Friday, December 27, 2013

'the dress to the rescue' . . . a tale of loss and redemption via the dress

how, once again, 'the dress' saved me . . . .
'moss' 2dec
As I headed into the month of December
 I was plagued with uncertainty and exhaustion.  
My long term substitute job at Dana Hall had ended, and
  'breaking open' was now a thing of the past.  
I didn't have anything on the agenda. 
'ties' 3dec
 In many ways it was a needed and healthy place to be
 for someone who has been in triage mode for years
but it also sent me into a petite free fall 
- I was feeling lost! 
'dusting' 4dec
Then one gray and dingy December morning, 

out with my trusty companion Scruffy, 
a clump on bright green moss caught my attention. 
 I have always wanted to make a dress of moss, and since I had no where to run off to or schedule to keep, I realized that I could stop and make a dress!
And, as always happens whenever I make one of my ephemeral dress, 

I felt better. 
I was outside, in the brisk, fresh, new england winter, 
finding the best pieces of moss 
with which to create a dress. 
 I felt myself righted a bit.
'poetic' 4 dec
And then the next day Scruffy and I discovered discarded, 
old, rusty and luscious railroad ties!!! Another dress!! 
 I had a series, 
posting the dresses on Instagram, 
with 'hashtag' no less (#decemberdress ).  
I was back, baby, eager for the next day
 to see what materials would call to me.
'lichen' 5dec
my lovely assistant, scruffy
I have been intrigued how this December experience 
is strikingly similiar to 
the week in August of 2006, 
when I started my infatuation with the dress, 
aka 'the dress project'.
'ever - green???' 6dec
I was on a family vacation in Wells Beach, ME 

and feeling out of sorts then too. 
 Earlier in the summer I had a successful gallery show of acrylic still life's at Natick's Gallery55.
One might wonder, 

why out of sorts after a successful show??
Good question!
'prints' 8dec. The Porches Inn, North Adams, MA

Well, first, this exhibit showed me that art, 
no matter what kind of art, 
has a voice and I wanted to give that voice more depth, 
put more substance into my art.  As well, 
I wanted my work to be more personal, 
have more to offer the viewers.
But I was not sure how to do all that.
'lathe' 10 dec, Dana Hall School
the lathe in action at the 'Makers' exhibit at the Art Gallery at Dana Hall

$econdly, $ince my painting$ '$old', my internal voices bombarded me; 'paint more garlic$, people loved the garlic$', 'more pear$', bigger canvase$',
blah, blah, blah.
This tainted my studio practice. 

I was thinking too much, 
the work was becoming labored and looked it! So I headed off to Maine artistically struggling.
'by the tracks' 15dec

Then I 'stumbled upon' the idea of creating a dress out of materials from the beach.  
With the first dress, the floodgates opened and 
I was back in that most amazing place where I am just creating and NOT thinking!! Nirvana!! 
'slush' 16dec
so patient!!
And as it was in 2006, when 'the dress' guided me onto this exciting creative journey I call 'the dress project',  this month, as Scruffy and I were out and about making dresses, things started happening in other parts of my life. 
I was called to do some more substituting at Dana Hall (money is always welcomed), and I got interviewed for a 'possible' feature article in a local arts magazine?!?! (more about that later :) 
I truly feel rescued!!
'snowed in' 17dec

I was back in the wonderful state of thinking about material and dresses on a daily basis.  I found myself following familiar self-imposed guidelines.  
First and foremost, 
I will not hurt or cut down any living plant for a dress!! 
All the 'material' is found, already discarded by Mother Nature.  
'kids' menu' 18dec
Second requirement: mix up my techniques; 
if I 'dug out' the dress one day I don't want to dig out another dress.  
I like to challenge myself! I like to make each dress unique!! 
'twiggy' 19 dec

I remember this requirement was very important for my dailydress journals; if I was doing a lot of collaging then I needed to draw, paint or do a subtractive process.  
'fallen' 20 dec,  Newton Public Library, Newton, MA

There were other similarities between this series and the Wells series. 
'digging in the dirt'  21dec.

I would head out to the beach with one preconceived idea of the material that I would be using for that day's dress, and then end up using something completely different. 
These december dresses are no different.  
I would head out into the winter landscape 
thinking today I'll use 'blank',  
only to discover a much more suited material for the day!!
'ginger' 21 dec. making the famous and delicious family recipe for
Anne's Scotch Ginger bread with Maya for a cookie swap
Also once I start to focus on a certain material and 
concentrate on creating the dress,  
I find wonderful treasures.   It is as if I suddenly 
had special, X-ray finder's eyes, 
discovering the tiny starfish at the beach 
or the empty cocoon of a cicada at Wellesley College.  
'everandalways' 22dec. 
this title references how my dresses are forever and always there for me!

 So here is my #decemebrdress series so far, 
made out of snow, slush, twigs and so much more.  

I have posted the picture of the dress and 
then a picture of the location where each dress was made, 
this helps give a sense of scale and place.

'christmas' 25dec. Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Below is a link to an album on Facebook if you are interested.
  Also if you want to follow this series of ephemeral dresses and my other practice, dresstagging, you can follow me on twitter or on instagram at virginiafitzart.  
Out of the world of social media 
Instagram is my favorite because it is visual, a cyber picture book. 
'vinyl' 26dec, Cambridge, MA

Hope you enjoyed this tale of loss and redemption via the dress ~

You can use this link to share this photo album with anyone, even if they don't have a Facebook account. Anyone with the link will be able to see your photo album.

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