Tuesday, May 28, 2013

deadheads and skinny dipping

Last week I had the time to indulge 
my omnipresent passion
 and I made a dress!! 
'deadhead' dress
Inspiration struck during a morning dog walk, in front of the studio of the wonderful David Lang
Earlier in the week he proudly shared with me how our mutual friend, the lovely and talented Christina Zwart, had filled his studio's flower box and I wanted to take a peek.
Christina, who has been doing exquisite outdoor art installations in neighboring woods, made a terrific choice with marigolds, complimenting the 
existing yellow of the parking lines. 

And as I big fan of these hardy and colorful flowers I began 
to clean up the box a bit, breaking off the dead flowers.  It was then, surrounded by the pungent fragrance of broken marigolds and with my hand full of dead yet still bright and sturdy blossoms, I knew would make a dress.
And as it always happens when I am out making an ephemeral dress, I entered a dream like state, 
where the critics were quiet 
and I was present in the act of creating ~ 
pure heaven.

This state is truly rare for me, especially recently, as my days are filled with many different jobs and single parenting. My time in the studio is non-existant.  And when I do have a moment 
or two to create, I am inundated by the critics and doubters,
"is this the best uses of your time, Virginia??"  

But that didn't happen outside David's studio door, why?

I believe the freedom comes from being outside and that these dresses are ephemeral, they are here and  then they go.  They are exempt from me taking their existence too seriously, free from the paralyzing state of becoming 'precious', when suddenly everything comes under intense internal scrutiny; will this piece be worth the time I am putting into it? will I be able to put the piece in a gallery? will it appeal to anyone else?? 

my faithful and patient assistant
But when I am working outside, in the elements, with just the materials at hand to work with, my thinking brain steps back; I relax and listen to my muse.
The feeling is similiar to the feeling I get when I skinny-dip, 
just me in the cool and refreshing water.
I am a big fan!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

in memory of those lost, look around . . .

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” Rachel Carson

“War is not women’s history.”  –Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

p.s. on the updates

I forgot to mention that my painting from Fountain Street Fine Art's 8x8 show found a home!
got to love those red dots!!!

And for my parents, who are not on Facebook and get some of their Virginia Fitzgerald Art News here, (when I forget to mention it to them on the phone :) Last week I surpassed 300 'followers' on my Virginia Fitzgerald Art Page on Facebook :) So 300 people have chosen to follow your daughter's artistic endeavors! kind of fun, huh?!?!?

Thanks to everyone for their interest, support and encouragement of my art and my journey!
I feel stronger knowing that there are folks out there rooting for me!! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

I few updates . . .

I am honored that the Wellesley Weston Magazine picked up my story about my Dana Hall projects and put it on their blog!! Thank you Wellesley Weston magazine!  

Also for those followers and fans of my dresstags I have started posting daily dress inspirations on my other blog and started a FB group (as a learning experience) 

SO if you would like to get a positive, daily idea or quote or sentiment, with or with out a dress :) check out the blog: http://dailydressproject.blogspot.com/
or the FB group:
If you can't get onto or even view the group let me know, this is all part of the learning experience :)

"inquiring minds want to know"

Also some news about shows and rejections and my subscription card series ~ 
growth, one: mixed media and beads on transfer
growth, one: detail
Sadly, I learned today that growth, one did n't get into the FSFA's exhibit 'no limit'.  It was  the first times that I submitted a piece based on my obsessively drawn subscription cards.  This call for art was digital and I am not sure if you can get a true sense of this piece via a computer screen, and only one image?!?! It is a small piece: 6.5"x8.5" and one never knows what the juror is looking for or how a show is coming together, alas.  However by the look of the artists who did get in it has promise to be a show not to miss!! 

But I am not discouraged (or maybe I am a glutton for punishment?!) I submitted 'spinning I' to the Attleboro Arts Museum's show, 'what goes around'.  They jury is still out about if this piece is in or not.  

'spinning I' is another mixed media piece based on my subscription cards ~
'spinning I' drawing and sewing on transfer
this is the backside of spinning, the sewing tracks

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dana's 'giving and receiving' dress is in the works

This week I have started another collaborative 'dress' with the Dana Hall Students, this time exclusively with the middle school.  And I am so excited because I am finally going to be able to create the 'giving and receiving' dress.

This dress is based on my dresstag practice, how I leave small, origami dresses, with good intentions or fortunes on them, in random places. If you follow me on instagram or Facebook you might have seen one or two pictures of these 'dresstags'.

For the 'giving and receiving' dress I am teaching the students how to make their own origami dresses and asking them to write their own fortune/intention on the back.  The response has been wonderful.  I am leaving extra origami paper in the art room so students can come in and make more dresses.  

I am hoping for a great number because I am going to use the small origami dresses that the students make to construct a large dress form on a wall in the school.  Once the dress is created on the wall, then the students will be invited to take a dresstag, which will deconstruct the large wall dress.  Also each student will get a dress with a good fortune on it ~ giving and receiving.

So my collection of dresses is growing and the fortunes that I have seen are priceless.  This is what I love about collaborative projects ~ everyone comes to the project with their own, unique gifts, opinions, thoughts and ideas.  Some of these fortunes I would never have thought of and I love them!!! 

A particular favorite is "may this dress keep the monsters in their own closet!" ~ priceless.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

metamorphosis, the whole story, in pictures

'metamorphosis' modeled at Dana Hall Fashion Show
In conjunction to that show I was invited to create a collaborative project/dress 
with the student body that would be presented at the Dana Hall Fashion Show.  
The end product: 'metamorphosis'
it all started with a white dress

found at the thrift shop
objective: to create a dress/project that involved the entire student body of  Dana Hall
I wanted to create an opportunity for the students to reflect on their place in the world, as students of a very challenging and scholarly girl's school.  As I pondered the concept behind the dress, I came across 'Chrysalis', the story of Maria Sibylla Merian and the project fell in place.  
The idea of metamorphosis felt akin to my desires for the project; during middle school and high school there is a metamorphosis, students discovering their desires, strengths and passions while facing fears, and then 'emerging' as adults.  I wanted to offer the students a platform in which they could pause and reflect on their personal journey.

so I tea dyed it
first, i realized the dress was too white

and I painted, dyed and cut the original dress.

I set-up in the gallery.
the first day I cut out 500+ butterflies
then Michael Frassinelli and I divided the butterflies into to envelopes for each advisory group.
 with this prompt:
As part of a collaborative project for the Dana Art Gallery, Artist-in-Residence Virginia Fitzgerald has been working with students and invites you to contribute this morning to the creation of a sculptural dress which will be worn in the Spring Fashion Show and exhibited afterwards in the Library. Each advisor group has a packet containing cut paper butterflies and Sharpie markers.  Each student is asked to simply write a word, phrase or short sentence, or simple image reflecting a wish, a dream, an inspiration, a memory, or fear on one of the pieces of paper. This can be written in any language, in any style, on any subject (personal, family, school related, etc.); these should be anonymous andthere is no wrong way to express yourself. When finished please return the pieces of paper and markers to the envelope and have a member or the advisory drop them off to the gallery. Thanks so much for you participation. Stop by the gallery throughout the week and after the Break to see how your words and images will be incorporated into the sculpture, or stop by and work with Ms. Fitzgerald directly. All are invited. Thank you for supporting the arts.

the next day I had 500+  emotionally charged butterflies
then the fun began . . .

the middle school student came and helped me  . . .

they made cocoons, with wax, glitter and more intentions rolled up inside

and they helped me outline each butterfly with black ink

and then they painted each butterfly with glitter medium to reenforce the paper

I continued to 'personalize' the dress. here I soaked the bottom in ink
the students also wrote on the dress, adding to the pattern/design
I used the india ink to create a vein like pattern on the top of the dress
there were many heart felt messages on the butterflies
during the week I was working at the school Mr. Fraz found this butterfly on the ground :)
It was very interesting to see all the different ideas, thoughts, 
dreams, fears and desires that were written on the butterflies. 

As I attached each one to the dress 
I wondered what kind of response I would have received 
if I did a similiar project with a boys school?!?!? 
then it was time for me to pack up ~
back to my studio (well, really my home, sorry girls).
 Here I attached everything to the dress ~ 
butterflies and cocoons.  
I sewed many layers of strips of tulle and netting, 
then attached all the butterflies.
I added grommets on each side so it could fit whatever student that would be wearing it in the Fashion Show
This is the first dress that I made that someone else 
was going to wear.  During the Fashion Show I felt like 
I might have been on Project Runway ~ 
nervous if the dress would fit and present well 
and I found myself saying that my model was at 'hair and make-up' :)
any thoughts Tim Gunn??
As I was adding the layers and butterflies my own forest nymph modeled the dress for me,
this way I could see how the dress hung ~
and how it moved.
Monday morning was the Fashion Show and my model rocked the dress! 
spinning and letting all the Dana Hall student's dreams and desires take flight 
and their fears just fly away.  

Thank you Dana Hall for supporting and participating so fully in this dress/project.  
As always it was a wonderful and enriching experience for me 
and I hope it was for you too!!
'metamorphosis' modeled at Dana Hall Fashion Show