Thursday, May 21, 2015

filling in some blanks . . .

This past Saturday I had the honor to speak at 'Wake up & Smell the Poetry".  I spoke about my beloved #dressproject and what a wonderful experience it was for me!!! To get back into my #dressproject mindset is such a joy!! 

And I was in the company of many inspiring and talented people.  First, Susan McGee Bailey and Camille Breeze were the two other presenters (click here to read their bios) and then there were so many moving and wonderful performances/poems during the open mic. portion of the program.  
I am happy to say for those far and those who couldn't attend, the entire exhilarating morning was taped by HCAM and will be available for viewing sometime in June. 
(no worries, I will share when it is out!! ;-)

Below is a slideshow of the photos that I collected to accompany my talk; just a few of my dresses to help me demonstrate where the #dressproject has gone during these past nine years :)

Also on the exciting news front, this week I had my first day as shop photographer at this tremendously awesome store in Natick, Renew Arts & Industry!! talk about this visual wonderland:
Welcome to the world of Renew Arts & Industry. Located in Natick Center’s cultural district, we are Metrowest Boston’s premiere gallery shop featuring mid-century modern design. We offer a thoughtful mix of quality vintage furniture and d├ęcor, tableware, pottery, original art, hand crafted greeting cards, and artisan jewelry.  
I am so excited about this opportunity as it has allowed me to purchase a Macro lens for my camera and it is such a treat to photograph all their amazingly cool merchandise!! So a win-win all around.  So below are a few of the photos from my first day!! Loving my new lens!!! 

see why I am so happy!! a visual wonderland!!! 

So that's a bit of what has been keeping me out of trouble.  
Also, as much as I LOVE writing these posts and would love to post daily, 
I am realizing that isn't going to happen at this point in my life.  

I have been able to post more regularly on my DailyDress Inspiration blog
so please visit that blog and see what happening there!! 
and,  I will be here as much as I can, because as I was preparing for my lecture I referred to this blog many times and recognized the importance of this visual diary of my journey as a mother, artist and creator of the #dressproject.  And I am truly grateful for your company on this terrific ride!! xx
namaste, va

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happening this Saturday, May 16th . . . talking about the 'dressproject' @ "Wake up & Smell the Poetry"

I'm truly excited about this Saturday!! I have been invited by the lovely and talented Cheryl Perreault to be one of the presenters at her provocative program Wake Up & Smell the Poetry!!

I will be one of three speakers, the other two are author Susan Bailey and singer/songer writer, Camille Breeze.  And as you can see from their bios, below, this should be quite the morning!!!
I am so honored to be included in this prestigious group.

In 2010, Cheryl invited me to speak about my 'dressproject' to the Women's Art Forum in Hopkinton.  It was a stellar evening, and it lead to an article in the Hopkinton Crier, written by Helen Prunty Krispien, who was in attendance for the talk.  Click here to read the entire article.   


I always love to speak about the 'dressproject' and my art in general. Besides loving to share, I learn more about the work every time I speak about it.  It is also a treat to take the time to sit back and review the 'dressproject' as a cohesive body of work.

Since it began, in 2015, it has expanded from ephemeral dresses to life-sized sculptural dresses to painted, collaged, drawn and printed dresses to a whole division of the 'dressproject' based on an origami dress: my dresstags, dresscards and dressmats, which lead to the creation of my 'dailydress' inspirations blog and FB group. 
'wedding dress . . .' (brenda's dress)
first dress of the 'dressproject'

And, YES, it started nearly 10 years ago, in August 2005, on the beautiful beach of Wells, ME. The story behind the beginning alone could be a topic of a lecture. I was experiencing much insecurity and tremendous growth as an artist when I discovered the dress form.  This iconic image presented a perfect structure within which I could explore new and old beliefs, opinions and concepts, concerning myself and the world around me.  As I say in my artist's statement, the image of the dress became my soapbox.

For my talk in 2010 I collected 300 slides!!! and successfully got through them. This Saturday I am limited to 20 minutes!! which I am finding a bit daunting as there is so much I can say about the 'dressproject'.  For many of the lectures that I have given I usually go in and see where the energy of each situation takes me, this time I believe I need more of a plan!! 

I am pleased to say that I will have some of my books, 'the dressproject: the beginning'.  I have had many requests for these books, and I have had issues with getting it published.

So, I now have a new publisher and a slightly different format, however I have YET to find a less expensive option for such a book . . . but my search continues!!

However,  I will have about a dozen books for sale, along with some dresscards and photographs of many of the ephemeral dresses.

So in conclusion, as I noted above, this has all the makings for an inspiring and provocative morning!! I hope you can join us and if you can't (& I know any weekend in May is CRAZY!!), it is going to be taped and will air on HCAM, see photo for schedule and it will also be archived.

schedule for the airing of Wake up & Smell the Poetry

So now you must excuse me as I need to prepare my presentation!! 
peace & thank you for stopping by, va

this mosaic was made for me by one of my past student from Dana Hall,
she took a photo of me at one of my openings and made a mosaic of the
image using pictures from my 'dressproject' and some other work!!
thank you so much Rui Ray Fu!! 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#wip wednesday: a little catch-up

There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time. ~Napoleon I, Maxims, 1815
 here's a bit of the projects that are filling my time these past few weeks . . . 

latest embroidery, made for a dear friend and angel!!

Still pulling together and creating pieces for my second delivery 
to the oh-so patient Eujin @ Uni-T!
new dresspaintings, heading to Uni_t at the Natick Mall

more flowerpower paintings for Uni-T
new dresspaintings, heading to Uni_t at the Natick Mall
dresscard design
most recent order of dresscards heading to Uni-T. 
My plan is to offer these notecards for purchase online  . . . just need to figure out details, the how.
I am thinking about offering a kind of DYI approach - create your own set of notecards, as I can't fathom buying just one card online?!? 

'i still rise . . .' 19april15, 43F, 7:30AM
one of the ephemeral dresses made during these past weeks - 
to see all of these ephemeral creations check out my instagram accountFlickrtwitter or FB. 
I post them on those sites on a regular basis only because I can post directly from my phone.
I want to figure out how to post directly onto this blog, but until then . . .

'dear jeff . . . ' at the SSAC just before i packed her up . . .
and as all good things must end, "Forever & After" closed.  It was incredible exhibit and experience.  Also the difference in the weather on the day I delivered my pieces (freezing and with snow piles so high that it was dangerous to drive) and the day I picked them up (sunny, warm, Spring)!!! 
Gotta love weather to live in New England!! 

Lastly I am still pondering, playing with #the100dayproject and will be posting 'part 2' of that mental discussion in the next few days.  However no matter what I decide to do for the project or/and if I even decide to do the project at all, this has been a terrific exercise in thinking about social media, time and purpose!! 

so 'til later, thanks for stopping by and joining me on this amazing journey called life!! xxxx, va

Sunday, April 19, 2015

#the100dayproject: distraction or solution?!?!? (part 1)

(warning: this post goes against all the social media guru's advise to 'keep it brief.'  However I have always viewed this blog as a chronicle of my current state of mind, and how that affects my art, my choices and my life.  x)

This world of social media exposes a user to many, MANY ideas, opinions, events, opportunities, recipes, projects and distractions (to name a few of its offerings).  Earlier this month I discovered a 'project' that really caught my attention, The Great Discontent 's  #the100dayproject.

kitchen table drawing
I was intrigued!! i LOVE challenges such as these! My brain started to explode with ideas about the best project for me to do for 100 days!!! Everything seemed like a perfect activity, heck most all of the examples in the graphic above excited me!! In fact the more I thought about doing 'X' for 100 day straight, the more my heart raced and my enthusiasm mushroomed.

However I am the QUEEN of productive procrastination and I started to wonder if this newest undertaking would fall into that category.  
 is this something i 'should' do now?!?!? 
in fact, what 'should' I be doing now?!?!? 
That last question has been tormenting me these past weeks, causing me to get in a rut. So as this mental debate about my #100 day project continued in my head, the start date of the project past and so did my excitement.

But then, this weekend, I once again stumbled onto information about the project, along with the announcement that even though the start date has past, late comers were always welcomed!!

I took this as a sign that I DID need to join this 'movement', and for numerous reasons.  The first reason being that I AM in a RUT!! I am not one who is usually stuck, but I am paralyzed, stymied about the direction of my career, of my art, of my life.

In the past my answer to any and all ruts was to work, to make art, make a dress about the situation!! but since the divorce that has become a much more difficult response.

Sadly, making art, especially large sculptural dresses, has become complicated.  There is now a much greater pressure for financial success.  There is a much larger demand of my time and other resources.  One of the result of such constraints is that everything has become precious and for me that is the kiss of death!!

hand-lettering quote
My time feels precious, so my output feels scrutinized, mistakes are not welcome and everything must have a purpose and a successful outcome!! that is not a state that encourages any type of true creativity, especially not for me! So one of the perks of #the100dayproject is that by repeating an activity/practice it becomes less precious - and for me that is a very good thing.

Also, as I alluded to above, I am struggling with the direction of my career, art, life.  I am at a crossroads.  I wholly desire to make my living via my art.  I believe in my core that I have a unique 'voice' to add to our world, but I am scrambling to figure out how to share my creativity and vision as well as pay the rent.

Now this is not an earth-shattering life dilemma - most all creatives bump up against this quandary and usually the result is finding a 'job' for the rent and following your passion on the side.  However, I have been reading and learning a lot about a current movement that believes that by finding your passion and your purpose, and with that personal knowledge, you can make a financially successful business.  One champion of this theory is Ann Rea, the creator of Artists who Thrive.  Another believer is Scott Dinsmore, just listen to this TED talk, How to find and do work you love.

I want to excavate my passion and my purpose and find my value.  In Dinsmore's talk he addresses the need to get out there, make mistakes and do work, to see where your passion lies.  As I see it showing up for 100 days of work would be doing the work!! And though that process I would think you would discover your true purpose?!? So reason number two, a good way to excavate my purpose.

Another positive is that to sign up you are making a commitment to a larger community?!?! Part of the project is to share your 100 days of on social media!! Nothing like a bit of cyber-peer pressure to help motivation?!?

Also I see sharing as another way to remove the preciousness of the work since during those 100 days you will put out work that you may not think is your best.  Even in the description of the project it is emphasized that it is the 'process' not the product that is important in this project!!

Lastly, the exercise of repeating a practice/an act/a project for 100 days is proven to help add that practice/behavior into one's life.  The number of days needed to change or alter one's behavior vary depending on the source, but it is clear that if you consistently practice a certain activity for X (definitely more than 21) amount of days, it will become part of your daily routine.  Here is an article by James Clear that explains this theory further, How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science).

Those are all very good reasons to join #the100dayproject, however, I still have some trepidations: is this a good uses of my time, will there be benefits?!?

I already share my creative endeavors online, on a pretty regular basis and I am very comfortable doing it.  On my dailydress inspiration blog I posted a daily inspiration for over a year, possibly 400 days.  With my #fromthelandofdragons series I usually post at least one photo on a daily basis.  

AND I still have NO IDEA what to DO for the 100 days!!!
As I mentioned , almost everything appeals to my creative self - 100 days of recipes, of drawing faces, of embroidering, of doodling on post-its (how fun!!). The idea of 100 days of my kitchen table drawings, or ephemeral dresses or dressmats; it all excites me!!


So I believe to commit to this project I need something that pushes me out of my comfort zone, something that will contribute to my personal growth and/or something I wish to incorporate into my daily routine . . .

(again head exploding)
so many choices, so many endeavors . . .
so much more to say . . .
so , 'to be continued'.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#wip wednesday: bring on spring!!!

'flowerpower:blue' ©2015
'flowerpower: love' ©2015
What has been occupying me these past days is the wonderful opportunity to be featured in the 
window of Uni-T and the Natick Collection. And watch out as 'flower power . . .' struts her stuff accompanied by a new series of paintings!!!!


This is a #wip (work in progress) because there is more to come!! More paintings and prints (fingers-crossed) of the paintings, and Eujin and I decided that I will continue to draw more flowers all around the window with her awesome white marker.  ( see photo below of me drawing some flowers, it is hard to capture these drawings with a camera but it looks so cool in person!!!! ) 

I have happily worked with Uni-T for years; I was featured in the window last summer - they carry many of my dressproject products and the owner, Eujin Kim Neilan  is such a dream to work with and an accomplished artist and illustrator herself.

paintings in progress in my studio
Eugene's book, The Rabbit and the Dragon King
'flowerpower: green' ©2015

white marker on the window
'bloom . . . ' ©2015
 and along with the window installation I finished my submission to Curlypops' #breathingtoanewbeat coloring book.
@virginiafitzgerald 2015
peace, va

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Forever and After" is Ending . . . .

wonderful photo by Cynthia Ryan
As all good things must, the haunting and exquisite exhibit, "Forever & After" is closing next week. 
Presented by the South Shore Art Center, Cohasset, MA and curated by Bill Houser, this group show captures the duality, mystery and beauty of death, spirit and what may come after.  

'dear jeff . . . ' featured in the Boston Globe.
as seen in the current issue of 'artscope
I have two pieces in the show, 'dear jeff . . . ' and ' torqued & tethered . . .'.  I honored to be in the company of five outstanding sculptors; Benjamin CariensGillian Christy, Rosalyn DriscollSally Fine and Christopher Frost.  

The show has gotten much attention, from the media as well as personal commentary.  Here is a link to the ArtScope article and click here to see what Cate McQuaid said for the Boston Globe.  

photograph by Pamela Copeman

catalog of the exhibit.
And definitely check out Pamela Copeman's blog post about the exhibit, she shared some lovely pictures of the show.  

And if you are able, definitely go see this exhibit!!! It is one of those shows that needs to be experienced!!! Well done Bill Houser and the SSAC!!  
this picture is for you Mom!!! :)

peace, va

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#wip wednesday: #breathingtoanewbeat

planning to add a few more elements, creating smaller areas to color

Wow, I am always amazed on fast the weeks go by!! 

Many things on the to-do list and just not enough time.  

But here is one of the projects that I'm squeezing into this week.

Thanks to the wonders of Instagram, I discovered the artist/illustrator CurlyPops who lives in  Melbourne Victoria, Australia and describes herself as: 

"Textile Designer, Crafter, Illustrator, sometimes Blogger & Coffee lover.
Double lung transplant recipient 2013."

As you may notice, we have similiar interests/talents/loves(coffee!!!) but where we vary is that CurlyPops, Cam, had a successful double lung transplant in 2013!!! And as a way to show her gratitude for her "second chance at life" she is creating a fund-raising coloring book for the Lung and Heart Transplant Trust Victoria and she put a call out to all 'creative types' who would be interested in donating a design!!!

who needs a light table when the sun is out?!?!?

Let's see . . . illustrating a page of a coloring book?!?! (LOVE coloring books) and a good cause?!?! I emailed her and added my name to the many contributors from around the world?!?!? How cool, huh??

thanks to photoshop I can draw the different elements and
then combined them into one design!
So I took one of my favorite (and quite apropos) quotes/reminders; "breathe, deeply, repeat", and incorporated it into a design with some of my favorite images; a teapot, teacup and a lunamoth.  I plan to add the prerequisite stars and patterns, and voila, my contribution to the #breathingtoanewbeat coloring book.

Now, back to the proverbial drawing board (aka my computer)
Did I mention that I am having so much fun?!?!?
Happy Wednesday!! & peace,
p.s. Don't forget to be an ORGAN DONOR!!!!