September 3, 2015

9/3/15 – Old Soul, Youngblood

Artist:  Elizabeth Youngblood

Location: Original Pancake House, Grosse Pointe

Breakfast:

EY – Water (no ice), fresh strawberry crepes w/ whipped cream, one scrambled egg

SRS – Coffee (black), Eggs over easy, bacon, side of pancakes w/ fresh strawberries and whipped cream

Usually I don’t focus too much on the breakfast side of things, but Elizabeth unknowingly suggested my hands-down favorite breakfast place in all the world. My relationship with OPH would be unhealthy if I didn’t have a hard-and-fast rule that I only go there with out of town guests. And like many of my hard-and-fast rules, I am willing to bend it a little, when it comes to BWTA. I don’t care if you’re judging me, because I am eating pancakes, ha ha.

Anyway, the pancakes were the least of it, today. Elizabeth is a woman absolutely brimming with memories, each of them connecting to the next, in a kind of oral history of breakfast places that once were but are no longer (RIP Steak Hut), of returning to her native Detroit, of instructions about how not to destroy sweaters in the wash. About three minutes into her (riveting, for real) discussion of the effects of different temperatures of water and degree of agitation on the “scales” of the wool, I realized that Elizabeth is a fiber artist. I didn’t know this, because the work I’ve seen is spare, wire based, drawings…all of which sources with her original engagement with fiber arts and weaving (and ceramics. I think these go together better than people realizes sometimes).

Fiber art? Yep! Image courtesy of the artist.

Fiber art? Yep! Image courtesy of the artist.

Even later in the conversation, when we were getting down to some serious business around racism and xenophobia, Elizabeth speaks in fiber terms, discussing the needs to weave cultures, make a fabric of society. I love a patchwork approach, but I appreciate what she’s saying, and certainly the way she’s saying it.

We talked about girlfriends. I was thinking how funny it is that close girl friends can let you down in ways that you just throw up your hands and shrug when men do it. There’s something significant about the women we keep close to our hearts, the expectations we hold for them, that we don’t even bother to try to apply to romantic partners. How unfair, and how telling.

Hours and pancakes flew by, and as we made to depart, Elizabeth said, “We didn’t even get to talk about art!” Nope, not this time. She is so freaking sharp, she got it right away. She was like, “Well, you know the ways that talking about art, especially your own art, can be problematic. This way, we’re building up a relationship, so we know how to talk to each other, first.” Exactly, Elizabeth. Exactly. If BWTA was a book, you’d have just scored the front cover blurb.

Looking forward to more breakfasts with this one.

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