Design Beginnings

I am often asked, "when did you first become interested in design?" Hmmm. Well, let's see...

This is me, age five.

And this was my favorite book.

Can you tell that it's been my best-loved book? It has more than its fair share of rips and tears! I badly want a crisp copy, but Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse! has long been out of print- and books as tattered as mine sell for $60. What I have is a treasure in many ways.

The book is the illustrated portfolio of Ms. Henrietta Mouse. She is "an artist, a designer, a dreamer, a builder, a creator, all that and more too." She's designed a tower observatory for Owl, a cozy cave for Bear, a hopping pad for Frog. At five, I thought Pig's palace was the most splendid of them all. To be honest, I still think that tole chandelier is fabulous.

Click to see all the detail (can you spot Ms. Mouse?).

Here's my rendition. I've obviously taken some liberties with the layout.

It's funny to reflect (as I type this post at a desk strewn with paint chips, fabric swatches, and decor magazines), that I'm not so different from my five-year-old self. Yes, I now prefer fine-tipped pens to crayons, but I'm still drawing up elaborate plans, and Ms. Mouse still inspires me.

"Her head is like a carousel whirling with colors, fabrics, and designs. Look at her. Always at her drawing table, always creating for others. There she is roughing out her schemes and themes trying to change each creature's house from the commonplace to the extraordinary. For hours and hours she struggles to find perfection."
You and me both, Henrietta. So, maybe my answer is... when haven't I been interested in design?

Update: I scanned a few more amusing images of my earliest design projects. Quite the portfolio! You can view them at the Shock the Bourgeois Facebook page. Be sure to click "like" while you're there!

3 Have Spoken.:

andrea despot said...

this post is adorable! it's so awesome that you've been interested in design all your life! i can relate - there was never a moment that i didn't want to be an artist of some sort, i was always creating something, always known as being the artistic one in all of my classes, and it all just evolved into photography :)

Rosie said...

E, I adore this post!!! I would have loved that book as a child as well. Thanks so much for sharing with us...
Reminds me a bit of the Brambly Hedge stories, remember those?

Jane Flanagan said...

Adorable! I also think my obsession started with a book I read over and over. Though, it's a chicken and egg thing, since I was clearly drawn to that book in the first place!

Absolutely love this post. And look at you! So cute.