Last week was a pretty quiet week, creatively speaking – right up until yesterday, when I innocently went up to San Francisco to see an exhibit, and got dumped into a huge vat of inspiration.
The exhibit was one I’d wanted to see for quite some time – “High Style,” a collection of couture dresses spanning 100 years, from the Brooklyn Museum’s famous costume collection. The accompanying book had been on my Amazon wish list for quite some time – full of luscious dresses. So when I discovered that the exhibit had traveled to San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum, I decided to go.
The exhibit is fabulous. If you have a chance to see it, definitely do. It covers a broad range of couture designers over a century of fashion. Fortunately, non-flash photography was allowed in the exhibit, so here are a few of my favorite dresses.
I unfortunately did not remember to photograph the plaque for this dress, so I don’t recall the designer. However, I was very taken with the simple lines and the lovely netted pearls and rhinestones:
And I simply love, love, love the sleeves on this dress by Sorelle and Micol Fontana. At first blush, they look like a cape! I love the drama of the contrasting sleeve and lining, and want to use the idea in a piece. Somehow.
And here, to fuel my phoenix obsession, is a shoe with elegant gold-and-black flames:
And finally, who could resist? I bought a postcard of this dress to take home and show to Tigress. (She was unimpressed, of course, having her own, far more beautiful, coat.)
But the exhibit wasn’t all. My friend and fellow weaver Alfred (who went to the exhibit with me) and I decided to have lunch in Japantown afterwards. Alas, the restaurant we wanted to go to wasn’t open yet, so we sat down on a bench to show each other our recent work. When we looked up, this intriguing shop was directly across from us:
If we’d just been walking by, I wouldn’t have noticed it – there are any number of art-paper-and-stationery stores floating around, at least in the Bay Area. But the subtitle, “the origami store,” piqued my interest. About two decades ago I was obsessed with origami, and folded quite a few complex models before giving it up for other pursuits. But I have never entirely lost interest in the art of folding paper. Origami has evolved far beyond the simple paper crane, and a quick look through this shop showed some of the amazing possibilities.
And it may have addressed one of the questions I’ve been wrestling with: what format I want to use for my woven art. I don’t want to do clothing forever, but I enjoy a three-dimensional format; two-dimensional work leaves me, well, flat. But what three-dimensional things could I do with cloth, that aren’t clothing?
Quite a bit, as it turns out. Here are a few of the fabulous possibilities:
Some of the more complex tessellations may be more suited to plain cloth, but I found a ton of inspiration here.
And here’s another amazing book:
Finally, a slightly more useful format:
I’m super excited about all these possibilities, and can’t wait to try them out!
Finally, here is Fritz, doing some paper-folding of his own.