Statement: My Fossil Garments are presented as petrified specimens. The deconstructed garments – sometimes embedded in handmade felt – are offered for inspection on taut surfaces. By carefully cutting apart and arranging the garments, their human connection is emphasized. Crochet and lace, showing through the almost transparent garments, appear skeletal. The rigid framing exposes the somewhat sentimental clothing in an unemotional perspective, allowing the viewer to examine the clothing as archaeology.
I really lucked out at the Rutherford NJ Street Fair one year: several wonderful old christening dresses for cheap! They were very fragile, almost transparent, and I washed them gently, patting, not twisting. With a razor blade, I partially deconstructed them - just enough to open them up, so their form was fully visible.
The fabric was so fine that crochet could be seen right though it.
In this detail, you can see 2 cherubs and a face under the dress fabric, 2 pieces of net sewn over the dress, and wheat stalks embroidered on the dress. I was thinking about this piece as I walked through the park here in Passaic, looking at the old sycamore trees. As these trees get older, the trunks develop big sagging lumps. I decided to add just a tiny bit of that lumpy aging to this first garment - a sharp contrast in this infant dress. Look again at the sleeve pointing at you in the first image.
Fossil Garment #2 (36"h x 27"w)
Yep: this piece has everything but the kitchen sink. It has the dress, crochet, lace, handmade felt (with embedded crochet), discharged scissor and spool images, and a handkerchief that tells the story of Cinderella. This one meets all my criteria for good art: 1. it has real visual power, 2. it has content, 3. the content relates to the materials.
In the upper 'wing' above the sleeve here, you can read the embroidered word Mother (from another handkerchief) and mom's profile next to it. A little further down, Cinderella is sweeping up the threads. Another cherub is playing right over a barely visible Cinderella and her coach. If you really hunt, you might find the word GIRL embroidered vertically along one seam...
...and the prince took her away, with LOVE right over them. Which pretty well sums up the whole fantasy that was fed to little girls. Fossil Garment #2: no head, no working arms, the dress is trying to grow wings, the whole piece is falling apart (and threatened by those red scissors) and she's carrying all that romantic nonsense.