Sunday, August 28, 2005

WISCONSIN: "White Pine Dress"

The next dress project took place in Seely, Wisconsin at Castle Gardens, a small home-farm owned by Dan and Margaret Krause. While working on this project I stayed at my friend Amy Maxon's family cabin in nearby Stone Lake. We used tree limbs recently blown off the many white pines at Castle Gardens. "Phorpa" the dog thought my pile of materials was a bed made just for her.

Josey was visiting Castle Garens and kept me company while I built the dress form. I made her a crown with extra chicken wire and she filled it with flowers. Here she is wearing her masterpiece.

Karen and I worked late into the night to finish the 12-foot-tall dress form for "White Pine Dress".

With a little help from "Gray Nose" the cat.

Dan graced us with music from his home-made Native American flute.

Attaching the branches to the dress form took five people about four hours to complete. Here I am with Karen and Calvin.

The completed "White Pine Dress"

I was just another tree for the cat to climb.

Karen looked great in "Pine Dress"!

And Calvin gave it a try-on as well...

The crew! Many, many thanks to my friends, helpers and hosts. From left: Dan Krause, Margaret Krause, Calvin Ramseyer, Amy Maxon and Karen O'Mara.

Monday, August 01, 2005

IOWA: "Prairie Dress"

The Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center in Toddville, IA graciously agreed to host the Iowa dress project, "Prairie Dress". They are working hard to convert their acquired land back to the natural prairie that once covered Iowa.

We needed to secure a permit to allow us to cut the prairie grasses. Here are Craig and Felicia collecting material.

Here Cynthia and Paloma are weaving grass into the wire armature for the dress. I found volunteers to help with the project through a local art gallery and also by searching online.

The completed "Prairie Dress"

I thought it was fitting with the nature of this Great Plains state to keep Iowa's dress low to the ground.

This project would not have been possible without my awesome volunteers, who spent a day with me under the hot sun, attacked by ticks and mosquitos, to make "Prairie Dress" happen. From left: Leif Zalewski, Felicia Taylor (hair and make-up), Craig Volesky, Stewart McCoy (holding the wire dress form), Cynthia Wittstruck, and Paloma Jamal Scheck.

Iowa is in America's heartland, the great prairie lands that became the farming breadbasket for the United States. I found out during my work on "Prairie Dress" that the natural environment of Iowa has been reduced to 1/10 of 1% to make room for farming and housing. In other words, if Iowa was a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, only one piece would be undeveloped nature.