In October 2018 I started working on what would become a wedding dress. An image of the work came to mind soon after sending Little Black Dress to its home in Chattanooga earlier that summer. This new one, Wedding Dress, would be ivory with ivory waxed linen to add delicacy.
The dress was started in the studio; woven first over a dressmaker’s form, then off-form to complete the structure, then several coats of paint followed by several days of sanding and clipping loose fibers. Finally, by mid-November, I could take her home for the last step—the application of the waxed linen, perfect for the upcoming long nights that started at 5 in the afternoon.
I began at her hem and worked upwards, layer after layer. Square knots at reed junctures: right-over-left and pull; left-over-right and pull. The strands were a little shorter on the bodice than on the skirt—a subtle design element. Another subtlety was to place the knots a little closer together around the hem, arm openings and neckline to better define the edges. Knot by knot and inch by inch: right-over-left and pull; left-over-right and pull. Altogether, a little over 7 weeks and 4,000 strands to finish her. Granted there was Christmas, my birthday and New Year’s during that time. But still 4,000 strands.
Interestingly, and unexpectedly, in the knotting process I felt somehow like I was beading the dress. One bead at a time, row after row, from bottom to top. Even more so, during the knotting/beading, it also seemed as if the wedding dress was slowly embodying itself in the process—as if it was becoming both a wedding dress and a bride.
I remembered this with Little Black Dress. She had her own personality, one that absolutely aligned with the person who took her home. Makes me wonder who the bride is.