White dresses have been a staple in my repertoire for years. I don't really know why. Clearly they have deep meaning for me...I suspect they represent a certain nostalgia for a time that is not my own...a fictive story of naivete and innocence. I am working on a very large scale installation that involves a white dress.
In times past, the dresses I have used have been found garments, antique wedding night nightgowns, baptismal gowns, simple cotton slips. This time, I will be building the dress. These drawings help me to understand the character in/of the dress more. I am always working within a narrative, searching for the meaning the components wish to impart. It is like searching for a lost love, detecting the whisper of a long dead parent or the mystery in the attic. I follow the clues. The dress, this time, is telling a resurrection story, a hopeful story of rebirth...I think. It may ultimately tell me otherwise.
The bodice of this dress is crocheted, with uplifting 3/4 length sleeves, much too small for you or I. It will hang far over my head, and yards and yards and yards of muslin skirt will take over the room.
Tech notes: these drawings are on UV Ultra tracing vellum. The design was painted on the reverse with gesso. Then I drew on the front with compressed charcoal. the separation of the gesso from the charcoal layer effected by the robust vellum encourages a luminous 3-dimensionality.