Thursday, November 5, 2015

#tbt: the story of 'sky warrior ... ' (the first)

Since 'skywarrior ll ...' is flying high in all her glory at the
I figured it would be a good time to tell the story behind the original 'skywarrior ...' .
'skywarrior ...' (2006) and artist/warrior
'skywarrior ...' was the first commissioned dress sculpture of the dressproject,
and she was created within weeks of the creation of the first dressproject dress,
'wedding dress...'
(brenda's dress) 2006
'wedding dress ...' (brenda's dress) on Wells Beach, ME. 

'skywarrior ...' was made and resides outside Chicago, IL. 
 My girls and I were visiting my parents when one of my mother's friends, artist  Lorna Marsh, inquired about these dresses that she was hearing about, dresses that I made
Fortunately I had developed my pictures (it was pre-online everything),
and I could show her the collection of 5 dresses that I had made in Wells, ME. 
 She was intrigued and loved the idea of the creation and then the destruction of the dresses, thanks to the ocean and the high tide. She asked if I would like to make a dress in her garden, she would cover my costs. I jumped at the opportunity. 

I admire Lorna Marsh as an artist, and she and her husband have a extensive art collection. 
I was also still riding the high of pure inspiration and eager for any opportunity to create another dress. 
I was invited over to the Marsh's exquisite garden and found myself a bit intimidated. Not only is Lorna Marsh an internationally known artist, she is also recognized for her gardens, which are beautiful. As I wandered around the ground Lorna joined me, pointing out areas that I may have missed. Then she suggested that I look up to the trees, which were magnificent! She told me that I could think high because she has access to a cherrypicker!!!

A cherrypicker ?!?! 
How many times does one have access to a cherrypicker, I asked myself??! 
Not many, so I decided that I was going to take advantage of 
this cherrypicker opportunity and make a dress in the trees!! 

And once I found the perfect spot,  the dress started to form in my head, 
and I was off!!
 I used polyester ribbons to create designs on the hardware cloth,
 as I figured the polyester would withstand the weather.
I knew that I needed to work with materials that would withstand the elements.  
Even though Lorna said that she loved the decaying and disappearing aspects of the beach dresses,
 I wanted to make something that would last a little longer than a day or so.  
So it was off to Home Depot (one of my favorite art supply stores :) 
I got hardware cloth, solder and other wires.
Then to Jo-Anne's for glass beads, because the spot that I planned to put the dress
 got the long rays of the setting sun, so I wanted the parts of the dress to catch the light. 
'skywarrior ...' detail of the skirt, created with soldering wire
and a variety of glass beads
With supplies in hand and the clock ticking I headed into my parents' garage. 
I cut the hardware cloth and sewed it together with wire.
 The name of this piece came about because of tensions 
in world affairs and closer to home.  

While I was constructing of this piece the infamous 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot was uncovered.  I had just flown with my two daughters, 8 and 5 years old, when suddenly the country was on 'red alert'.  All liquids were banned from planes and I watched as millions of dollars of make-up was being confiscated from carry-on bags.  
my mother helping weave in the
metallic ribbon
As a mother flying with young children I was very aware of how important it was to have a juice box or sip cup with you when flying, especially during take-off.  And as I watched the media and country work themselves into a panic I felt that women were feeling the affects of the red alert more than men and I was getting angry.

Also some issues arose closer to home.  Suddenly there were questions about how I was using my time during my trip, and wasn't the purpose of my trip to Chicago to visit and not work?!?!?  There was a sense that as daughter and mother of my girls I was expected to be attending many functions, and even though I was doing all the meeting and greeting that was asked of me, I was still getting negative feedback.  Finally, I asked if my brother was visiting and he had been offered a wonderful opportunity to showcase his talents (he is a writer) would everyone be upset with him stealing away to work?!?! I think not!!! 

'skywarrior ...' picture taken standing under dress,
looking up
That argument gave me a bit of breathing room, but I still felt under attack. And as I furtively  worked to finished the piece before I was to return to MA, I felt like a warrior! 

And I realized that this sculpture was a warrior too.  
She was going to be standing tall and strong in the elements.  
And she has.  
In fact she has survived for many years, though she comes down for the winters.  
'skywarrior ...' (2006) installed outside Chicago, IL
I visit her when I am in the area and Lorna once mentioned to me that she was very happy with sculpture, however she had hoped it would have deteriorated more ... we both had imagined birds nesting in the decaying dress shell, 
but alas she is a warrior!!

'skywarrior ll ...' (2015) currently hanging at
the Common Street Spiritual Center, Natick
and now there are two!! 
peace, va

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