" I show him samples on paper.

M.K., "THEY'RE PERFECT!", seeing I am pleased, he asks, "Are we having fun yet?"

"Yes, I love to mix colors."

M.K., "Well you are very good at it, I have never seen anything like it, REALLY..." he offers me a joint he has just relit.

"I'll pass, not at work, I'll get paranoid," - he inhales deeply. "Can I take a cigarette break?" I ask

M.K., In a hysterically humorous tone of voice, "A BREAK? Of Course! You've earned it, go right ahead." I go over to the sitting area and light up.

M.K., "That Is A Disgusting Habit!" he articulates every syllable and word slowly, I roll my eyes and inhale. With his burning joint in between two fingers, he picks up a photo, a foam brush, and a container of dye. He begins painting on the silk, with fast, frantic motions. Enthralled, I watch in amazement, curious as to what may spill. By the time I finish my cigarette, Michael has almost the entire table sketched out in various colors. It's a scene of large trees and bushes, and bits of a red sunset.

M.K."You MUST work very fast for it to look fresh. Get a brush, and help me paint this area in." We work together filling in the designated areas with dye. I hear the sewing machine running fast; in the far front of the Loft. He hands me a roll of paper towels. "Help me buff - rub the silk very hard before it drys," We both do this, fast and frantically, "Get the green dyes you've mixed and start putting in leaves around the tree branches" we both do so. The table of white silk is becoming transformed. We step back and look at the work we have been creating. "FABULOUS," we both say together.

Josephine saunters down, with the outfits she has just finished. An ensemble consisting of a red silk dress, under a calf-length silk Gazaar coat in variating stripes of red, two silvers and black, and a zebra stripe kimono and slacks.

"That's fabulous," Michael utters the word very fast.

I quickly try to find another word "It's stunning!" we all admire each other work, I look at my watch - close to five.

Edward returns, marching off the elevator "Oh, your working on the tree sunset? It's gorgeous!"

" FABULOUS," he says, looking at the zebra print outfit trimmed in rhinestones that Josephine is holding. "Is that Anne Slaters' new outfit?

M.K., "Yes, Ed, it is. Have Andrew, take all the silks that are finished to the dry cleaner, write down the address for Him," M.K. addresses me, "It's a nice walk down University Place." As I Head through Union Square Park towards University Place, in the setting sun of late winter, I notice people are gawking at the brilliant silks slung over my back, I have never felt so satisfied, and content in my entire life. 

I say "Fabulous" to myself, and silently laugh.

My first trip to South Beach in 1991, wearing print I designed while working at J.B.J. in Manhattan.


South Beach before redevelopment, I wish this original walkway to the street was kept.


# 1 reason I moved to S.B. - Color!


My Imaginary concept of Miami illustrated for Michael Katz

Welcome to my Live/Work Studio


My Washington Avenue porch was perfect for painting silk on.

Local model Jamie Ridge drops by and poses for me!


Watercolor of The Delano


A neighborhood photo shoot in front of Hotel St.Augustine.

My stunning neighbor modeling for me


My neighbor on the porch of Hotel St. Augustine 

A patron enjoying my space

Watercolor of  Angela my neighbor

Ahh, of my favorite regulars! Broadway producer Dasha Epstein wearing her hand-painted stripes.


A design idea for Dasha


Getting ready to go out with a friend


And were out, painting the town violet?


Fashion Croquis for Emerald Trellis Bias Pleated Cross Scarf Dress

The finished product on a Jennifer Aniston Look-a-like, or is it really her? -photo credit Jose Ivannes

Aqua Zebra Bias Slip-dress on Kimberly


Mint + Violet Bias Scarf Wrap Dress Construction Croquis


Scarf Wrap Dress on a local model photographed by Jose Ivannes.


Girl with Hibiscus


My new neighbor Violeta, from ST. Petersburg - RUSSIA.


Violeta modeling a bias slip top, Photo by Jose Ivannes.


Sketch from the 12th street gay beach.


"Workin the party" *note to self - "Free Champagne Crowd" does not purchase.


Turn of the Millineum Promo Card modeled by my sister Jenny.


 Another party, this one,...Ocean Drive's 10th anniversary - Photo credit - Jose Ivannes.


A Local South Beach Beauty.

Another local beauty, Camila via Brazil.


Pashmina, my resident porch cat. I miss You!

A youth from the neighborhood dropped by regularly with her mom for dress-up. 

Brunch with publicists Extrodinair Irene Moore, Cher Murphy, friends, and Mother.


Enjoying a visit with my cousin Chuck and his family.


Days of body beautiful (past), with the help of David Barton Gym and all their amazing trainers, instructors, and staff! photo-Susan Egan

Watercolor from my view of South Beach Proper. Want to read more about any of these images? Let me know what ones you are curious about, and perhaps I'll write more about it. Stay tuned for more images from Miami - My Fashion Shows and photoshoots by photographer Jose Ivannes.

As a soft spoken, Mid-level Awareness from the Dimension of Colour, I would like to acknowledge here, and now ~ I am a little bewildered as to where to begin, as my aspects are infinite. I sense... please understand ~ written and verbal language is secondary to my preferred choice of communication.

Let's start at the beginning. Consider this, what is your soul colour or colours? Is it singular or plural? Choose one, two, or several colours or the entire spectrum if that's what resonates on a spiritual level with yourself. Are they in one specific field, or do they encompass different ranges? Are these ranges side by side or opposing? Are there colours you choose to set them off with? If so, why, what does the pairing signify or accomplish? The possibilities and questions are endless; the choices are all yours.

Being Azure, my soul range is blue. Specifically, clean and clear blues on the pale side. Powder Blue, Periwinkle, Sky Blue, Baby Blue, Cloud Blue, Ice Blue, as well as shades influenced by the warmer neighbors of Aqua and Seagreen ~ Ceruleum and Seafoam. Our neighbor, on the other end - Violet, offers up her stunning Lavender and sensually scented Lilac for a complement.

French Ultra Marine and Cobalt are my central essences. I am distinguished when framed by Mid-night Blue or Indigo and cherished when set-off with Melons or Corals.

As a representative of the entire spectrum, I acknowledge the innate value, worth, and uniqueness of all colours. A rainbow is pure magnificence. My inner shades are more reflective and introspective, somewhat of a paradox of feelings - a balanced combination of joy and sadness that is my current reality.

Enough of myself. What about you? When did your colour(s) of personal alignment first speak to you, or persuade you to choose and identify them? Do you have a specific memory of such an event?

What do your favorite colours mean to you, and how do you feel as you think or experience them?

I feel expansive and secure, a sense of calmness as well. When adding my favored "set-off" colours, I feel whole and loved.

My earliest memory of identifying personal colours was as a toddler enjoying all the diversities of a full pack of crayons beside my mother.

"This is my favorite color, what is its name?"
"Cornflower Blue" - possibly my first recognition of letters; B~ L~ U~ E.
"It's see-through and so pretty; what are your favorite colors?" My mother holds my crayon between her long fingers, studies it, and picks out the melon Crayola and places the two side by side.

"These are my two favorite colors." I'm in awe of the combination; I feel love.

I encourage everyone to wear a stylish, beautiful scarf over their face mask when going out. Not only will it add beauty to our world, but it will let you reuse your mask, as you can easily decontaminate a scarf by ironing it on a high setting after and before each use. The Silk Bandanna sized scarves (apx.20"x20") that I make, and offer to sell to you are all one of a kind, and hand-painted and sewn by myself. They are luxury items priced under $100. If you are considering purchasing a new scarf, please review Vogue's online article titled "Right Now a Scarf is Your Best Friend" by Janelle Okwodu for price comparisons. Please note that of 24 similar sized scarfs shown, none are hand-painted or one of a kind, not even any of the five that are over $400!
Simply put, mine are a tremendous deal, and right now is a great time to purchase one or more. I recommend wearing mine with big sunglasses and a coordinating hat for extra levels of safety and mystery! Enjoy!

The Sedgeunkedunk Stream


The Sedgunkedunk is a stream located in Orrington Maine. It is the singular waterway that connects the Penobscot river, to Feilds Pond, and Brewer lake beyond. I am often curious as to the meaning of the peculiar sounding, Native American name. I once asked a Native friend of mine as to its origin, to which he replied: "White man came and dumped their junk." 


Knowing he was joking, or maybe half-joking I thought it very clever of him. I then discussed it with another friend of mine, a very creative, and forward-thinking woman, who also happened to be a native of Orrington. She said perhaps he was right, and maybe the literal translation is, "Smith's Junk", -Smith is the name of one of the Pastors of the "Smith Meeting House" located in East Orrington, as well as his estate adjunct to the Sedgeunkadunk. I thought that to be hysterical! My apologies to the respectable Smith family, I if I have offended any of them, I had the honor of delivering their newspaper as a boy, and they always tipped well.


I am very familiar with the portion of the Sedgeunkedunk that passes through East Orrington. Here it snakes along a wide sedge meadow, that is lined by series of Birch, Alder, Maple, and various, tall pine trees, that border a large descending field. This is the field of Meadow View Farm, where I spent my youth, and have later returned to live. 


This stretch of the Sedgeunkedunk is surrounded on both sides by large areas of wetland marshes. Growing here are vast amounts of sedge grass, water lily's, both white and golden, as well as numerous patches of Bulrushes,(Cat-Tails), cranberry bushes, and legion other types of wetland flora.


During the summer, I have greatly enjoyed my practice of painting the pink translucent petals of the white Water lily population, with my watercolors, while sitting in a canoe. At another location, Upon the ridge of the field, halfway up the hill I often sat painting the brilliant viridity of the undulating treeline along the banks of the field. 




 During the Fall and Winter, I have picked buckets of glistening crimson red cranberries while floating in the canoe or walking on the ice. Many hours of exultation were spent skating on the black ice of the winding, frozen stream, or the vast, open, tundra-like area of the silent, winter landscape before me.


 On one winter expedition, I tied Jag, our Norweigian Elkhound on a long length of rope, as he pulled me forward on my skates I basked in the awe-inspiring scenery. Jag plummeted ferociously ahead, running steady to the sounds of cracking ice being made beneath us. We would continue for miles like this until we'd reach the Brobdingnagian vastness of Feilds Pond. Upon the arrival of this unbearably icy, and windy domain we immediately began our return to the more hospitable region of the Sedgunkadunk. For the return trip, I would now have to pull, Jag back over the foreboding sounds of the cracking ice.



During spring, summer, and fall canoeing with the company of our enthusiastic Elkhound's was a preferred way of traversing this majestically verdant, and pristine waterway. While I immersed myself in the unique habitat, I'd let the elkhounds jump out of the canoe, to do there own exploring. One particular disturbing memory was when "Luba" the female Elkhound returned to the canoe with a duckling in her mouth.



 Trig, another male elkhound usually spent all his time relentlessly digging atop muskrat homes that populate the stream. He would alternate from barking loudly, to sniffing the intense smell of musk, and then proceeding to dig, repeating this cycle over and over until we returned home.


Once, while exploring I encountered a pair of Common River otters, swimming alongside the canoe. The elongated sinuous body streamlined into the dark ebony water beside me. I gawked at the elusive sensuality of their wet, leathery pelt. Unhindered they disappeared, flush beneath the saturnine waterway. 


Wildlife was so abundant along the Sedgeunkadunk that at any moment one would hear the loud ruffling wings of a lone Blue Herring taking flight, or the flop of a large fish jumping out of water. Upon looking in the direction of the plopping sound, all to be seen was a resonating series of circular rings echoing on top of the liquid ceiling.


One memorable outing was canoeing with my “naturalist" of a neighbor, June. As we reached the small floating island halfway down the stream, she encountered the presence of a very small spotted turtle. June picked it up, and gently rejoiced in her delicate acquisition. I new all turtles in these waterways were threatened and endangered. I also felt this one has such a magical, and unfettered life swimming in the depths of the Sedgeunkadunk, that I felt we should appreciate it and then return it to its bliss-full existence. So I asked her to put it back, with June lovingly did.




In various attempts to escape my prying curiosity, small flocks of Golden Eye Ducks, upon my approach, would immediately take flight as I  arrived in the eye-sight of their sacred habitat.  As they bounded into the air, a loud flutter of wings was heard and then a high, sweet whistling noise lasting several seconds until they relocated downstream, or upstream.


 I have always been in awe of this stunning species of duck, with their acute sense of alertness, and insistence of privacy from humans. I could never really get close enough to then document their splendor with a photograph.


Perhaps the most distinguished, pertinent, and tenacious, year-long resident of the Sedgeunkadunk is the Osprey. On the stretch of the stream that runs parallel to my parent's property this large raptor once nested.


I have witnessed Ospreys many times circling high above the stream. While scanning for fish far below, they seem to hesitate and hover mid-air while flapping their wide wings in slow motion, and then immediately, and definitively plummet, headfirst into the water to catch their prey.


Occasionally I am astonished to see a large pickerel captive in the snare of their talons, as the Osprey victoriously beats its massive wings against the water's surface until they are air bound again, and return to their nest to feed their mate, and young.


Ever too often, I am diss-concerned by seeing the failure of such a grand venture. I wonder if they will go hungry, at least for the time being, until they are triumphant again. For the Osprey to survive at these odds, they appear to me to be the ultimate example of perseverance.


Ever too often, I am diss-concerned by seeing the failure of such a grand venture. I wonder if they will go hungry, at least for the time being, until they are triumphant again. For the Osprey to survive at these odds, they appear to me to be the ultimate example of perseverance.




As a youngster, not a summer went buy that one of my siblings or myself did not encounter a snapping turtle. My Father used to capture large ones, and bring them home for us children to examine, he would teach us of their awesome strength, and danger. For this lesson, he would hold a long, study branch next to their neck, at which the ferocious prehistoric-looking turtle would snap at, and break it in half. Hear my father would say, "That could be one of your fingers If you were stupid enough to try to pick him up."

Sounds of Sedgeunkedunk

"There's music in the sighing of a reed; there's music in the gushing of a rill; there's music in all things; if men only had ears." -Byron


The sounds emanating from the habitat aside the Sedgeunkadunk change greatly with the seasons. In winter one hears the harsh rushing of the winds, the cold whispers of zephyr, or the innate, impregnable silence of the surrounding frost. Soon that reassuring silence is broken by the ruthless fracturing of ice.


When one walks upon the hardened snow, and ice a distinct crackling sound is heard with every step. I once took a video of my toy Pomeranian, Foxy, alongside the company of her wolf-like companion Jag. Foot-loose and fancy-free they both ran on top of the hardened snow, along-side a frozen, floating island that stands midway through this expanse of the Sedgunkadunk. When I play it back I am mesmerized by the sound of steady, constant crackling of snow being crushed underfoot.


On a less formidable winters day you can hear the chirp of chickadees, the up, and down notes of the Cardinal, and constantly hesitating peck and drumming of the Woodpecker, and the kawing of the local crows. A word of warning from the cautious Crow, "Never should one attempt to cross the frozen stream, there is a constant flow to the running stream, which melts the ice in the center rather quickly."


As winter comes to an end, and the ice melts in the center of the Sedgeunkadunk flocks of the bashful Golden Eye return. Again, as I cautiously approach with my camera in hand, they replay with circumspect splendor the whistling flutter of wings to avoid my presence. Ernest Hemingway refers to this sound as "the ripping of silk" in his novel "Old Man and the Sea". I love that description, as being a silk painter I have ripped many, yards of silk in my time.


On winter evenings you can hear the haunting rendition of the Bart Owls "who cooks for you?", repeated soulfully, over, and over as other types of owls, trill, and screech along. I am no expert on Owl hoots so I can not really tell you who's hooting who. 


Often I am woken up from deep sleep, to hear the unbashful, constant, and loud repetitive yipping of a pack of coyotes, announces to nature that they have made a kill.


At daybreak, in Orrington I often awake to the lovely ascending "oooOOOO hoooOOO hoooOOO" of the Morning dove, only to be interrupted by the loud jeer of a Blue jay.


 As spring evenings arrive there is one all-encompassing sound we all know. The spring peepers. Many are the night that I lay in bed, washed into to sleep by the constant "peep peep peeps" permeating through the air from the mating call of these melodious tree frogs.


In the summer all types of songbirds are heard, singing, and chirping away. There are so many, and they so well know and appreciated by so many, that it would be redundant to list them all here.


 I will focus on one outspoken citizen of the Segeunkadunk. The Red-winged Blackbird. Earnest is the sound of the cool crescendo from this thoughtful bird. My youngest sister once made a recording while standing beside the edge of the Sedgeunkadunk, a definitive noise rising above all the other chatter of summer birds, was the watery warbling that this bird imbues.


With the arrival of fall, my favorite sound to be experienced is that which one hears when startling a family of grouse, or other game birds in the bushes. The overwhelming sense of urgency that is made by their drumlike, fluttering of wings, rushes up before you, in what seems like an attempt to capture the sound of eternal struggle.