Sunday, May 29, 2016

this is my religion .... thank you Donovan Livingston, ED.M. '16

In this current state of our country I tend to fall into a state of despair, but then I find hope, a sign that things are not as bad as they seem.  Today that hope came from the mouth of a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Donovan Livingston.  

I find it heart-breaking that racism is still such a large part of our country, and I feel those who encourage and incite this continual division instead of embracing and celebrating diversity, are committing a heinous injustice.  
Especially those individuals who are in the media's spotlight.  

But then there are these shining stars, and thanks to social media, 
they are being heard as well. 

Below is a link to the video of his commencement address as well as the text of his poem.  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

#tbt: the story of 'black widow ...'

'black widow ...' (vcr tape dress) 
Sculpture: vcr tape, chicken wire, Size: 55 x 64 x 50" (2008)
Lucy Lippard juried this piece into the Women's Caucus for Art: "from the center” 
exhibit at the Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL Jan, 2010. 
In honor of 'black widow' being part of David Lee Black's Create your vision photography workshop this Sunday, I wish to share the story of 'black widow ...'
I made 'black widow ...' in 2008 when people were still using VCR tapes. Now when people see 'black widow ...' they ooo and ahhh as if VCR tapes are as old as the rotary phones.

I got the idea when I got a glimpse at the insides of one of those VCR cassette. I saw this shiny, ribbon like material and immediately thought it would make a great dress.  I noted that the VCR tape not only had this shiny black quality but it also moved with any kind of breeze and it was reflective and it also made a beautiful sound when it moved!!! All wonderful qualities to have in a material!!! And to highlight all these I decided to use a chicken wire armature for the bodice and weave the VCR tape into the chicken wire and then create the skirt by hanging endless ribbons of VCR tape.  

Now an interesting happened when I was creating the armature ...first let me share with you that whenever I start any dress I do not have a preconceived idea of the shape of the form but just 'follow' the material and the dress.  As I was working with the chickenwire, molding and twisting it into the bodice, the waist was becoming very small and the breasts were growing?!?! As I continued I realized that this dress was going to speak to the inane expectations that the media, TV, magazines, Hollywood  creates for women!!! That from the youngest age girls/women are told how to look and how to act and a majority of those messages are not healthy (although there has been a movement for more healthy images in the media for girls/women, but honestly it is still pretty nasty out there) 

So as this thought was percolating I felt the need to close off the arm holes of the bodice, as a way of symbolizing how these messages and expectations presented by the media trap and stifle women. 

Once the bodice was finished I covered it with VCR tape in one of my favorite methods, weaving and then created the skirt.  I do not know how many VCR tapes I used (wish I had kept track) and 'no' I didn't use particular movies (another question I am asked).  After creating and showing the dress I did have MANY!! people asking if I wanted there old VCR tapes. It was interesting as I believe I witnessed the ending of the VCR tape era, as the amount of tapes that I was offered was mind-blowing.  I did take many boxes because I do think that this is an awesome material.  

It seems to be weather-proof as well.  In 2012 I did a workshop with the Happy Hollow Elementary School in Wayland, MA where the Students and I created a jellyfish out of VCR tape.  Click here to see a blog post about my visit to the school!! 

A last note about 'black widow ...' is that I feel it also reflects my personal feeling about watching TV can be the death to creativity, imagination and so much more. 

Below is a bit of a blogpost from 2009, when the Starbuck's coffee cups had different quotes on them ...

13 uninterrupted years!!!! lost

This is a quote that came on my Starbuck's cup and I HAD to share.....
The Way I see It #51 ~
"Americans spend an average of 29 hours a week watching television- which means in a typical life span we devote 13 uninterrupted years to our TV sets! the biggest problem with mass media isn't low quality- it's high quantity. Cutting down to just an hour a day would provide extra years of life- for music and family, exercise and reading, conversation and coffee."
--Michael Medved, author of Right Turns & radio talk show host

That is a little over 4 hours a day which equals 13 YEARS!!!!!I am the person who, in college, learned that you spend about a quarter of your life asleep and I tried to stop sleeping - that didn't need sleep, but TV?!?

So that is a bit of the backstory of 'black widow ...' and if you can come to Plymouth today and join a wonderful group of creatives taking pictures in a inspiring space with modeling and musicians!! it is an event NOT TO BE MISSED!!! XXX


Eleventh in a series of a wonderful growing community of supportive and talented photographers of all skill levels.

We will be photographing at the amazing TreeHouse Studios of Kristin Hughes-Craig located at 84 Court Street,Plymouth, Massachusett with professional lighting, backdrops and a projection screen! 

We will be photographing the lovely model Capri Lanning-Cafaro. Capri will be interacting with artist Virginia Fitzgerald's hauntingly beautiful dress sculpture, "black widow . . ."

There will also be plenty of helpful guidance and suggestions to enhance your passion for artful photography.

Feel free to invite your friends or share this invite!

What to bring: 
Camera (All kinds of cameras are welcome)
Your creativity
Optional: Examples of work for peer review

Cost: $50

Parking is street and parking lot on side of building. Also there is a public parking lot behind Plymouth Memorial Hall across the street.

We will meet at 10:30 am for meet and greet (refreshments provided).

This just in . . .
The wildly talented @Steven Lanning-Cafaro will be playing classical and flamingo acoustic guitar for this special event!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

'lilith contemplates ...' in Rockland ME and the Portland Press Herald tells about it ...

In today's Portland Press Herald, Daniel Kany reviews  'What You See...' , the current exhibition at the Carver Hill Gallery in Rockland, Maine. This exhibit is where I am debuting three photographs on aluminum,  from my 'lilith contemplates ...' series.  Click on the links below to read the entire article and to go to the Carver Hill Gallery's web site.  I have also listed the other exhibiting artists' links below.  Happy surfing!!!
in the Sunday Portland Press Herald.

'lilith contemplates pallets ...' (2015) in the exhibit

"In several images, Virginia Fitzgerald takes a freestanding, shoulderless dress sculpture out to play the part of her model and muse, with an eye to its ghostly emptiness. The dress, however, finds its best repose leaning against a garage wall with an old push mower. As a couple, they punctuate."


WHAT: “What You See …” Works by Sharon Arnold, Craig Becker, Nadine Boughton, Virginia Fitzgerald, Seth Lester, Elizabeth Opalenik and Agnes Riverin

WHERE: Carver Hill Gallery, 338 Main St., Rockland

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; through May 31

MORE, 594-7745


Digital and photographic compositions from 7 artist including Sharon Arnold, Craig Becker, Nadine Boughton, Virginia Fitzgerald, Seth Lester, Elizabeth Opalenik, Agnes Riverin.
Link to article:
'lilith contemplates detours ...' (2015) 

links to other artists:
Elizabeth Opalenik

Sharon Arnold

Craig Becker

Nadine Boughton

Seth Lester

Agnes Riverin

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Nearly 150 years later, Mother's still want the same thing ... PEACE

To me, it is not such a surprise that the women and mothers in 1870 had the same desires and wants as we women and mothers have today, in 2016. 
It doesn't surprise me, but it does sadden me.  
Julia Ward Howe, in 1870, wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation, asking women to stand up to end war.  
At her time she was referring to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Now, almost 150 years later, I could not even name all the 'wars' and military conflicts that are raging.  It is sad and depressing that violence and war are still such a mainstay of our world.

Here is the post I wrote a few years back about Julia Ward Howe and her Mother's Day Proclamation. 

Thank you Julia Ward Howe; the real mother's day story

Today I got a wonderful Mother's day present ~ I learned about the true origin of Mother's Day and I have been blown away by the story. 

I thought that this holiday had been started, or at least fostered, by Hallmark and the world of commercialization.  But that is false. This holiday DID NOT begin to get people to buy stuff!!!! 

Mother's Day began when Julia Ward Howe (an amazing woman ~  a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet)  wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation, written in response to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.  She asked for women to stand up for ending war. 

"...In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace."
(The full text is at the bottom, thanks to Code Pink)

The fact that this proclamation rings achingly true 142 years later is not lost on me!! So much violence rages in this world ~ in the name of power, justice and even peace-keeping.

Later the holiday was used to help reunite families after the Civil War, lead by a West Virginia women’s group led by Anna Reeves Jarvis.  "After Jarvis’ death, her daughter began a campaign for the creation of an official Mother’s Day in honor of peace. Devoting much of her life to the cause, it wasn’t until 1914 when Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance in 1914." (from the article on Nation of Change's site.) The article goes on to say that Jarvis actively worked against the commercialization of the day, but alas, here we are! 

But that does not mean we are need to keep 'buying' into this commercial version of Mother's day.  We can change the focus of Mother's Day.  Just as Julia Ward Howe called for women and mothers to 'arise' for peace in 1870, we can 'arise' today, this year and next year and demand PEACE.  

We can take this day back from the marketplace and make it a celebration of PEACE.  I believe Peace on Earth would be the best gift to any mom!!  

I have always loved the idea of celebrating Mothers, motherly love and the nurturing concept of TLC and the desire for PEACE only adds to that equation.

  So . .  PEACE! 
Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

Arise then...women of this day!Arise, all women who have hearts!Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!Say firmly:"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,For caresses and applause.Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearnAll that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.We, the women of one country,Will be too tender of those of another countryTo allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up withOur own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."Blood does not wipe out dishonor,Nor violence indicate possession.As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvilAt the summons of war,Let women now leave all that may be left of homeFor a great and earnest day of counsel.Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the meansWhereby the great human family can live in peace...Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,But of God -In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly askThat a general congress of women without limit of nationality,May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenientAnd the earliest period consistent with its objects,To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,The amicable settlement of international questions,The great and general interests of peace.