Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Cocoon is Growing!

 (Above:  The Cocoon, in progress.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

This is the halfway point in my five-week art residency at the Rensing Center where I'm busy creating a giant, soft enclosure called The Cocoon. It might not look like it from the image above, but The Cocoon is most assuredly growing and the stash on the floor is shrinking in proportion.  Because I can't set up my pipe system in a full cube, I have improvised two additional sections on the corners I was able to install.

 (The Cocoon, in progress.)

These two, wide panels are hanging from one of my sectional cross beams ... which is resting at an angle on top of the previously installed pipe!

If my literary skills were lacking in that last sentence, here's a photo!  I now have two sections hanging from two different corners!  It is working, but I will be taking some of these panels down soon.  Before starting this project, I hadn't thought up a way to transport and store the work. This problem became apparent almost immediately and I found a package of 36, heavy-duty, chrome bedspread/tablecloth, 22" wide hangers on-line.  They've been ordered (and temporarily delayed due to some internal error between FedEx and Amazon ... but I will get them eventually!)

Also apparent is the fact that I can't iron all these panels every time I install them.  Many have garments and other vintage embellishments hanging from the larger, fabric background.  I will be needing a nice, professional steamer.  Perhaps I might look into another SC Arts Commission quarterly artist grant.  They helped with the cost of the pipe system!

Two of the "embellishments" are these adorable baby bonnets.  They have a lovely story.  I received them in a padded envelope six years ago from Virginia Dameron. Virginia Dameron is my husband Steve's aunt.  Steve's parents had pretty much estranged themselves from their families.  Steve did not grow up knowing a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin ... ever! But toward the end of his life, my father-in-law did reach out to reconnect with his younger brother and sister.  Steve took him to a family reunion and later Steve and I attended a wedding for Virginia Dameron's grandson.  She knew I used vintage textiles.  Frankly, I was stunned that she sent them.  They weren't from her side of her family; they were from her husband's family.  According to her note, they were made in 1919 for her husband.  She wanted ME to have them.  I've kept them in the original padded envelope but think it is high time they are seen, appreciated, admired, and part of this project honoring all those "makers" of beautiful household linens and special occasion garments.  Thank you Aunt Virginia!  I know you are looking down from heaven.  Aunt Virginia died on August 5, 2015 at age 92.

Someone undoubtedly wore this silky nightgown ... probably on her honeymoon.

This little infant's dress came out of the donation dropped off by Jinny Cherry.

Above is the other, wide panel hanging from a cross beam positioned at an angle on top of my earlier erected corner.

I have no idea who wore this little, newborn sleeping kimono but it sure looks great surrounded by napkins and crocheted doilies.

Because I have two sections hanging at angles on my original set-up, I now have two triangular enclosures behind the new panels.  Stepping inside really does feel like "being in a fabric cocoon"!

Also, the lighting (which is admittedly pretty poor for photographing this work in progress) is such that shadows from the front of the panels are cast on the back ... inside the triangular spaces.  To the left of the green tablecloth square, one can see the shadow of ....

... the blue-on-pink butterfly quilt block.

I have focused on using the guest and dish towels too.  These panels aren't wide at all but have provided unique spaces for doilies ...

...including some that are otherwise next to impossible to incorporate.  This sort of frilly doily was never meant to lay flat.  Yet, folded in half, it hangs really well from a dish towel.

(Above:  Lucy Stone, in progress)

Because I had to travel back to Columbia to collect my other Bernina sewing machine, I was able to pick up the daguerreotype cover images I ordered from Spoonflower.  It is nice to switch to a little free-motion embroidery after so many days of straight, functional sewing.  I have two of these to stitch for my 3D piece on suffragist Lucy Stone.  I blogged about this HERE.

I won't be spending too much time on other things!  After all, The Rensing Center is going to host the first public viewing for The Cocoon in its library on Thursday, July 12 from 6 - 8!  If you are in the area, please consider yourself invited to 1165 Mile Creek Road, Pickens, SC 29671.

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts. 

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