WOULD YOU LIKE TO TOUCH IT?
The following is a guest blog by Marla Miranda describing one of the many hilarious happenstances at Nolcha Shows
“She said she needs a pasta machine to make clothes,” said my dining companion, Michelle, covering her phone speaker. We were having lunch at Barbuto in between Nolcha runway shows during New York’s Fashion Week.
Sipping my wine, I answered, “Tell her we’ve got it.”
Michelle looked up from her phone bewildered, “I think she said ‘make clothes’.” Her confusion was understandable. This was her initiation into Barton Sculptures. For Michelle, until now, styling the official artist of Nolcha meant knowing the sculptor’s dress size and fashion preferences. Here was a rare peek into Barton’s world. Having spent a considerable amount of time with Laurie Barton and in her studio, I understood that, for Laurie, anything is repurposed as a sculpting tool. Imagination is the only limit.
“She did,” I laughed.
We turned to Barbuto staff and asked where we would find the nearest kitchen supply store.
“Chelsea Market,” Katy told us definitively as her hand motioned outside our café table. “It’s about seven blocks down. Just straight down this street, turn on 14th and you’ll see it.”
Chelsea Market! Of course! And it’s close by! I thought nothing about a seven-block walk. After hiking several of Virginia’s finest trails and summits, what was a seven-block city walk? I had already spent four hours in my strappy black heels – no problem, right?
We took off on our mission. Past Christian Louboutin’s windows, past the Samsung Fashion Week party, past Diane Von Furstenberg, past the Maybelline pop-up where they offered to photograph our auras (Auras! how could we pass this up?). For Michelle, a stylist, passing these shops without entering was an emotional conflict. But Laurie, Michelle’s client and our friend, was waiting for us to complete our pasta machine mission. So we stayed focused. (Ok, we dawdled for two minutes but we reminded ourselves that the show and Barton sculpting must go on!)
That morning, while the band warmed up for the first runway show sending steady electronic beats toward Barton’s workspace, Laurie asked me to take a look at the pasta machine she transported from her Virginia studio. The machine was jammed and not rolling out clay the way it should. These flattened clay strips would be molded into clothing for the newest member of Barton’s gallery: her New Girl. I did the best I could with a slim, steel tool poking out clumps of clay jamming the pasta machine before placed it back on Barton’s swiveling work table; I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. When her phone call asking about a new machine came in, I was not surprised.
We arrived at Chelsea Market buzzing with the city’s energy. Our lunchtime water and wine was clearly felt and although it helped numb the effect of “cute” shoes against our toes, we realized that a pit stop was imperative. Where do we find the restroom here?
“Straight down this way and past the waterfall,” said Market Security. (Did he say waterfall??) No time to question; just act. Find the waterfall, find the facilities, find the kitchen supply store. Return to Barton Sculptures.
After clearing the women’s room line that stretched from here to eternity, we reached The Bowery Kitchen Supplies.
“Pasta machine?” we asked.
“Just to the left behind the glass,” said a refined gentleman in a black apron.
There they were in the glass case – amidst food scales, ravioli crimpers, and pierogi molds! Let the angel choirs sing!
Locked glass was the first clue. Pressed against the display case, shielding the glare from my eyes with my left hand, I put my right palm flat against the glass.
“Would you like to touch it, dahling?” the gentleman smiled.
I was speechless. I nodded yes. In a flash, he was gone and returned with a key. I pulled down a machine from the shelf. The tag reflected almost a hundred American dollars. So, it wasn’t the lighting glare, I thought. I stared at the machine. At the tag. Back at the machine.
I turned to the gentleman, “I’m not making pasta with this.” I felt that I had to explain my hesitation. “This is for the official artist of a New York Fashion Week show. She’s a sculptor. Her pasta machine is jammed. She can’t make clothes.” This all made perfect sense to me.
The gentleman, a New Yorker who’s seen and heard every story ever told, answered, “Can’t she use a rolling pin?” Aha! He had a sense of humor, a heart, and understood my dilemma! I went to lunch, ordered a pizza, and came back with a high-end pasta machine. Not exactly the usual craft store special I thought I was looking for when I started this mission. I phoned Laurie and followed up with a text. No response.
“I have several, all sizes, “he offered. “Would you like to see and touch?” His tone was mellifluous. He motioned to the rolling pins.
So I touched one for him.
“You could bring back a rolling pin and not say anything about the pasta machine…”he suggested.
A pasta machine. A rolling pin. The right answer hung in the balance.
“At some point, Laurie said, you’ve got to suck it up and pay the price tag,” remembered Michelle. She was reminding us of an earlier conversation when Laurie was talking about the cost of dry ice for a photo shoot. This was a Maserati-like pasta machine in front of us and not dry ice, but what was the difference, right?
“We’ll take the machine,” I said, patting its gleaming metal.
The gentleman smiled, escorted us to the store front and after my quick monetary transaction, we were on our way back to Barton Sculptures. Past Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, and aura photographs. As fast as our flying high heels would take us. And the show would go on.