Wednesday, September 30, 2015

the story behind: the 'dress of poetry ...'

"You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves."  Mary Oliver
'dress of poetry ...'  the story:  

'dress of poetry ...' 2007

this dress comes from my rediscovery of poetry and a deep desire to celebrate this revival. As I student I did not understand much of the poetry that I was taught, hence I didn’t read poetry once I was done with school. So for decades I avoided poetry but thanks to the magic of poet Mary Oliver, I wasn’t a lost cause.

me with author/poet Heather Panahi
It was near the start of the ‘dressproject’ and a friend introduced me Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese, and I fell in love. I suddenly saw that poems had so much to offer, they were paintings, but instead of paint and brushstrokes they used words, creating emotion, still-life and stories, little snippets of life and our surroundings. It was during this budding love affair that my dear friend and fine author, Heather Panahi, wrote a poem inspired by my dressproject and with that I knew that I was to make a dressproject dress/sculpture of poetry.

For the next weeks I could be seen carrying mountains of poetry books where ever I went. I read and researched many poems for this dress, choosing the ones that either represented a passage in my life; such as my experience in high school when I had the honor of hearing Gwendolyn Brooks read her poem We Real Cool, or ones that constituted a new discovery which spoke to me; like The Secret by Denise Levertov. I was immersed in the world of imagery, alliteration and rhyme and loving it.

my dad with me before the opening

As I collected more and more poems I decided to make this dress be one that I could wear, and this still is the only dress from my dressproject that can be worn. I was intrigued by the idea of wearing the poems, being surrounded and embraced by all the wondrous words. As the word spread that I planned to wear my ‘dress of poetry …’ to an opening reception friends became curious. They asked me if I was going to produce a book of the poems. They explained that I would need something so that people will be able to read the poems that they had watch me collect for months. My answer to this inquiry was a resounding ’no’. I explained that I had designed the dress so that the poems were printed on panels which people could lift up to read.

part of fashion show in SOWA

To this my friends laughed and reminded themselves that I had not grown up in the Boston area; then they explained to me, ‘no Bostonian is going to touch you or the dress, even if it is just to read the poems.’ They were quasi-correct, it was only later in the evening that some folks worked up the nerve to read my dress, and I believe that was thanks to the open bar.

' Upon further Consideration'
at Regis College, 2011
Since the opening reception the ‘dress of poetry ….’ has inspired myself and others in numerous venues, and has lead to other poetic projects. In 2012, I had the honor of working with the Attleboro Public Library and the Attleboro community , creating the collaborative installation, the ‘birds of poetry’. During the project, the ‘dress of poetry’ held court in the library as the ‘birds of poetry’ took flight through the library’s atrium.
'poetic' 4 dec. 2013
part of my decemberdresses series 

The ‘dress of poetry …’ cemented my personal love of poetry. Through its creation and its exhibits I have discovered more and more wonderful poems, and I have witnessed the power of poetry, in children, in adults, in students and in myself.

holding court at the
attleboro Public Library
'birds of poetry ...' 2012

'bird of poetry ...' 2012
 links to related blog posts mentioned above:

The Peace of Wild Things
mixed media illustration of another one of
my favorite poems ... but I have so many!!!
peace, va

Friday, September 18, 2015

happenings ....

'skywarrior II .... ' installed at Art on the Trails,
Hopkinton, MA
It is the fall and that means lots o'stuff going on ... school starting, summer ending and in a month ...
Natick Artists 
Open Studios!!! 
So before I fall into a black hole of activity, I just want to get some information out into the world!!!

First, THIS weekend, on Saturday, September 19th, at 2PM, there is going to be a celebration of poetry in Hopkinton at the exhibit, Art on the Trail.  This is the outdoor sculpture exhibit where 'sky warrior II ...' has been holding court since August 1st.

It is a lovely collection of sculptures, scattered along Hopkinton's Center Trail, curated by sculptor, Michael Alfano, and tomorrow twenty area poets will present their poems inspired by the installation and sculptures.  This poetry presentation was organized by Polly Brown and Cheryl Perreault.

Click here to view the electronic collection of the poems to be presented tomorrow.  It is lovely to see that my piece, 'sky warrior II ...' has inspired some of the verses.

"Poetry on the Trail" 
21 poems inspired by an exhibit of sculpture 
on Hopkinton’s Center Trail 

Spider Woman, by Cathy Weaver Taylor 

This Heartbeat in the Woods I Hear 
inspired by Virginia Fitzgerald’s heartbeat dress

There is a heartbeat beating in these reticent woods how it reverberates
the ancient, patient message how the wind listens

and tells the trees to listen too
how the trees speak to the birds
and the birds sing out
this message to the world.
There are no secrets here.
There is no gossip in the branches. Nothing here is insignificant.
There is simple, sacred promise
that the earth loves every single living thing. Everything is beating life out loud. Everything here is creation.

Cheryl Perreault 

Also on the horizon is the
Natick Artists 
Open Studios 
and this year I AM participating.
I missed last year as there was just too much other life stuff taking my attention!!
But I am happily revving up for the big weekend .... SO MARK your CALENDARS!!!!
In prepping for the big weekend, the NAOS committees have been getting art into different venues around Natick and I am happy to say that I have a piece in the "People" exhibit at the Morse Institure Library.  I contributed this wonderful photography of graffiti in Chelsea, NYC.  Many people who see it assume that it is collage but not by me, I just saw this wonderful scene and clicked!!!

I realize there is so much more to share ...
but I think this is enough for now!!

Also my awesomely creative artist friend, Christina Zwart, texted me this week:
"not enuf hours for the rest of our lives."
kind of captured the feeling of this time of year ....

So on that noteI am going to sign off with of my 'daily notes to self':

Thursday, September 17, 2015

as we physically experience the craziness of the start of the new school year and the end of summer, let us remember to slow down; remind ourselves of the slow circles of nature ...

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. 
 May Sarton 

Friday, September 11, 2015

in honor of 9/11 I am reposting the story of 'dear jeff ...'; let us not forget!!

virginia fitzgerald . . art . . inspiration . . ink: #tbt: the story of 'dear jeff . . . ': note: photo is above the fold :) I seems only appropriate to share the story behind my sculpture, 'dear jeff . . . ' as it is...
(I believe to read original post, quick title, which is the link?!?!)

'dear jeff ...' is in the background, photographer: Stephen Broadley


This is the first time that I am attempting to repost via blogspot's interface and I am thinking that they have just posted the link to the original post ... but I never like any post without some visuals, being a visual artist & all, so here are some photos of 'dear jeff ...' 
(& hopefully the story as well)


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Friday, August 21, 2015

what is art for?!?!?

this is a very good question . . . 

in fact it is a question that gets a great deal of my attention throughout the day; 
as I ache for time in my studio or race to get dinner on the table at least an hour before bedtime or as I pay bills.  

photographer: maya rovniak
so when i saw the title of this video, i was intrigued, and when i watched said video, i was not disappointed.  in fact it was a salve for my current state of discouragement and malaise about being an artist, a state that usually follows the completion of a large project, such as 'sky warrior II . . .'

i love all aspects of the creative process, however for me, the final weeks of production when one is racing against an install date and everything else falls back into a dulled haze; that time of razor sharp focus and almost round the clock creating is one of my favorite times.

and when the project is finished and installed i usually have quite a let-down . . . besides the basic physical exhaustion that follows such a period of intense work, there is the loss of focus and usually a disappointment stemming from working so, so hard and yet feeling like nothing has changed . . .

yes, it is true, that something has been created and put out into the world to be seen by others, a piece that might inspire, that might anger, might cheer up, might distract, etc.; yet ...

 Martha Graham has a quote that speaks to this matter, one that i have posted many times on this blog:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
Martha Graham

yes, artists each contribute their own unique voice to the world, that is the job of the artist.  and in this video Alain de Botton lists reasons why we, as artists, must continue to do our jobs and what art brings to the world on whole.

all wonderful points to be reminded of as the sabotaging mind-monkeys are plotting their personal attack.  

what you think of Alain de Botton's point of view?? do you agree/disagree??
would love to hear your thoughts . . .

peace, va

Friday, August 14, 2015

'sky warrior II . . . ' in pictures

as usual it began with chicken wire
used colored wires (reds and pinks) to create shape by weaving it through the chicken wire.
first make-shift work station, holding up the bodice so that i could start the skirt,
 set up in the living room with the a/c
my faithful sidekick, scruffy . . .
also enjoying the a/c
close-up detail of the skirt
then hung the dress from the ceiling by a branch so i could continue to grow the skirt
wired heart for inside the dress

installation . . . 
arrived at park in hopkinton, ma. with an 8 foot ladder, but that wasn't nearly enough!!!
So my wonderful assistant, daughter Harriet, and I began to improvise . . . 

here i am attempting to toss the spool of fishing line over the desired branch.
with some minor adjustment from my lovely assistant


successfully installed!!

opening reception:

part of Cathy Weaver Taylor's installation
it's a beautiful trail

beautiful sand art at the beginning of the trail/exhibit

the exhibit runs until the end of September, with a
poetry reading/gathering on Sept. 19th, 2:00
the exhibit and trail are located across from:

118 Main St, Hopkinton, MA 01748

this sculpture was inspired by 'sky warrior . . . ' the first commissioned and purchased dress was the 'dressproject' and which lives outside Chicago, IL.

'sky warrior . . . ' installed (2006)
'sky warrior . . . ' front


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

#wip wednesday: have indexcard, will travel, will create . . .

more #indexcardart:
this has been such a great project for my life right now ~  
prompt: portrait (pen and ink)
ms. sally lightfoot crab (pen and ink)
'studies in waiting (o'hare) (pen and ink)
'jake's escape . . .' (colored pencil)
prompt: treehouse; ink stamp/collage
'still life on flower box . . .' (pen and ink)
(mixed media)
pen and ink with watercolor crayons
'cocktails with caroline . . .' (pen and ink)
card #16
'eggplant & ginger . . .' prompt10
card #18; prompt 30: telephone
' mom's spirit guide . . .' card#11