WRITE DESIGN by Gail Ingis, ASID*
Writing takes more than putting words on paper. Like broadly-scoped art, there are applicable concepts. Writing is creative, right? Creativity and art are parallel, and in all art, there are similarities. Which tools do you use, blank sheet of paper versus blank canvas, keyboard versus sketching pencil, paint brush, camera . . .
Each week my blog will utilize those concepts, like in the books of Dixon and Bickham in their writing or Georgia O’Keefe or Albert Stieglitz or John Singer Sargent in their art. For me, having been degreed and experienced in several arts, such as interior design, architecture, painting, photography, dance, criticism, like the writing of Goldberger or Muschamp, the concepts are similar. Concepts that will impact descriptions in your books.
Today I’m writing about the word “Drape.”
Is it Drapes or Draperies?
I have a bone of contention with the English-speaking world. Drapes is a verb, Draperies is a noun. I’ll explain. I learned the use of the word, drape/draperies at the New York School of Interior design BFA program. I bet you’re thinking it’s jargon. No. It’s grammar.
Me being curious about everything, I checked online to see if this issue had ever been addressed. Low and behold, I found a blog by Mark Scott Drapery Design from December 2009, in total agreement with me, so this blob is a reblog. It’s obvious that Mark understands English grammar, and he most likely has worked with NYSID* interior designers. Thanks Mark Scott!
Needless to say that I was delighted to find someone in this world, other than my design colleagues, that understand the use of the words. No more confusion.
Mark Scott’s reblog: Whenever asked this question I unequivocally respond, “Most definitely, Draperies.” You see, drape is a verb. To drape. As in, He draped his coat over the chair and looked menacingly into her eyes, as if to say, ‘Don’t even think about calling those beautiful window treatments drapes!’ Or, She draped her shawl over her shoulder, rolled her eyes while lighting a cigarette, and loudly asked, in an accusatory voice, ‘Where the hell did you get those god-awful drapes?’
Now, if you sell window treatments for a living, as I do, keep in mind that people do not want to pay good money for a verb. Verbs are fleeting. Always in motion and seldom ready to stand alone. They need a subject or object to lean on. People want something self-reliant, long-lasting – something that’s gonna stick around for a while – like a noun. It’s stationary, fixed, not goin’ anywhere and proud of it.
I prefer terminology that suggests longevity and permanence (and that will increase my income potential, of course). Let vagabonds and Philistines have their drapes. Give me my draperies, sir, or prepare to be publicly draped in insult and shame!
So Mark, maybe now our public will refuse to be shamed because they know how to use the verb drape and the noun draperies. Of course you can save yourself anguish if you say ‘curtain.’ But those are usually shorties that shrink your window, Oops did I say something naughty? Next week, we can talk about the difference between floor-to-ceiling draperies and short curtains covering the window only. Tricks to fool the eye, spoken from a pro. Now we are talking about writing descriptions in your book(s).
Mark, may I give you a thumbs up for your skill with draperies? https://www.draperyguru.com/
*American Society of Interior Designers
*New York School of Interior Design