Winterview Series, Part 2-Susan Hashem, Seamstress Extraordinaire

For an antique store, Flutter has a surprising amount of consistency. We always have great jewelry and perfume, we always have terrific couches and chairs, and we always have gorgeous handmade pillows and throws made by our excellent seamstress, Susan Hashem. She began her career in design at the Academy of Art in S.F., made her way accross the continent to become a fashion stylist in New York, then came back to the lovin arms of the west coast to work her magic through interior design. Susan’s got a sharp eye for color and texture, and she makes absolutely perfect seams. She can sandwich thick loops of grosgrain in the seams and still manage to make it all nice and neat. How do you do it, Susan?

FLUTTER- What works of art do you find inspiring? music? film? books?

SUSAN HASHEM- My favorite artist of all time is Henry Darger, a self-taught reclusive artist with questionable mental capacity who made other peoples trash into fantastical fantasies.

I think the most inspiring music for me is dark and moody. Music that conjures up the grey rainy weather of the Northwest. Nick Cave’s “The Boatman’s Call” is my favorite album of all time…no wait..”No More Shall We Part”….Hmm. I also love anything by Mark Lanegan. He has one of the most beautiful voices, he brings me to tears.
But there are those nights when I like to blast Mudhoney at top volume. Can’t be mopey all the time!

Film: All time favorite..Wings of Desire. Beautiful film. Wim Wenders is genius. I love the poem in the movie “When the Child Was a Child” by Peter Handke, and angels roaming Berlin listening to peoples thoughts, Peter Falk, a trapeze artist, circus wagons, NIck Cave, profound loneliness and profound love. How could you go wrong?

Books? I read a lot. Helps me sleep. So many I can’t remember mostly. I have two exceptions- #1, Roald Dahl: his short stories, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach. I love his fantastical imagination. I wish he could have been my grandfather!
#2 exception: Kurt Vonnegut. Dead Eye Dick and Galapagos are my two favorites.

F-If you could chose a few other professions, any at all, school-be-damned, what would they be?

SH-I would be a collector of the bizarre . Medical oddities, wax anatomical models. Taxidermy. Maybe have a traveling trunk show. Or maybe I’d be a perfumer- patchouli, vetever, coconut and vanilla…mmmm

F-If you had an astronomical budget for materials, what strange and beautiful things would you work with? Where would you live?

SH-I would buy the most beautiful old fabrics and trims I could find. Dark cut velvets and old embroidered silks. Oh, and feathers and silk ribbons. Trims! Mountains of it! Heaped around me! I would have to live in a big Italianate Victorian that has hand painted wallpaper and dark heavy drapes and a big beautiful green tufted sofa. I like Portland. I will stay here.

F- If you could live in the past, in any era, when and where would you live? why?

SH- Although I love the Victorian era it would be too stifling as a woman. I like my freedom….I like it now. I would live now.

F-The best way to spend a rainy day is…Sleeping late, listening to music, making things, and stirring up a pot of soup.

P.S.- Check out Sonia (URCHIN) in the Eco-Elegant fashion show this saturday!