Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wanted: Mannequins

"Force of Nature: Womanspirit Revisited"

I started t0day off like I do most days...eating a bowl of oatmeal while I peruse my favorite computer websites. First stop, my etsy shop. No sales. (Alas, that's pretty typical). Moving on, I checked my e-mail and blog. Then, I started blog-hopping.

Sometimes I think that the time I spend checking out other blogs just sucks up too much of my time. There is danger in that. But by writing my blog and visiting other artists' blogs I stay connected to a larger artist community. It motivates me to keep creating and writing. Often times by visiting other blogs I am inspired to try a new technique or to "push the envelope" a bit more.

Today's blog-hopping brought me an "a-ha" moment.

I was checking out the blog of "SwirlyGirl", aka Christine Mason Miller, and as I strolled down I saw her updated photos of an art project she is doing using dress forms. I've recently seen on some other blog (I can't remember where) someone else using dress forms for an art project.

Suddenly it occurred to me that dress forms or mannequins would be the perfect medium for me to use as part of my "Force of Nature: Womanspirt Revisited" series. I've been working on this series of paintings featuring women off and on for the past year. I keep plugging away on the series in between other projects.

This series is highly personal. This series had it's inception many, many years ago. My life was in major upheaval and I was re-inventing my life after leaving an abusive marriage. Art was part of my healing process and this series was born then. (I wrote some about this here).

Since part of my story is being a domestic abuse survivor, this series reflects that history. It is not all dark and gloomy. It is not just a story of survival. This series is a celebration of women, regardless of their story.

My thought is that I could use the dress forms as mixed media pieces that would reflect the spirit and souls of women who have experienced domestic violence. Some would be directly related to my paintings. I can imagine this series of paintings hanging in a gallery with the mannequins as part of the exhibit. Really, I can see it in my mind. I would love to have such an exhibit draw attention to the issue of domestic violence.

It's been many years (over 20) since I left that abusive relationship. In many ways, I am not the same woman who was in that relationship. And yet, that experience is part of who I am. It made me a stronger woman. That experience shapes my work as a social worker as I help other young women work to make their lives better. And in some ways, it shapes my life as an artist.

So there's my new art project. I'm not quite sure how to make this happen. But I figure if I put it out here, it will push me to work towards this goal. I did say I want to DREAM BIG in 2009.

Anyone know where to get my hands on some cheap mannequins?


Artistic Accents by Darla said...

That would be a great idea! I would suggest going to any clothing stores that are going out of business. A few years ago there we were at a store that was closing and they had all kinds of supplies towards the back of the store like shelving, display units and mannequins they were letting go.
In this economy when store after store is closing, it might be a perfect time to be hunting for them!
Good luck and of course, there's always ebay :)

septembermom said...

Sounds like such an interesting and provocative art project. It is wonderful how you are helping other young women through your work and your art. I look forward to seeing this project grow.

Jan H said...

Darla had a great idea of checking ebay ( also try craigslist)for mannequins. If your inspiration is dying for lack of them, perhaps barbies or other dolls are the way to go. Also they could definitely add a dimension of symbolism. I've heard of altered barbies, so perhaps that's something to google.
Can't wait to see this evolve.

Beth Jaffe thequeenofcups said...

How wonderful! I bet you'll find mannequins in the oddest of places. Good luck with your hunt, you may find lots of goodies when you're on it!
ps try checking out stores at the change of seasons, they're always changing things up then!

Swirly said...

I get mine at Cheap & good selection. Good luck with what sounds like a wonderful project!!