Friday, April 05, 2019

Zophia and the Boa

 (Above:  Zophia McDougal and The Red Carpet Boa.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

It's not really like me to wait more than a week before posting on my blog, especially when I'm at an art residency where all day, every day is "studio day".  There are reasons.  One is the fact that I have spent over twenty-four full hours using the Alliance of Museum's website to research potential places to exhibit my Feminist To Do List.  Alphabetically by state, I visited more than nine hundred museum websites, reading mission statements (to see if my work fit the venue), looking for submission guidelines (or a sentence reading, "We do not accept unsolicited proposals"), and trying to locate contact information for a curator.  If successful, I sent my cover email with the PDF attachment.

This was a tremendous amount of work.  My reasoning is simple: I cannot expect a curator to pick my work for a show if he/she has never heard my name or seen anything I've ever made.  An unsolicited proposals is a long shot, but occasionally it works out.  For all I know, several curators might have opened my PDF. For all I know, one of them might remember my work in the future.  A friend of mine whose job is non-profit fund-raising said that the national average return on unsolicited fund-raising efforts is only 1% ... but it is still done because occasionally it pays off big.  Amazingly, my results are already there! I'm expecting a contract from a museum in Iowa!  I'll announce the show as soon as I sign the paperwork!

 (Above:  Red and The Red Boa, arranged in circles in the Osage Arts Community Gallery.)

The other reason for not posting sooner is that much of my time has been spent making a boa for The Red Carpet Dress.  This spun polyester material is like a thick, very stiff, non-woven interfacing.  It was used at last November's Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show to line all the aisles and the entire entryway.  After the show, maintenance crews were hauling it off as trash.  I rescued a small section (roughly the size of my parking lot!)   

Last month, I spent a total of four days making what was supposed to be a boa but ended up too large, too heavy, and much more like a biomorphic abstraction than anything anyone would ever wear.  I decided to call it Red.  I blogged about it HERE.  Because I still had so much of the material left, last week I decided to make another attempt at a boa.  This time, it worked!  (Plus, I managed to use all the remaining red carpet material!)

 (Above:  Red and The Red Carpet Boa, lying side-by-side in the Osage Arts Community gallery.)

When arranged in circles, they don't look too different, but when elongated, it is easy to see that one is smaller and more manageable to wear.  Luckily, one of the other Osage Arts Community resident artists was willing to pose for me.  

Zophia McDougal is a talented visual artist with a degree from the Kansas City Art Institute and a poet whose poetry zine, What We Face Walking Out the Front Door, is available on Amazon.  We took the photos yesterday and almost everyone of them turned out well.  Zophia is very photogenic!
 (Above:  The Red Carpet Boa in progress.  Half the strips are cut into quarter-inch widths.  Half are not yet cut.)

Although The Red Carpet Boa is technically smaller, it actually took more time than Red to make.  They are about the same length.  Thus, they have close to the same number of individually cut-and-folded strips stitched to an interior red rope.  What makes the boa smaller is the length of these strips.  After attaching the strips (three connecting stitches and one slip stitch around the three to "bundle" the group and allow the strip to move in any direction), I cut the strips length-wise into approximately quarter inch widths.  It took just over six hours to do this final cutting.     

So ... I finally made a boa!  It will be part of my recycled fashion ensemble at the ecoFAB Trash Couture runway show on August 31st at the Tapps Art Center in Columbia, SC.  I haven't yet finished the dress, but I've got time.

 (Above:  The Red Carpet Boa in progress, a detail of the strips.  Half have been cut length-wise into quarter inch widths.  Half are waiting to be cut.)

I'm really happy with the way this piece turned out!

1 comment:

Ann Scott said...

Again, I'm amazed by what you grab/recycle to create art. Bravo to your model, Zophia, who made the boa come alive! It was nice to read that it was a fun project.