Monday, July 29, 2013

my long love affair with the ephemeral . . .

It was almost SEVEN years ago that I fell 
under the spell of the dress form;  
August 2006, on a family vacation at Well Beach, ME. 
It was there that I began to see the possibilities of dress in everything that I saw.

departure (2006) 
I started on the beach, creating dresses, then letting the high tide take them away, 
leaving me with a fresh canvas the next day!

Since then I have a special place in my creative soul for ephemeral dresses

huh??? you want to do what????
And with my current state of affairs I am not in my studio much, so I am finding my creativity seizing any opportunity to create and again I am making dresses out of anything that I can find!!! 
Such as Scruffy's fur! 
Für scruffy

What started out as a simple act of relieving Scruffy of some of his abundance of fur in this intense heat,  gave me wondrous clumps of fur (hair, really) that I immediately saw as components for a dress.

I love how the natural curls created swirls and movement in the dress.

'summertime' one day later
Another aspect that I love about process 
of the ephemeral dresses is how the dresses
 disperse back into the elements.

Some of the dresses are small, it all depends on the materials that inspire me.
Like this petite dress on the shores of Lake Sunapee, NH.
I was entranced by these fallen leaves, forecasting the upcoming autumn.

the deconstruction of 'sizzzzzzle'
Nothing is safe - 
here I was inspired by a the leftover bacon 
grease in my beloved cast iron skillet.
I don't worry, Scruffy didn't get much of the dress ~
I was photographing it and had to run into the house.
At this point Scruffy saw his opportunity, but it was brief
(although I did need to capture the moment on film)

'Nothing is permanent but change'.HERACLITUS

Thursday, July 25, 2013

me and uteri . . .

these past weeks I have been struggling ~ for one of the first times that i can remember i didn't have that delicious and overwhelming desire to make art, nor did i have direction?? or vision; i had more of a dread.  and i missed my inner idea machine whirling in my soul, and i worried that i had lost "it" ~ (not a feeling i would wish on anyone)

knitted wire uterus
but then,  thanks to the wonders of the universe/serendipity, i have rediscovered that happy whirling dervish was back. and why?? most likely because of a number of factors, but I believe the main reason was a 'fat quarter' of fabric that i received in the mail, a 'fat quarter printed with uteri, which is part of the Exquisite Uterus project,  started by artists and educators Alison Gates and Helen Klebesadel.

What is the Exquisite Uterus Project?  It is a fabulous collection of fiber based artworks that have been created to give voice to shared outrage at ongoing attacks on access to good and affordable reproductive healthcare for all women.  Started in early 2012 in reaction to the what is still being called the most current ‘War on Women,’ two artists, known notorious Feminists, and sometime curators Helen Klebesadel and Alison Gates decided to facilitate a collaborative art project to channel their shared outrage at the attacks on women's ready access to quality general and reproductive health care of their choice.

womb wrap, 2009 - 2011

A fellow artist, the lovely Jeanne Williamson,  sent me the link to the call for artist's and before i could even think i ordered my quarter.  this also got me on the spoonflower website which is quite exciting in itsself - and i even created gift wrap with my dresstags and other products, always inspiring!!

Yet it was the arrival of the faric that seems to have jumpstarted my muses.  suddenly my brain is flooded with different images, techniques and methods with which to create my contribution to this project.  I vacillated between an angry uterus and an over the top beautiful uterus, in fact I could do an entire show with all the ides I have for this project! And I am proud and happy to say that my sweetie, Harriet,  may  also be contributing a uterus!!!

frida, 2010
You can view many of the beautiful and creative uteri that other artists from all over have already contributed on pinterest, here is the link to the boards.  And I will post my finished uterus soon!!!

But as i sketched and pondered how to fashion and construct my uterus I was struck by the realization that uteri have been an consistent element in my body of work for many years, and they still are.  the uterus is a symbol of the wonders of creation, of mystery and pain, and the uterus is a serious political minefield. No wonder I am so inspired and attracted to it! This is our core, our strength and i am proud to celebrate this organ and be part of this tremendous project!

wire dress, 2008

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When despair for the world grows in me . . .

hot rock dress, dover, ma

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


Wendell Berry's poem is one of my favorites ~ 
one that stays near in my memory banks, one that has inspired me.  

This past week I found myself hampered by a gray cloud. Be it from an unbearable heat wave, unfathomable craziness in the news, personal and financial stress; I don't know. 
I do know that I was feeling lost and overwhelmed.  

So one morning after dropping the car pool off at camp I stopped at a pond near the camp.  
I have driven by this pond for the past four years, always thinking that i wanted to stop there, it looked so lovely and peaceful.  

Well last week I did.  I didn't have a job to go to until later, I had some free time, 
so I turned my car into the drive.


When I got out of my car I saw the blue heron, so beautiful, so peaceful & quiet. It was then that Berry's words sprung into my mind,  suddenly I was living the poem.
i found a peace by the still water, even in the blazing sun. Suddenly the pressures and stresses of my life diminished a bit in my mind.  


As i walked the perimeters of the pond, noting the beauty of the lily pads and the flight of the dragonflies, i found this parched picnic table in a sea of hot pebbles and was inspired.  

Making an ephemeral dress is always therapeutic for me.  I get lost in the act of creating with little thought of the finished product, just finding the right material to create the dress. 
The dress that emerged i am calling, my 'hot rock' dress, 
sitting in the blazing hot sun, in the presence of still water, in the grace of world.
Here, i found a peace! and for that I am sooooo thankful!!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dress Project, return engagement, Natick Mall . . .

a table of dresses
I am so happy and honored to be the guest artist at the store, Uni-T, at the Natick Collection.
 Uni-T is the creation of Eujin Kim Neilan, a wonderful artist and illustrator. In her beautiful shop she paints, silkscreens and sells her work, a dreams that I have often entertained - shop/studio!! Along with her own work,  Eujin generously brings in the work of other artists every month. This month she has graciously offered the opportunity to me :) So once again the Dress Project is a the Natick Mall!!
from 2008
The first time was in February of 2008. That time I brought 4 of my sculptural dresses and exhibited them in the atrium of the mall. The Red Alert Cocktail was one of the four. Since then the Red Alert Cocktail Dress has made the rounds - numerous venues around Boston, Teaneck, NJ, Providence, RI and the Boston Children's museum, to name a few places. And wherever she goes she is a show stopper :) 
So now Red Alert is holding court in Uni-T's shop window, beckoning people in to check out a table of dresses: dresscards, dressphotos, dressmats and some original dressart!!

I must confess it is heartening to see all my work together and out in public. Recently life has pulled me away from my studio practice, something I thought would never happen.  but to see all the different pieces working together is buoyed my anxious creative self.  So I am truly thankful to Eujin for the opportunity!! 
set of 6 cards, images from my mixed media collage series,
 home sweet home

some of my original mixed media dresspaintings on panel

photos, photo notecards and so much more

signing the wondow

Eujin signing the window

statement from 2008 exhibit - it still works!!
4x6 framed dressmat