Once upon a dream there was a light. Time has nothing to do with it. And Everything. Sometimes stuck clocks still tick.
To say Magnolia Pearl is a time capsule is both true and false. We do not exist in time-time exists through us. Trying to abridge an era, an ethos or an aesthetic is not something that happens once, or that one ever completes. That Magnolia Pearl’s garments and installations appear as world in progress is a gimmick.
If people knew they didn’t have to finish books they would read more.
Think of it this way: a girl gazing at her mother’s spinning wheel sees magic made before her eyes. It’s Rumpelstiltskin writ real: trading possessions and making deals, keeping a keen eye and a pure heart and spinning spinning spinning on love and luck. Many fairy tales have spinning wheel at the root, symbol of duty, rite of passage. Magnolia Pearl’s tale has such a wheel, and what it spins isn’t just clothing, but a revolution.
Magnolia Pearl’s visionary-creatrix ranges from the plains of the Wild West to the sooty back alleys of Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Where Native American culture and Victorian sensibilities meet in a mutual fascination that doesn’t gloss over any imperialist appropriation but instead focuses on what would have been. What could have been had the sense of wonder stayed intact, remained the focus. What could have been had those in power respected the commandments of those native to our land, namely: “Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not be a coward. Thou shalt acknowledge the wonder.” -D.H. Lawrence
It’s Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show performing for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, but instead of the old lady just sitting there, she jumps right in the wagon with Calamity Jane and they hit the trail.
Levity and reverence in balance with the natural world. An eye for seeing, for crying and crinkling in laughter. For narrowing at those who cause pain and widening to see the scope of the table they sat at. Inviting them to a tea of riddles and shifting seats, a musical chairs where we all trade hats and realize we’re all in this riddle together.
Staying open to awe allows.
Magnolia Pearl’s receptivity to wonder weaves through their garments, installations, spaces, books-objects that do not merely fill space, but create it. Each piece of clothing answers expansive to both the god or goddess within as well as the in a ritual revealing what’s underneath. Sometimes we need to be able to touch myth.
Sometimes we need to put out hand through the looking glass.
People sometimes look for clothes to define them, or look to their reflection for all they cannot see within. Magnolia Pearl makes clothing for humans: generally unisex, intuitively cut clothing with a buttery feel and a worn integrity-wearable talismans, clothing for the journey. The shirt may have a poem on the wrist but it’s your quest to see how the words unfold. The items are for sale but they are offerings.
Wardrobes have the same feel—a walk alongside spirits, a warden of stories. A sense of place that is no place and all places, a wormhole between hoop skirts on the ceiling and moccasin mandalas at your feet. Her you realize that Alice’ looking glass isn’t a flat mirror but an orb—that reflects as well as absorbs light, twists and flips it, turn objects upside-down. Which is how we see anyway.
The opportunity to create is a gift. In your hands right now you hold a magazine called
What Women Create. And it’s full of manifestations of the dreams of female-identifying beings. We are so lucky to live in this time where we are being called to recognize and support each other, an infinite feminine’s names extending beyond the women’s realm to heal all.
As Anaïs Nin wrote in her essay, “Women Constructing The World, ” women carry “a guilt for creating…and a guilt for not creating.” By creating I don’t mean only or specifically painting or composing music or writing books. I mean creating everything—creating a child, creating a garden, creating a house, creating a community, whatever it is.
For me creativity is an all-encompassing word.”
What Robin Brown creates is Magnolia Pearl. This translates to many tangible things, the likes of which words near or better experienced against skin, in front of eyes, beneath nose. The intangible is where her creations take on new life, where they dance—because what Robin Brown creates includes community, family and love. Built on the shoulders of so many women who created so much without a word or ever written of it. Magnolia Pearl creates wonder.