WELCOME TO 

MEMORIES
In the decade of 1970 I found my currency to be imagination and ingenuity.

Beginning life on my own, just out of college, I made dust into diamonds, from a coat for a hot date, which became The Muslin Mink, to reversible dishes that could be used twice and washed once. I used the most common, natural and honest materials to create luxurious clothing, home goods and artwork. I made sculpture and dishes out of clay. I made paintings, rugs, lamps, shoes, walls and sculptures out of newspaper. The most basic form of cotton known as muslin was used to fashion paintings, bed covers, pillows, dresses, coats and fabric by the yard. With help from my friends, I turned a factory into a studio and a storage yard into a garden. The beach was my desk. I walked until a solution was found, then returned. Freedom was mine. I had only to pay the rent and eat. When times got tough, I would treat myself to a cappuccino. Practicality, Beauty and Discovery motivated me. My interest in combining and layering of disparate things began. I began watching things at rest and having an unusual mix of guests to dinner. I used symbols or icons and vivid color in a time when minimalism, Shades of Grey and amorphous shapes were everywhere. I saw a lawyer and got my first patent on the muslin mink coat, a washable cotton fur. At that time a mink coat or stole was a symbol of high living. I referred to it as the depression mink because the country was in a recession and I felt everyone should be able to own a "mink."

 

In 1980 I put everything into 4 trunks and came east to live above the ground.

Instead of a garden, my front door opened onto a hallway with stairway, 6 flights up. I began a new kind of life in NYC, Where I was told "parties are for networking, not for fun!!" No car was needed, and I actually began to wear out shoes walking. To make myself at home in my NYC loft, I made a table that was fish pond, desk and dining combined. Instead of the beach the city streets became my thinking space. I found privacy on the avenues, complete invisibility among millions of people. I could wander aimlessly feeding my five senses, and be distracted or not as I wished... I wore one hot pink shoe and one blue shoe just to see startled looks. I became fascinated with the undeveloped world on the rooftops and painted my ideas of what could be. My drawings of shadow people emerged, perhaps about the millions who I could see in their windows at night, but who never saw me. Miniature people drawings began as I contemplated the human condition. I asked which one receives the pleasure. Can it be both the soft boiled egg and the person who sits on it? Living closer to Europe I spent one month out of every three in northern Italy. My dentist, art dealer and yoga teacher were there. I did hand painted editions of dishes in Tuscany for Barney's, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Being fascinated by the faces I saw in Italy, I began portrait drawings with incongruous painted borders. I developed dresses and raincoats hand painted with my designs on the 100 foot floor of my loft. I became curious about production processes. I liked talking to the zipper man and the button man. I liked having an espresso with the sewers and watching the cutters lay up the goods. I moved into silk screening the raincoats and having them laminated. I designed a way to mass produce the minks and received my second "Muslin Mink" patent, a process patent. I created advertising and a company to mass produce them in all sizes from children to plus. Four of my favorite projects were a ceramic shower in NYC, Windows on 15th Street, NYC, a ceramic floor piece in Genoa Italy and a painted swimming pool in Los Angeles.

 

In the 1990s I became a mother.

 

I oversaw the growth of my child as well as the Muslin Mink business.

I spent time in playgrounds with sand, water and lots of children, moms, dads and nannies. I maintained a staff of 18 in a 10,000 square foot loft with a river view. There were multiple sewing and cutting contractors in-state and showrooms across the country. I did sketches for clothing and home d�cor shapes. Pattern makers made the patterns. Sample makers cut and sewed them for approval. We did 300 designs per season, 5 seasons a year, making sample lines for out-of-state showrooms and attending their market week shows. The Muslin Minks were now produced in hand woven silks and cottons, lace, linen, flannel plaids, denim, velvet, madras and prints for daytime or evening, office or play, spring time or winter. An original hand painted cut and sewn "Muslin Mink" became a part of the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a full length Mink with a zip off bottom, so that it becomes a short coat. I developed a table linen line when Bergdorf Goodman asked us to do napkins in our wonderful hand woven fabrics with Muslin Mink trim. I designed the collection to be washable with no ironing. Simply beautiful is my tag line. In 1993 we were asked and honored to do the table linens for the 11th Annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards by the Central Park Conservancy. Bed linens came next. I designed with our beautiful hand woven silks creating my own pallet of mood setting colors for duvets, pillows, robes and guest towels. Bill Clinton is said to have wiped his hands on one of my guest towels when he was president. Designs from my drawings were silk screened onto cotton and linen for sheets and duvets. Elements in my drawings, like water pools and fish, became unusual fun sculptural pillows. My focus was on beauty, comfort and easy care. We produced for fine specialty stores, department stores and catalogues. I liked to draw friends who came to visit. I made large black and white portraits with colorful borders. Large multi-piece paintings began from individual drawings put together and painted over to become one. I started drawing flowers and noticed that they would lean toward each other in the vase over time as I drew them.

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Copyright 2010-2020 Paula Sweet    all rights reserved    Message phone +1-347-850-3502    paula@paulasweet.com 
Muslin Mink, Paula Sweet Paris and Joy Power Mink are registered trademarks of Paula Sweet

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