(Photos by Beth Wodnick)
Suburban Fine Arts Center Exhibit Pictures - 2 - 12 July, 2005
study in color, texture & line
My mother was a talented seamstress and could not only design, but
execute an entire wedding party ensemble including hats, purses, and
fabric-covered shoes. She instilled in her three daughters the love of
art, and we each took this in our chosen direction. Mom is still my
greatest influence in this field.
Being faced with a puzzle or challenge
excites me. My inspirations often come from nature, so my camera travels
with me. Most of my photos are juxtapositions, ironies and rhythms found
Then, I rely on my spirituality to lead
me to a technique or theme. Also as I am working, I am only the tool that
executes that spiritís bidding. Being with this garment, I feel earthy,
full of life, and flowing. It feels like a sculpture to me. I try to stay
loose and follow the trail. Sounds crazy but it works for me.
It started with leaves. I wanted to depict leaves in a natural form. I collected, drew, cut stencils, and preserved leaves in plastic for a year.
At the same time I made muslins for 5 or 6 jackets. I finally decided on a pattern that I felt comfortable with. The next step was the fabric. When I start a project I rehearse many fabrics. This one was difficult because it needed more than a few yards. Most of my fabrics are a yard or two. I knew I wanted hand dyed fabric and was not ready to start that project also. I needed to use my stash.
I laid out the candidates along with fabrics that would “go with” maybe. After weeks, I cut out the final choice. That was sandwiched on top of a middle layer and silk lining. The next step was to decide on the machine embellishment. I started with curved lines of simple straight stitches. That didn’t seem enough – they were not perfect – they were already on – I sewed over with fancy machine stitches.
The most important part of my decision making involved Pearl Ellis. I took the pieces to Vogue Fabrics, hoping I could find a front lapel fabric. I also carried strips of possible seam bindings, linings, etc. She was very excited that I had brought a few pieces purchased from Laura Murray many years ago. She spotted a dyed kimono piece that would be the perfect lapel. I hadn’t even considered it. Thank you Pearl. She also helped me with a few other suggestions.
I was swept away, ran home and with great difficulty and hours of help in the fitting process from my friend LJ wound up with a piece that came alive before the last stitches were taken. It demanded many hand stitches. It doesn’t drape – it moves and seems to have its own body. It is almost a sculpture. The construction of this garment took most of my time for at least 2 months. It was very exhausting and at times frustrating. I admit now that I gave up a few times. Now of course I’m glad I did it and can’t wait to make another, I already have a few ideas.
Contact Webmaster at WomensJourneysinFiber at gmail.com
All Rights Reserved
All text and images are the copyright of Women's Journeys in Fiber or the individual artists. Reproduction of any kind is prohibited without prior written consent.
Last Updated April 6, 2013