In ClothingAt last! The reveal of our collaborative art project In Clothing We Remember was last Friday evening. Hung from the entrance ceiling of the Cary Arts Center, and wonderfully close at hand from the second floor landing, this installation was the creative inspiration of artist in residence Jan-Ru Wan.

Over a number of months during the fall and winter, many gathered at the Cary Senior Center to paint, silk screen, embroider and embellish donated garments what had been cut up and recombined into fabric collages. Often collars, necklines, cuffs, and button plackets were left intact. The widely disparate fabrics combined together presented frequent creative challenges. How could we help these bits and pieces of clothing “talk to one another” through the addition of creative stitches and other embellishments.

As part of the creative process teens from Cary Art Center youth program interviewed and videoed many of us who had donated garments, inviting us to share the stories connected with these items of clothing. They ranged from a boy scout shirt worn by a son to an exquisitely beaded dress worn on a celebration cruise for a fiftieth wedding anniversary. I donated a light yellow Oxford short sleeve dress shirt I’d co-opted from my husband’s closet…a beloved paint shirt that bore traces of paint from the circus mural painted in our son’s bedroom over forty years ago plus a long ago mural in the church nursery. And, of course, the ever changing colors of the latest home decor palette.

In Clothing - VideoThe edited video is shown in a continuous loop as part of the installation. While I was not interviewed for the paint shirt I donated, I was interviewed with my Grandmother Doll, a life-size story doll who wears my wedding dress and assorted heirlooms that help tell the stories of women in my life who have been influential…both family and friends…both positively and negatively.

The In Clothing We Remember project was an exceedingly enjoyable art experience. Especially the round table conversations the last few months as we’ve embellished the fabric panels while stitching together our past and present stories with new friends. Reluctant for the experience to end, a small group of us┬áhave continued on, meeting monthly, to share our individual passions with one another during an afternoon of art making. I miss my paint shirt, but my messy art apron is bearing witness to some fun times I’ll remember fondly.

If you were to donate an item of clothing to such a project, what would you donate? What is the story you would associated with that item? If you were to create a story doll of the people who have been influential in your life, who would you include?

PS – Many thanks to Joyce Lombard and Patty Van Dyke for introducing me to the creative idea of the Grandmother Doll.

2 comments to Reveal

  • Linda young

    Lynne, I loved reading this. Wanted more. I’m appreciating the fact your doll includes things from those whose influence was positive and also those whose influence was negative. Much to learn from both.
    My mother frequently wore a red corduroy over shirt while at camp. I have longed to have and wear it over the years. Camp was a happy time for my mother and for me. Surely that is why I remember it so fondly.
    Reading that your yellow art shirt participated in the painting of the church nursery brought sweet memories and a smile to my face.
    Enjoyed seeing the fun pictures of you in the post. Miss your smile!

  • Super cool! Can you send a link to the interview?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>