Monday, July 06, 2020

True Blue

(Above:  True Blue, vintage, shrunken wool wedding bodice with hand embroidered marriage vows suspended on a padded coat hanger.  19" x 19" x 6".  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Before going to bed every night, I spent time with a threaded needle.  It is relaxing.  It is how my day winds down and how I spend time watching television with my husband Steve (who has the remote control!)  For the past several weeks, the object being stitched was a tiny, shrunken wool bodice.  It was worn by a friend on her first wedding day.  That marriage didn't last (though the second attempt is now in its 56th year).  As a felter, she once threw the bodice into a hot bath, shrinking it to an impossibly small size.  Recently, she donated it to my stash, and I immediately started stitching on it ... like THAT NIGHT!

 (Above:  True Blue, reverse.)

I was so excited!  I knew that it would become part of an upcoming anniversary installation.  Thankfully, I snapped a picture before starting.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this bodice ... stitch it into some that spoke to the promises (whether realized or not) that happen on a wedding day ... the exchange of vows, the hope for the future, the gem of love held in words of forever.  The small size seems perfect.  It seems like a view to the past or the tiny silhouette on a distant horizon.

(Above:  The picture I posted on my blog on June 5, 2020 ... including a photo of the front and the back of the little wool bodice before being stitched.)

The anniversary installation is underway.  I'll be blogging about it soon.  So far, I've got seventeen wedding gowns.  Twenty-three more are needed in order to have enough to represent all forth years of my marriage ... next year ... September 11th.  I've purchased another, heavy-duty rolling garment hanger to hold them.  I've got a list of 3D objects I plan to make, pieces that represent the traditional materials for anniversary gifts.  I've read plenty of on-line articles detailing the exorbitant expenses of many weddings and the commercialization of "the big day". 

In the meantime, I've been stitching on True Blue.  First, however, I had to determine the words I wanted.  I researched that too.  For the most part, I used a page from The Knot.  The article was called 'Transitional Wedding Vows from Various Religions' ... and used bits and pieces from several of the listings in order to come up with:

In the presence of God and these our friends, I take you to be my spouse, promising to be loving and faithful, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, to comfort and honor, forsaking all others, till death do us part; and thereto I pledge to be yours and yours alone. This is my solemn vow.

For the most part, I was trying to come up with as many phrases as possible ... because I knew that this garment (regardless of its small size) was going to require lots and lots of letters!  I was right!  These vows were stitched nearly twice on the torso and almost once in its entirety for each sleeve.  I cut a padded coat hanger down to size, suspended it in front of a golden damask background, and shot these images.  I also used a monofilament to force a rotation for a video.  CLICK HERE for that You Tube video. 


SarahEllis said...

WOW! Just WOW!! I love the way your mind works, Susan!

Els said...

This is a very special one Susan !!!

Susan Lenz said...

To Sarah Ellis and Els: Thanks so much for your kind words. It has been difficult to go ahead with the entire idea for this anniversary installation due to the spreading virus. Few venues are in a position to discuss exhibition opportunities for next year because shows and events are still being cancelled for this year. Often, these cancellations are postponed until 2021 ... meaning 2021 is also in a state of limbo. These are indeed crazy times!