Sunday, February 6, 2011

for the rare, the intellectual and the unsharing.

Sometimes when you acquire a piece of clothing it seems to become part of you. You wear it so often it assumes a bit of who you are, or at least how you feel when you wear it. Your attachment to it travels a bit past need and into identification. This sounds very weird and spiritual but have you found it's true? 
My mum gave me a Witchery cardigan when I was sixteen. It was 100% wool but lightly woven, slim fitting down the arms, straight cut through the torso but skimming my body close enough to keep my shape and in the deepest, softest navy you ever saw. I lived in it- literally. That was the only cardigan in rotation for the next... six? years (and frequently hand-washed, thank you.) It was perfect-; I didn't want another cardy, I didn't need one. It was warm enough on cool summer nights, it layered easily under every jacket I cared to throw on top, it matched everything- and I only admitted defeat when the holes were so big my elbows went right through. (I still wear it to bed in winter.) 
For me, as well as being a practical item (and light enough for the vagaries of the Australian weather) it represented comfort and ease in my own skin- I felt that way when it wasn't on too, but it seemed to affirm those sentiments when I was wrapped up in it. Not to be too poetic about it (who, me?) there is something sensory and transformative about clothing when it is worn- if you strip away the thoughts about the social function of clothing (am I dressed appropriately?) and thoughts about the outward visual projection (how will this make me appear?) and think for a moment on how clothes work inwardly, the way they make us in ourselves is wonderful to consider.*
Well, so it is with my Young Hunting Guillotine Ring which I have rhapsodised about many a time but here's why- it instantly became one of those part-of-me items. Despite being solid silver, I don't notice it's weight on my finger; despite it's sharp, rough edges, it never cuts me; despite how high it sits off my finger, it doesn't slip or snag on things. It is savage and sharp, it is smooth and strong. It simply delights me, a very immediate pleasure. What is interesting to notice is how people respond to it- most kind of recoil and stare, before asking what it is. Sometimes I hand it over and have been surprised by their exclamation that 'it's so heavy!'; most look at it dubiously, turning it over in their palm before handing it back. But there are some people who get it and it is so interesting to see who they are. It's like we're part of a Sensibilities Club, the shared part of our identities revealed only by our identical reaction to the ring. They delight in the shape and balance of it, chuckle when I talk about how I love the implied violence of it ('you of all people'), the rawness of it (for it looks as if it's been carved from a piece of sheer rock.) It's hardly come off my finger since I got it so look for me in six years and I'll be the one with the flattened ridge behind my knuckle where it had to be cut off with pliers because my finger swelled around it. I'm not even joking.

*Stella's work goes into this consideration in ways that this brief Sunday-morning ramble cannot. In short, she is brilliant and maybe one day I'll convince her to guest post and collectively blow us away with her incredible thoughts. For now, you're stuck with me (suckahs!)

1 comment:

  1. I have a ring that definitely has an effect on me when I wear it. And a different effect again when worn in combination with another ring. It isn't a daily ring, though; the expense and personal attachment mean it is more for special occasions.