Monday, February 14, 2011

Busy, busy, in progress!

(Above: The top of Charles Otis' gravestone at the Unitarian Churchyard, Charleston, SC. Click on image to enlarge.)

I haven't post for an entire week! Yet, it isn't a sign of laziness; it is a sign of being BUSY! I've got several projects going on at once and couldn't be happier about it!

First, I got permission to make a grave rubbing at the Unitarian Churchyard in downtown Charleston! All the historic cemeteries are clearly marked with rules banning grave rubbings. While some have said, "Susan, you could manage it and not get caught", I would never break such a posted regulation. There's something very, very wrong about capturing the word "sacred" with crayon on fabric after reading the rules. Besides, God would see! I know there are people who think that TOUCHING a grave is a horrible thing to do.....but I wish they could see the churchyard in England where my husband shot THIS VIDEO of the flat markers being used as a parking lot!

(Above: The Unitarian Churchyard, Charleston, SC. Silk over the grave of Charles Otis with a crayon rubbing already made. Click on image to enlarge. Yes....I was flat on my stomach on the brick path in order to capture the last few lines of the touching epitaph.)

So....I've been writing, attaching my resume to emails, linking blog posts and images of earlier work....and finally got the permission! This past Saturday was a beautiful morning to make a gorgeous rubbing! I spent the rest of the day collecting "trash" along the beach and marsh on Folly Island...for another potential fiber art project. What a great day!

(Above: Dress form with "recycled" crinoline made from plastic bags that originally covered linen and silk mat boards. Steve and I own Mouse House, Inc. ... where we frame pictures!)

During the week I have been hard at work on this year's entry for Runaway Runway, a local fashion show of recycled garments. It will be called Recycled Bride. Thus far, I've got the bodice completely made from white/off white artificial flowers collected from cemetery dumpsters. I forgot, however, to snap a photo of it. I've also got the paper napkin skirt made. Artificial cemetery flowers decorate the hem. I forgot to snap that photo too. Yet, the photo above shows the crinoline for under the skirt. I'm using the dress form that had been my mother's and had passed down to my sister Sonya....who doesn't even sew! (THANKS!)

I've also been working on part of the veil. The photo above shows a length of adhesive coated Mokuba water soluble stabilizer on which small white/off white artificial cemetery flowers have been placed.

Medium sized flower went toward the "bottom". Then I applied the "clear" water soluble material over the completed arrangement.

Free motion machine embroidered "bridges" connected all the flowers. Then I rinsed away all the water soluble material and let the "veil" dry on my ironing board.

The "bridges" held the flowers together into a unique netting. I'll be adding dry cleaner bags, some clear cellophane and a band of artificial flowers in order to create the finished veil.

After my installation in the window of the Tapps Department store ends next week, I'll have all my colorful artificial cemetery flowers back. Then, I'm going to make garments of two more models....a recycled bridesmaid and flower girl! Runaway Runway is on the evening of April 29th.

September 12, 2011 is Steve and my 30th wedding anniversary. I guess this is the inspiration for the bridal ideas. It is most certainly the reason for my upcoming Artista Vista (spring art crawl in Columbia) installation called "I do / I don't" (April 28 - 30th). I've been collecting "statements" from fellow bloggers and from Facebook contacts. These words are now being stitched (using the same water soluble ideas as the veil above) to six actual veils and onto yards of white ribbon. These items will be suspended from the ceiling. I'll have two "bulletin boards", index cards, and pens for the public to write and post their "I do" and "I don't" statements. I'm also going to make an artist's book with all the "statements". (If you have one you'd like to contribute, just email me at No names will be included!)

My studio assistant Olivia helped stitch all these ribbons. The words say: I do; I don't; Marriage; Divorce; Anniversary; Tie the Knot; We filed for divorce on line; Never go to bed angry; Marriage is a lifelong commitment to an unknowable partner; The third marriage was the charm; If you want your marriage to work, work at your marriage; Marry in haste....Repent at leisure; Compromise; etc. etc. etc. (Thanks so much to those who have already contributed great statements!)

As if these projects aren't enough, tomorrow is INSTALLATION DAY at Waterworks Visual Arts Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. A selection of my Decision Portraits will be on view. I'll be posting soon! Also, we are traveling to Vancouver, British Columbia for a long weekend....and to watch two of my artificial cemetery garments from last year's Runaway Runway in this year's Wearable Arts Award fashion show!


"Rhojo" Baldwin said...

Fabulous! I am awe struck and inspired. Congratulations!

lynda Howells said...

Oh Susan, what an amazing project and what a lot of work. It looks beautiful Please keep us in the loop. would love to actually see and touch it. I am a great believe in asking ..if you don' will never know if you could or not. I have never been told No when l have asked for permission to do things. Go for it girl..thinking of you xxlynda

Lynn Cohen said...

I am in awe of how you do those flowers...what dissolves? Amazing!

Anonymous said...

...oh,the flower veil is so ineffable!! I know I am late with a marriage quote...heard it at the doctors office. 'marriage is filled with love and ultimately loss but the love is stronger'.

Mat Boards said...

Hola!I am so impressed! Can you post the end product of that veil when paired to a wedding dress?Thanks!


Loved this post and all the photos so I could really SEE how you did it!