Thursday, May 29, 2008

Casualty from the Arsenal

Well, the show at the Arsenal Center for the Arts is over & the eggshell dress did not survive the move back to my studio. This was not a complete surprise – on the way to set up the show the U~haul truck that I used had horrible shocks which took its toll on the internal structure of that dress. The dress got back to the studio in one piece with just a hole, however it was listing and that was the problem. But she held up for the entire show and now who know what her future holds. Even though the dress is now in two pieces this does not mean that the dress is finished,
just heading into a new phase. One of the things that the Dress Project has taught me is how fluid the creative process is. I am excited to work with eggshells again and I am very curious about how the new version will emerge. For me, I find excitement and enjoyment in the process and figuring out the puzzle. So the eggshell adventure continues… peace!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

hold the ketchup...

Hope everyone had a super Memorial Day Weekend!! This is a dress made from the left-overs of a delicious burger and milkshake lunch enjoyed at a favorite burger joint in Sherborn,MA.

Here is an update of some events coming up… this Saturday, May 31st,the Five Crows in Natick is holding a party @ 5 o’clock to unveil some artwork that I have done for them...rumor has it that there will be champagne. For details ~
Also for those wine lovers out there ... I was asked to paint a parasol for the Melanoma Foundation of New England’s Wine Tasting and Designer Parasol Auction. The event is being held this Thursday, May 29th at the Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline. Check out their web site for detail ~ it sounds like it could be lots of fun.
Lastly, Embodiments at the Arsenal Center for the Arts is coming down ~ it was a wonderful experience!! Thank you everyone for all the support!!
Peace ~ Virginia

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

freshly mown grass

Yesterday I was back working in nature again and loving it. In between appointments and errands I sat down the grass to soak up the warm spring sun. As I looked around I saw clumps of recent mowed grass. I started to gather them and decided to make a dress. As I worked a part of a Martha Graham’s quote ran through my head speaking of an idea or inspiration… “ 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 do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.” (see full quote in Thursday, January 17, 2008 entry) She is speaking about not judging your creative impulses, your creativity. To listening to your muse and not judge – give your ideas life and let them go. This is a very important concept for me since I have a very vocal critic!! So with Martha’s words giving me license to be inspired without judging I gathered the clumps of cut grass and built my dress.
The exciting part of making a dress for me is the discoveries that I make while in the midst of creating…. this is what makes it so addicting!!! With this dress the grass was drying in the sun and I wanted the top a darker green than the bottom. I realized that if I opened up the layers of the clumps that the grass was moist and green inside. So then I had many different greens to work with. Also it is always fun to find the different materials to make the accents of the dress.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

dress for the fairy queen

Yesterday my girls and I attended a "Fairy House Event” hosted by the Wellesley Conservation Council celebrating the council's 50th anniversary. We met at Pickle Point Sanctuary in Wellesley and each child adopted a tree to build their own fairy house using natural materials gathered in the surroundings. It was quite an enjoyable affair on a beautiful day. I, of course, had to get into the act. I found myself in heaven as I combed the ground for different natural material with which to create my fairy’s dwelling. It brought me back to Wells Beach and the start of the Dress Project. So upon returning I was drawn into our backyard by the glorious weather and found myself inspired by a nook in our garden – perfect for a fairy’s house. Surrounding the area were all these fallen ‘seed pods’?? – I am not sure what they are. I immediately fell in love with these ‘pods’ because of their resemblance to a worm or caterpillar and how they moved. So with an inspired place and material I got to work on a dress.

It was glorious to be out in nature making a dress again. Since the show at the Arsenal I have been revisited by the original inspiration of the dresses – just make dresses out of everything and anything. One idea that is always in the back of my brain is a dress of ‘red worms’ – inspired by the worms in our compost. So I enjoyed working with these worm like botanical ‘pods’.

peace ~

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Flower Power

Here is my Flower Power Parasol that I decorated for the Melanoma Foundation of New England’s Wine Tasting and Designer Parasol Auction. The auction is to raise money for its one-on-one patient advocacy support program. For more info click here.
I must confess that I love my flower power design and had a great time painting this. While I was working on this project I envisioned a room full of huge canvases all painted in variations of this flower power design – maybe with some sculptural elements too … oh, what fun!!! peace all!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

from the mouth of babes....

One of the new dresses that is at the Arsenal Center for the Arts is the Dog Tag Dress. I was very glad to be able to finish this sculpture for this show because I wanted to show a piece about this on-going, ever-lasting conflict/war/sadness.

This dress is child-sized with a plaster top which is painted with an abstract version of the map of the Middle East ~ Iraq is right over the heart.
Below the map is a quagmire of wires – tangled, knotted wires. Dangling from the wires in a random manner are dog tags. On each of the dog tags I affixed a stamp sized photo of recently killed soldiers. Upon the death of the 4000th soldier killed in Iraq the New York Times published an article called Faces of the Dead ~ four pages of pictures of the last 1000 to die in Iraq. Along with the pictures, the Times also printed excerpts from some of the dead soldiers’ letters, dairies and emails. In one of the passages one of the soldier wondered if many Americans could point out where Iraq is on a map – this resonated with me and gave me idea for the piece. When two 9 year olds sat and looked at the piece I heard them asking questions like ~ why is there war??? From the mouth of babes…..

Monday, May 12, 2008

coming up for air

The Arsenal center for the Arts' show is installed and I have a welcomed moment to breathe. The center offers a perfect setting for displaying my dresses ~ on their tiered platforms. This is the biggest exhibit of the Dress Project with 8 full sized sculptures ( 3 sculptures had not been shown before), 13 framed photos of the ephemeral dresses and 5 2d dresses in different media. It is exciting to see all these different aspects of the Dress Project exhibited together. It is also fun to watch how people react to the pieces. The Arsenal Center for the Arts is also home for the New Repertory Theater and Steve & I were lucky enough to be able to see the current performance ~ Dessa Rose. The musical was quite thought provoking and engaging, I highly recommend it. But I had a special treat that night, by being a fly on the wall during
intermission while the theater goers viewed my work.