Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011 image

I am still playing around with the new photo set up, but for now it's looking pretty good.
I've been playing around with hairstyles too.  I like the whole ringlet thing that's happening in these pictures.  Hair has so much history, identity, genetics, whoa... opening up alot with changing my hair.  Thinkig about how hair can be challenged even further, maybe next month I will get cornrows? maybe doo-wop style?
I am getting ready for the next dress, already thinking about things to add, which direction to take it.  Thinking about corsets too.  I've been teaching a corset making workshop and allthough I am embarking on making my first corset (we learn as we go), I am getting really into the structure and shape they have.  Hmmm body architecture...hmmm hair architecture.

January 30, 2011

Despite being sick once again, and being too weak to sew or stitch, I love where Elizabeth is going! I feel like I am drawing with thread.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 26, 2010

Sublime, Veneer, Tension, Suface, Imperfection

These are words that are swirilng around my head today.

I spent the evening lookng at cicus costumes and thinking alot about the razzle and the dazzle of performance as well as the pomp and circumstance of creating something magical.

I am also beginning to notice a pattern developing in how I am creating these dresses. In the beginning there is a push to make them stand out, to start gaining attention. In the middle there is an akwardness followed by a place of comfort; I can wear the dress and feel like it fits in. But then in the last couple of weeks it starts to demand something extra, something that makes it stand out, perhaps even uncomfortably so. With Elizabeth I think we are going to venture down the road of creating a bustle for her. Perhaps I may even wire out the black lacey back to make my hips look wider than they are. This might make it interesting to sit.

I have been doing research on bustles. Oh there are so many types. Including retractable ones, which direction to go? If I go super bustle then I am starting to invade space, altering the dimensions of my physical space and adding dimension to my own body. How did women do this for so long? Would it ever happen again? What would the bustle for the future look like? How about corsets? hmmm maybe with the next dress?

It's hard not to get ahead of myself with this project. I think that I tend to have several projects to work on to keep the creative juices flowing, but with this project the intention is to allow the day to dictate what the dress needs. If this is true, then why do I have these little piles of things already set aside for February?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hair and Legs

Two great things have happened with Elizabeth. The first is that for the first time ever, I like my legs. I love the way my legs look in the pictures I keep sifting through. Perhaps it is all those loopholes?

The second thing is that my hair is finally going to get it's rightful bounty. I am taking more of an interest in curling and styling it. Hear that mom, it's time I get some curlers and setting lotion...

January 22, 2011

"Your art is not challenging or gut wrenching enough..."
This is a quote that I heard about my career today.  Hmm, how to talk about this?  Every artist hears this, but it is how one responds to it that can be quite interesting.  My response is to blog about it, think the statement through and really get a sense of whether or not I can see this point of view because after all it is some one's opinion.  I think that to totally disregard and ignore this statement would be easy.  But to attempt to wrap my head around it to see it's vantage point could help me push myself, be a better artist and ultimately accept myself for who I really am... My goal is to respond to this comment with grace and confidence. 
So here it goes.  True my art may not be challenging or gut wrenching for some people, some viewers, some other artists, but it is mine.  I own it.  I can say that what I create is made in my own language.  There is art made out there that responds to other pre existing art and uses a premade visual language to create visual tropes that people can read and understand and reference, but I am trying to invent my own as I go along.  Sure there may be artists out there whose work looks similar and who is creating art within the parameters of a similar concept or aesthetic, but I cannot control that.  I create work that I want to see in galleries, what I mean by this is that when I go into a gallery or museum to look at work I want to find something that moves me, makes me think, but also challenges me... I create the kind of work I want to see, I am trying to make what turns me on.  I want to put into existence the kind of art that makes me excited.  Of course I do this with the hopes that there are others out there who feel the same way.  Art making is a gamble, some people will get it , others won't, but that is true of anything in life.  Art making during the current economic climate is also a gamble, but it is not a shock or a surprise specifically when you are already used to living so intimately with the unknown.  As an artist, I have learned to embrace the unknown, I believe and have yet to be proven wrong but some how things always work out.  Health and Happiness are important and they take top tier in measuring out success.  Health meaning being healthy and strong and happiness meaning enjoying where you are in each moment. 
So let's investigate the nature of an art challenge... if my art isn't challenging enough for any one reading this blog, then I offer this as compensation:  try wearing the same outfit everyday for a month, try cutting it up, and changing it, try changing yourself for something you believe in and then try opening up and talking to complete strangers about it... see what it's like to be on the other side I am curious to know what it would feel like...
Now as for gut wrenching, well the comment may have me there, that is something I have to think about more... how does one create art to make the gut react?  what do I need to do to make my art more volatile? hmm I suppose only time and experimentation will reveal this... perhaps age has something to do with it?
 So I admit that as an artist it is never easy to listen to a critique, but it is our job.  After all, we are trained and poised for listening and responding to critiques of our work all the time, especially if you went to an art undergrad program or a grad school and especially if you are trying to be successful on any level in the art world. We are in fact so trained to listen to critiques that we create a kind of artist statement defense to protect ourselves from the possibility that anything too critical or harsh make it's way into deviating our path of creativity... but having such a concept in place doesn't mean that we want you to curb what you really think of our work... and to that I say "bring it on!" 

January 21, 2011 images

At the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, VT

January 22, 2011 image

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back of Elizabeth

My students said the back of the dress looks like a strongman from a carnival, a strong man wearing glasses. I thought this was a great response. Someone else said it reminded them of a zodiac sign, like ram's horns....

January 20, 2011, details

January 20, 2011, images

I miss Evangeline, at least with her I knew that I was inventing a persona.  With Elizabeth, I feel like I am faking a persona, inventing and faking meaning two very different things: to fake something I am creating a something not authentic; to invent something I am producing or contriving something unknown by the use of ingenuity.  I feel disingenuous. I am thinking too much about each move, each piece each stitch... the stakes are getting higher...what am I going to do?

January 20, 2011

I think I am going to crack today.

So many pressures riding on time. First off I still have not truly regained my voice back and my vocal chords are hurting. Time and no talking will heal this, I hope. Second, my website is still under construction and since I am the designer I need time to finish it. Third I have a two year old whiner, with limited daycare. Only time and consistency will help him out grow this, right? And only making more money to pay for daycare will help....Fourth, I have a dress to work on, an Elizabeth with serious demands to be pulled together, this takes time, and focus and no interruptions. Fifth I need to photograph this project.... When? Sixth, I have a life, I want to go out to art openings, sit and enjoy the company of friends, go skiing, go to yoga, swim.... Ugh! And Seventh, I have students and the responsibility to plan and cultivate each class I teach to make it fun and enjoyable and exciting to come to.

So many little things, I know I have to just take little steps, not get bogged down by the big picture, but today, inside again, another week fractured by daily demands and no time to work in the studio makes me crazy!

Maybe I should just go take a shower.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011

Thinking about architecture and how I am building a dress.  Elizabeth is a very strange dress to wear, she is super warm but the pieces I am adding are just not working together.  I have started to add some wool applique scroll and fill work around the main designs I started with.  I am working with black and white wools, but I have learned the hard way not to wash them for too long because the black wool bleeds onto the white making it look dirty.  So I decided that after I wash the dress, to make he wool felt a little, I would then cut away the white piece only leaving a line of stitches.  The effect is really great. 
Today on Vermont Public Radio's Vermont Edition there was a fantastic discussion about the year 2011 being the year for making things.  I called in to discuss this project.  Emily Blistein from Clementine Store ( was one of the guests and had a wonderful perspective on the subject you can listen to it at
I have also been giving much thought to the way in which this project is being documented.  I must admit that photographing myself and each dress is becoming a project of it's own in a way, something way bigger than I had imagined, so I am currently on the look out for anyone who would be interested in documenting this project with me, perhaps even making the photographs into a project of their own.  I am looking forward to seeing the scope of this project through the eyes of some one a little more photographically professional... know anyone? 

January 14, 2011

Elizabeth is going through her teenage days... akward and weird.

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2011

Finally got out tonight and saw the fabulous Alisa Dworsky exhibit called Drawing Strength at the Burlington City Arts Center Gallery .  Oh it was just wonderful to see such great art in such a great town.  I was able to stay for a short time to listen to her quick artist talk about the show and I have been thinking about something she said.  She said that her art is influenced by her choice of environment, specifically where she has chosen to live, ie. Vermont.  And she mentioned that by choosing to live in Vermont, we are choosing to live in a rural and pastoral environment.  As artists living in Vermont we are making art that responds to this rural and pastoral place, whether we acknowledge it or not. I was floored by this.  Of course we are!  
I am making art that is about the way we dress, how we choose to present ourselves, specifically myself with in a greater context.  It is very difficult to wear a dress everyday when it is 20 degrees outside.  It is hard to wear those boots with little tread, because they look good but aren't quite practical enough to grip the sidewalk.  It feels good to wear a thin leather Chanel Jacket over my sweater dress instead of bulking up with the Eddie Bauer goose down hooded jacket.  I think I am making a really odd break through here, and no I am not loosing my sense of reality.  I realize that there is the practical side of fashion and then there is the aesthetic side.  Right now this dress is choosing the aesthetic. 
Which brings me to her name.  I have been thinking long and hard about this dress and what she is starting to feel like. This collar that I added seem silly and superfluous but some how reminiscent of a Jacobean Ruff, or something Tudor- ish.  Seeing that I am starting to think about transforming this dress completely white with various white wools and linens and embroideries, I think I shall call her Elizabeth for Queen Elizabeth I of England.  I think I may have opened a can of worms with this name, but we'll see what happens next....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011

The not so glamerous side of being me. 
It is official, I have been wanting to deny it,but it's only foolish to keep doing so.  I am sick.  It all started with a mild sore throat, then a little fever, then I felt better, then I lost my voice, then I really lost my voice, then came the cough and now I have crazy eye.  Crazy eye (nod to director Wes Anderson) is what happens when all of my occular blood vessels burst and turn my eyes red.  The last and only other time this happened was exactly one week after getting married.  It lasted three months. 
So now what?  I could keep sewing, but I also have to admit to the fact that sewing is alot like work for me.  Less super fun enjoyable,more business,and can at times stress me out.  So I guess I give in, let my body heal.  Do what it is telling me it needs to do, which is rest.  I have completely lost my voice, all that comes out now is a whisper, no more sexy deep husky voice, just a whisper. 
I finally got to posting the pictures of this dress.  She hasn't had a chance to really be out there, since I have been sick from the beginning.  I also realize that there are an embarassingly few amount of images documenting her right now, so I will try to make it up to myself and her by going stitch crazy once I feel better. 
I have started reading the book NIGHT STUDIO, the memoir about the life of Philip Guston written by his daughter.  You know I have to admit here that I was never much of a Guston fan, but something in me told me I had to try.  So I went online and started looking at images.  Wow, that man could really move paint.  Ha Ha, I wonder if someday someone will say about me, wow that woman could really move stitches.  I apologize in advance, I think I get a little bit of an ego when I am sick in bed. 

January 13, 2011

January 12, 2011, image

January 7, 2011, image

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011

whoa, I almost forgot what year I was in.

Larengitis + copious amounts of snowfall= lots of sewing

This dress, still nameless, got the chop. I cut out her neckline and added a loose knit white neckline from another old sweater. This gives it a little more shape. I also sewed on a crocheted table linen across the chest, it has this circular center that I find really interesting. I may even do some embroidery around it later. The back of the dress got some decorative wool sweater aplique. There is good contrast happening between the brown and the white. My camera has been on the fritz, I am trying to fix it. I promise pictures will soon follow.

Still no name for this dress. There are several that keep poping up in my head but nothing has really declared itself. I find the open possibilities at this stage of the creative process really interesting... like the choices I am making now are just kind of random, what I feel like adding... then later the marks I sew respond to that inital randomness, but somehow it feels less random, more intentional.

Now that I have made the first moves, I am pumped about the next one.... it is already brewing in my head.

January 12, 2010

Do I cut it?! Do I let it stay? Oh the conundrum. This dress is so comfortable and it will stay comfortable if I make it that way, but I guess I must make something happen. I have larengitis so no more talk, only action, well only sewing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 10, 2010

Still in my brown dress. It is soooo comfortable, sooo warm and so without embellishments. I am embracing the simplicity of this dress while it lasts. Still feeling just a little under the weather, I really haven't had the energy to make big changes to this months dress. Tomorrow is another day....

Do have to mention that I left the house in a hurry this evening and in my expedited rush to get to the store I grabbed a pair of jeans to put on. When I got to the grocery store I felt odd, out of place and I looked down and realized I was not wearing the dress. I felt so casual, it was awful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7, 2010

Since I was home in bed sick all day, I got to wear the new dress for approximately five hours. It is brown, cashmere a Gloria Sachs, New York body dress. A friend who came to dinner said it reminded him of an Amish sack. Judging from that comment there is really only one way to go with this month, up and up. It felt so good to not to put on Evangeline today.

Wylie Sofia Garcia

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 6, 2010, Evangeline

It is hard to know what to say about today.  I woke up and felt ready to start fresh again.  Evangeline has become a little bit of a burden, she is so showy and difficult to get into as a wrap around that I am thanking myself for choosing to make several dresses instead of wearing just one. 
Evangeline has had her moments though.  I will miss how towards the end she made me feel like I was getting dressed up for the circus or carnevale.  I will also miss the instantaneous festive feeling I got when first putting her on in the morning.  I will not miss how the wrap around part came right below my bossom and how towards the end of the day my life was being squeezed out of me. 
I feel good about where I am leaving Evangeline.  She started off so fresh and young and has seemed to age greatly as the month went on.  The small rips and tears became weird and unfinished and over mended spots, but it turns out they are some of my favorite patches on this dress... maybe because they were given so much attention early on. 
Now for the anatomy of Evangeline:
Evangeline started off as a simple silver/grey dress that my mom bought me two years ago from Banana Republic.  It all started with a blue silk scarf given to me by a friend.  It was her mother's scarf, and held little significance until I recently found out that her mother passed away a week ago... the scaf was so old that with each wash it kept fraying and ripping, each day i kept mending it, neglecting the other parts of the dress. My futile mending became a rather approprate metaphor for the month...sometimes we have to just let it go.  A long braid was stitched on the left front creating something reminicent of a British Naval Officer and this got me thinking about regalia and how what I am creating with this project is a type of personal regalia. A small gold KingPin pendant was stolen from a childhood christmas bear and added to the front of the dress.  A wool scarf from my mother was added to the sides for extra warmth.  The gold and blue edging of an old Sari that became Evangeline's hem was a gift from a dear close friend in New Orleans.  When I look at it I think of visiting her and touching her pregnant belly (due any day now) the memory still makes my eyes mist up with amazement and joy.  There are felt petals from another friends art.  White embroidery from the cuff of a cashmere sweater, embroidery from an old table cloth no one wanted to buy, and there is green silk from Beijing that I haggled for five summers ago.  The red sequins came from my mother-in-law and the black sleves came from another dear friend in Baton Rouge who I sometimes think of as a mother.  The fleur de lis along with her Namesake were the last items to be added to Evangeline. 
Evangeline, who would have thought so much maternity would make you who you are?  Perhaps you aren't so different from the Evangeline in Longfellow's poem.  Perhaps the "love" and the "light" that is saught after goes beyond just a search for peace.  The phrase "Motherland" is starting to turn over in my brain... perhaps the search is for a place of comfort or even further, a place to belong? 

Evangeline, details

Evangeline, Details

Evangeline, details

January 6, 2010, Evangeline

January 6, 2010, Evangeline

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 5, 2010

I am so relieved there is only one more day with Evangeline. I have been exercising like crazy in an effort to get by on my loophole. I think everything was going great until the tulle was added for New Year's Eve. Before the tulle, there were lots of questions and compliments about the project, now there are just crazy looks and a lot of staring. I guess when you wear tulle on the outside of a dress for several days in a row you become "that tutu girl." I get the hint. So one more day to go, an evening of sewing lies ahead, and a whole lotta thoughts need to get flushed out between tonight and tomorrow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

December 31, 2010, image

Added Tulle!  Added sparkling beads! Added Glam for New Year's eve... this image was taken bright and early in the morning right after I got out of bed and tied Evangeline on... again I am feeling like I am sewing a personalized form of camoflauge... or native costuming... hmmm I like this idea....

December 20, 2010 image

Yes, Evangeline and I are painting the windows of my studio here.  After I got back to Vermont, Evangeline started to feel less glamourous.  A white sweater was added to her (seen here) but it felt like just a sweater under a dress, more grunge rock,less chic.  I feel like I kind of neglected Evangeline when I got home.  I needed to relax and she wanted to be out there.  So I wore her, but I wore her around more private spaces... 

I am a Roadside Attraction

December 21, 2010 images

This is where I started to feel like Evangeline wasn't quite cut out for the cold. I may have been in short sleeves here, but I was so cold.     

December 17, 2010 image

Feeling small standing at the Menil Museum.  I went to see the Tony Smith Painting and Drawing exhibit... the drawings he made before he was an architect.... wow... there's hope yet.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wall Embroidery by my Great Grandmother, Ida

I have always loved this portrait hanging over my grandmother's bed.  I never knew that my Swedish Great Grandmother made it.  I was so delighted and excited to discover this.  Look at how she used the sequins to make the breasts... sequins!  I realize that maybe what I sew and why I sew is genetic...and that the overlap of emroidery and cultural design between my Mexican and Swedish sides are not so different.  This was so enlightening and such a highlight to our vacation down South.

more pillows

I love this last one, look at how awesome the overlap looks.

December 16, 2010 images of pillows

December 16th image

Went to my Mormor's house to have dinner.  This is me and Evangeline on her patio at sunset. While at her house, I discovered that my great Grandmother sewed. (an image is soon to follow.) I also noticed how marvelous the stitchwork and patterns were on a set of pillows on her couch.  Even as a little girl, I loved these pillows, turns out she and my aunt made them together.