Project MOCA is a fashion design competition put on by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, they picked nine contestants to compete. We were to draw inspiration for our designs from the wonderful work of Ursula Von Rydingsvard.
The dress I created was inspired by her use of wood and her process. In her pieces she takes cedar wood and places it through a saw to get spontaneous shapes of wood. Like her I took large pieces of bark and broke it apart into tiny pieces and placed them in the areas of concentration, it was a tedious process trying to find pieces to fit together to look uniform. The open circles the bark form around the body are to imitate her constant use of open circles in her work. Placing the open circles around the form was to imply that nature is constantly surrounding us. I chose to place them on vulnerable parts of the body so the bark would read as protection.
Her work as well carries many elements of contrast which I also tried to bring out in my work. The bark was bleached to create a light and dark contrast in appearance. I chose a cotton fabric to contrast with the textured bark. In contrast to the heavy appeal of the bark I chose a chiffon train to flow behind the form.
This piece represents the theme of monumentality that Ursula displays in her work because of my choice in materials to represent a trees monumentally. I chose to add a headpiece to the dress because I wanted to create something mystical, I wanted this piece to seem as though it belonged in another time. This was another element of Ursula's work that I tried to capture.
Trees are apart of nature, something we can neither control or predict, it is much larger then ourselves. Like trees we as humans grow and expand, we are vulnerable at times, and we have moments of blossoming. Both humans and nature have a vital role to play in fulfilling a monumental purpose that we have here on earth.
For the headpiece I hand made silk flowers and I applied them, along with moss, to an eye mask.
For the shoulders of the dress I used buckram and boning to create a strong foundation for the bark to lay on so that it would not collapse in on itself.
For the overskirt I used just buckram to hold the shape for the bark to lay on.
The shoes were store bought but then I used bark to cover them.
After experimenting with different methods, the bark was placed on using fabric glue.