Thursday, April 30, 2009

more from Portland...

Before my Portland trip is disappears into the too far distant past, I want to tell of some more wonderful going-ons that i found there. First Portland had so many crafty events ~ here is a video segment which highlights many of these. I was lucky enough to be there when Crafty Wonderland was happening. This is a craft market which is held once a month at the Doug Fir Lounge. Here is a coffee cup holder I got there from Flapper Girl. It has been quite a hit around the Boston area. Artist Kate Bingaman-Burt was exhibiting her Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?collection of zines. She draws one of her purchases of the day and then compiles each month in a zine. Her work reminded me of New York artist, Danica Phelps . When i spoke with Kate she said she was familiar with Danica's work & that there is a network of artists who deal with consumption. Another vendor that i loved was PearlyGrey - beautiful baby blankets and bibs. Their sock monkey bib was a perfect baby gift. And that is just a sampling of the cool vendors I found at Crafty Wonderland.

Another exciting event during the weekend was the Portland Premiere of Handmade Nation - a movie that documents the exploding DIY (do-it-yourself) movement across the country. I sadly didn't get to see the movie - all the showing were sold out. But the movie brought such a wildly creative atmosphere to the city which sent my creative brain whirling and I made a few dresses..

first the foliage in Portland was so different from here that I wanted to make dresses ALL THE TIME, but i couldn't. However I did make 2 'nature' dresses.
The first one, 'Backyard Foliage', was made on my friends back deck.

The other is 'My mother was a Seamstress'.

I saw this tree - and sadly I don't know name of this tree - on a walk. This tree had the most beautiful, vibrant flowers that i HAD to make a dress - the blossoms screamed to be breasts. The next day I returned and started to make the dress under the tree on these people's property. As i worked I thought no one was home but then the garage door (which was right next to where i was working - see photo) opened and out came the home owner... I held my breath. He was very receptive to me working on his well groomed yard. When he saw it was a dress he said 'my mother was a seamstress' hence the name. He even commented that he hoped the dress would stay up for the company that he was having that night. It was wonderful affirmation as I had been a bit nervous climbing all around under this man's tree looking for the perfect pedals.
It was the making of this dress that reminded me of how much I love being in the process of creating. How it is especially exhilarating to be outside - searching for the right petal, discovering how to use the brown decaying petals, the excitement of solving 'engineering' problems - such as this very steep hill (I used twigs to secure the petals) & just working out in public ~ responding to the comments of passer-bys. It was outside, in the public that the Dress Project began and it was wonderful to rediscover that pleasure.

I made one more dress was made in Portland but that is for another post - this one has gotten way too long!! thanks for reading & peace!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mandy, Mandy, Mandy....

Well thanks to Mandy Greer I am totally 'hooked'! I love crocheting or at least what i am doing with a hook and yarn. I say that because I learned the basic stitch at Mandy Greer's crochet-a-tron 3 weeks ago in Portland ~ the chain stitch and the single and double crochet stitch. The crocheting 'lesson' was loose and casual ... encouraging exploration and creativity. I figured after learning the basics I'd get a crocheting book and learn to crochet properly. But when i returned & got a basic crocheting book from the library it became quite apparent to me that I did NOT want to learn the proper stitches. I was enjoying my free form experimenting ~ I am creating these web-like pieces that i just adore. In fact I can't stop working on the piece that i am making to donate to Mandy's 'Mater Matrix Mother and Medium' ... I just keeping crocheting the chain stitch with different yarns, fabrics and beads and attaching it to its self - I see it as a whirlpool, many waves overlapping each other. It has been the most satisfying and relaxing piece that i have worked on. For one reason - I can do no wrong!!! there are no expectations of this piece - it is going to be one of many. Also this piece is very portable and i can work on it anywhere - in a car, in a dark movie theater (and i have learned that i am a more contented person if i am working). And lastly it is cozy and warm and tactilely satisfying - in fact i would LOVE to have a skirt like this!!! But with all that said I believe it is time for me to send it west. Because as much as i love working on it I also have my own crocheted creation that i can work on, and I am DYING to sink my teeth into my slip project!!!!
One last Mandy Greer nugget ~ check out the article in this month's Fiber Arts magazine. The cover story is about Mandy Greer and there are many other interesting articles worth reading.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Visual Potpourri

Today I am off to New Canaan, CT to drop off the Red Alert Cocktail Dress at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center for the final judging for the 60th Annual Art of the Northeast show. David Lang also made the semifinal so we are making the road trip – wish us luck.

Also here is the documentation of the decay of the Don’t Slip dress. I left it outside for a good many days. I was hoping for it to go completely black/brown but I think being outside and moist might have affected it. It was also interesting how at sometimes some of the peels curled up.
day 1
day 1 ~later
day 2

day 3
day 4
day 5
day 6 ~ off to the compost!!

Lastly – here is a dress that I made over vacation. I was on an early walk with my dog when I came across a field of these ‘pods’ which I don’t know what they are called, however I have always loved them. In the fall they are ripe with seeds and have a very particular smell when you open them up. And when they dry these pods become wonderful rattles. The ones I discovered this week had spent the winter under piles of snow and now were dark, moist and flat – very reminiscent to the look of a rotting banana peel. So since this shape has been speaking to me I had to stop and make a dress. This shape begs to be part of a skirt, and just screamed to represents ribs. Near by there was a driveway which was covered with these red fallings and these became the trim of the dress.

As always when I am out on nature and moved to make a dress I am reminded on how authentic the dress shape is to me. When I am searching for the right ‘pod’ or shell or petal all other noises/voices vanish from my head and I am blessed with being in the moment of creating. Also I believe that since these dresses are temporary my critic is quiet. When I was in Portland I made a nature dress (to be discussed in another post) and during that time I had an Aha moment. I was working away in my own little world when my friend called to check in on me…She asked me if I was ok and I answered that I was exactly where I needed to be and that rang so true to me. I needed to be creating and present in that process. It has been an enlightening lesson and one I am trying to incorporate into a full life of family, children and friends.

Lastly … since it still National Poetry Month – a nod to Robert Frost. As I disappeared into my dress making zone my dog had to wait. At first he was ok sitting for a bit – we were in a park. But then as the time went on he started to get confused and it reminded me of the line from Robert Frost’s

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake …
peace ~

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A poem for the day....

With April being National Poetry month I want to share one of my favorite poems ~ Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. This poem was sent to me by a friend a few years past and it changed my life. It was this ‘gift’ that lead me to create my ‘Poetry dress’, on which Wild Geese sits prominently. Besides loving the spirit of this poem, it also reintroduced to the world of poetry. It is now a common sight for me to be lugging around a poetry book. In fact for the past few weeks I have been reading Wild Geese everyday ~ letting Mary Oliver’s words roll over me. My favorite line is
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

I also have been deep into Nikki Giovanni’s work, especially her latest book Bicycle.

In the interest of poetry, a blog worth checking out is Martha Calderaro
Writer, poet, roving pen. She has many poetry related posting, such as Poetry Friday as well as page called POEMS BY FRIENDS where you can add your own creation.

So don’t let National Poetry month pass you by without seeking out some poetic magic. Grab a poem, find a nook, curl up and escape. Peace

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing
your place in the family of things.

© Mary Oliver
from Dream Work by Mary Oliver

published by Atlantic Monthly Press

Saturday, April 18, 2009

From the world of dreams....

I am in the process of reading The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho and I am so captivated by this book. There is much talk about discovering your true self, and last night the characters were discussing how certain people come into your life and throw you off balance, turn your life up-side-down ~ forcing you to face uncomfortable feelings & helping you grow. Most likely I am so taken by this book because this is happening to me, through the journey on which my art is leading me. I am experiencing a shift my paradigm which is exciting and scary. What was very interesting was last night I dreamt about being completely off balance and in fact woke up feeling all out of sorts – one of those really realistic dreams. And besides falling all over the place I also made a dress out of banana peels in my dreams (this happens quite often that I work out a dress in my dream). In my dream I carefully constructed this banana peel dress with these very tactile, succulent peels. However, when I woke I figured that would take too many peels and so that dress would stay in my dreams. Yet at breakfast, without me even asking, my family decided to consume many bananas leaving me with the materials that I needed. So here is ‘Don’t Slip’ pulling the wondrous and mysterious dream world into today. Happy Saturday & Peace.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Give me your Slips! ( a request) & a poetry reading

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your worn and tattled SLIPS!! yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming drawers.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

I am putting out a call for all your old slips - the more worn, tattered, stained and ripped the better. I am embarking on new artistic adventure and I am in need of raw materials – old slips!!!
Please send them to me ~
Virginia Fitzgerald
25 Washington Ave.
Natick, MA 01760
If you need postage email me and we can arrange something.
Also, in honor of National Poetry month...
come join me at a
Poetry Reading
tomorrow night, April 16th, 7:30pm at Gallery 55, Natick
Haiku with
Raffael de Gruttola
Gallery 55 . 55 Main st. Natick
Thank you & peace!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I "heart" Portland, OR

last week I escaped to Portland, OR to visit an amazing friend (and her amazing boyfriend) and I fell in love with the city. I don’t know what all the bad weather spin is about - during my entire 4 day stay i didnot see one rain drop! (It was sunny and in the 70s!)

Besides the weather, I was WOWed by the spirit of the city and the abundance of arty and crafty people and events. A major highlight was seeing Mandy Greer’s remarkable installation, Dare alla Luce, at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. It enchanted me (I bought the catalogue)!! I then joined Mandy Greer herself and about 40 others in a crochet-a-tron. There we learned to crochet and made crocheted pieces to add to her next installation, mater matrix mother and medium - 'an interactive, process-based art installation in Seattle’s urban forest with performance by Zoe Scofield'.
It is a huge project and she has been hosting these crochet-a-thons to help generate the crocheted materials that she needs. I am hoping to host a crochet party here on the east coast and send our wares along (email if you would be interested in coming!!)

At the event I made my piece and donated it. I then went home to practice more with some unique yarn I got at a very unique yarn store, Yarnia. There you create ‘your very own custom blend of yarn -- you choose the fiber, color, thickness, and amount, and can have your custom cone of yarn wound for you right on the spot.' I got some blues with Mandy’s installation in mind, fully prepared to donate this piece too. But as I have been practicing my crochet stitches and experimenting I have grown quite attached to this piece. I love the organic-ness of it. I hope to have the ‘webbing’ continue on and on. So I think this piece is staying with me and I will just make another blue piece to donate.
Portland truly got my creative juices running - more later.
'til then peace!