Polka Dots and Camouflage


Yayoi Kusama’s Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees at the Singapore Biennale 2006 on Orchard Road, Singapore

"A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colourful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots can't stay alone; like the communicative life of people, two or three polka-dots become movement... Polka-dots are a way to infinity"

Yayoi Kusama


The other morning I caught a glimpse of an early morning talk show where one of the hosts came out wearing a very ruffled, polka-dot blouse with green camouflage pants all while sporting a winning smile and fabulous stilettos. I wouldn't have thought to combine both of those very distinctive prints and I was suddenly very proud of this lady. She pulled off this unique fashion statement with an impressive nonchalance and devil-may-care attitude. Of course, that was just my immediate thought. What if she thought long and hard, toiled night and day about her outfit choice? What if she was dressed by a stylist backstage and had no part in her wardrobe choice? What was it that pulled it all together? In the end, it was her personality. It really had nothing to do with her clothes at all. She lit up the room with a genuine smile that would make the Cheshire Cat look only mildly amused.

We all want to put our best foot forward and present ourselves in the best possible light but I believe most of us still follow the conventional fashion norms that today's society permit. When you're in the entertainment business or the arts, there is much more room to experiment with different styles to find what ultimately suits your personality best. But there we go again, that word "personality" keeps popping up.

What do you suppose comes to mind when someone thinks about you? What image do they have of you? Are you a polka dot person or are you more of a houndstooth person? Are you a jeans and t-shirt person or a crisp blouse and pencil skirt person? Asking all these questions, I realized that's what we all want to do. We want to put people in a nice, neat, little box. We want to forget for just a moment that people are complex. There are so many aspects of someone's personality that there probably aren't even close to enough fashion choices out there to cover every single one.

Now, you may say that there are many people that do wear similar items every day. That's what they are comfortable with and there's nothing wrong with that. We wear what we feel comfortable in and what we think looks good on us. That's where implementing a process of elimination comes in handy at times. We've all had a wild hair and tried on something we've never thought of wearing before just to see how it looks, am I right? Some of these times we are pleasantly surprised and other times more horrified than seeing a zombie feeding scene from "The Walking Dead". 

The need to change things up a little can also go beyond just your wardrobe. I suppose that is why I hope to keep doing things and trying things that aren't necessarily expected. I never know what old piece of furniture is going to speak to me. I never know what direction I'm going to take with it until I do. The only constant that I want to portray when it comes to me and my work is that I CARE. I care a great deal. I care about what I do. I care about what I put out there. I care about people. I care about what other people care about. I care about my words and I care about my actions. I believe that's what makes all the difference, the level of care and attention one puts into anything they do.

There are some who say that the less you care, the happier you'll be. Well, that may be true for many and I would never begrudge what works for others. In my case however, I prefer to care. It may be welcoming more burden or possible stress but it's part of my personality and I happen to like caring a great deal about a great many things. Now that I think about it, of all the things there are to care about, wearing polka dots and camouflage shouldn't be up there with global warming or world peace. It should be seen for what it is, a beautiful and personal reflection of your unique personality.

Speaking about looking better, how about my latest transformation on this antique, hexagonal table!


The gentleman I purchased it from placed an ad on Facebook and listed it with the description "old antique weird table".  It turns out he had a retail warehouse full of discarded treasure and I fought the urge to roam around. I wanted to discipline myself to focus on one project at a time. I explained to him what I do with neglected furniture pieces and he asked if I had a shop. "Oh no, just online for now" I replied. He stated that he didn't blame me for that because the only way he could afford his space was because he picked it up for a song 30 years ago. Other than discussing the exorbitant state of rents in California, I was checking out the damage to the top of the table which was conveniently covered by a silk plant. I was looking at a full veneer replacement because the wood underneath was not something I would want to highlight.

 I ended up peeling off all the existing veneer and replacing the top by cutting the hexagonal shape out of a 3ft by 3ft piece of oak veneer and gluing it on top of the existing walnut table.

By using a pecan stain on the oak top and part of the existing walnut top, it created a two-tone effect that I then decided to add a corresponding center design to enhance it even more. The base was my version of a slate blue making sure to highlight all of beautiful turned leg details with carbon glaze and petticoat milk paint.


I met Michael at a Starbucks near his work. When he arrived we both expressed that we hoped the rain clouds would hold off until he loaded up the merchandise. I was slightly surprised that a man was interested in my little table. Not because of the table but because men don't seem to be my major demographic as of yet. That's when I found out that this was to be a surprise for his wife who's been looking for just the right table for their entry way. He mentioned his first shift at work just ended and he was only working on 45 minutes of sleep the night before. He had a few hours before working another 9 hour shift. I love hearing about the lives of the people I sell my items to. I genuinely enjoy and relish in all the details they share with me. It may be just a glimpse into their lives but I am always amazed how much you can learn about someone in a short amount of time.

I learned that this man was kind, generous and hard-working. He cares about his wife and family to be sure. He respects other's time by arriving at the prearranged scheduled time and was gracious by allowing me to take his picture. So I'm guessing Michael is sort of like me, he cares about an awful lot. 

Whether you care about polka dots and camouflage or finding ways to surprise a loved one, it is all proof that there is much to care for and it's people that make it all worthwhile.

I thought I would attach and dedicate the song "Ain't That Love" by the legendary Ray Charles in honor of Michael and his beloved wife who loved her surprise!

 https://www.youtube.com/Ain't That Love by Ray Charles

Always stay classy,

Julie Hickman

Project Vintage US



Thank you for taking the time to read my blogpost and feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. I started writing pieces and posts to prove to myself I could articulate my thoughts in a way that made sense. I realized soon after that it was somewhat therapeutic to express my thoughts about life's mysterious twists and turns as well as all the wonderful lessons we learn on the way.


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