Monday, February 27, 2006

On art, craft, and wearing the same dress again and again

I was planning to start this post with an old photo of my mom, me and two of my sisters. We were all wearing the same dress. My mother sewed the dresses for us, and I can only imagine the responses we got when we arrived at church looking like Photoshop gone haywire. Fortunately, I wasn't paying enough attention to people's reactions or I may have needed years of therapy to recover. (Then again, maybe that's what subconsciously drove me to work in fashion?) My poor younger sisters wore the same dress in different sizes for many, many years. Very cute dresses, but I'm sure they would have appreciated a little more diversity in their lives. Sorry I couldn't dig out the photo in time for this post; it's quite amusing.

I was thinking about those dresses over the weekend, in part because I just finished these hats: one for me and one for Bebe. I would have felt a little silly if the hats matched perfectly, so I switched the color placement on them and frankly still feel a little silly. But I'm happy with them and I don't mind having frogged and reknit my hat four times because it's a great fit now. The baby's hat took no time at all, since by the time I made it I was very experienced with the pattern, gauge, etc.!

Pattern: Kim's Hats from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, colors Butane (33) and Cerise (47)
Started: too long ago (like maybe two months ago? I can't remember)
Finished: February 19

Here's a photo of us modelling our new chapeaux.

And speaking of wearing the same dress for a long time, this weekend I saw the Andrea Zittel show at the New Museum of Contemporary Art for the second time. I really like Zittel's work, and I think one of the reasons it appeals to me is the way that she has crossed the barrier between art and craft. Zittel's art involves her home and her clothing, and much of her work focuses on creating new ways to shape her living space and the functional items around her. I like the way her mind works. If you are not familiar with her work, here are a few links that may be of interest:

Zittel's website
Art:21 short bio and summary of her work. Be sure to view the A-Z Six Month Uniform link
New Museum of Contemporary Art website
Photos and a short article about a Zittel clothing show in Tokyo
Another Zittel show currently showing at the Whitney Museum at Altria

One of my favorite aspects of Zittel's work is the dresses that she makes and wears for six months at a time. Her crocheted dresses are really thoughtful, creative designs that cross the line between fashion and art. Now she's making felted tunics. I wanted to find some nice photos of the crocheted dresses to show you, but they don't seem to be available on her website yet.

Anyway, that photo certainly seemed to capture my mindset this weekend. Perhaps I'll dig it out in time for a Self-Portrait Tuesday post sometime soon. And Mom told me those dresses are still showing up at church periodically; they've been handed down many times. Andrea Zittel would be proud.

Postscript: ok, here it is. My sister, Christy, remembered that it exists in digital format. I hope it's everything I said it was.


  1. i am a HUGE zittel fan.... love what you say about her here!!

  2. If I had seen that picture 15 years ago, I would have seriously reconsidered marrying into this family!

  3. i think i would have reconsidered being BORN into this family had i seen this photo 23 years ago.

  4. I love the picture! Lucky for me though, I'm the only daughter of the family, so we never had the matching dress phenomenon, even though my Mum made all my sundresses! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh, I love the postscript snap... I wore a dress very similar at that age, only in tones of pink & white. Wonderful sun dresses. Since my Mum has rediscovered her love of knitting lately, we often match in slightly similar scarves... though not quite to this extent.

  6. Did you happen to notice that a tablecloth had gone missing about the same time these dresses appeared?? Just a thought....

    Totally kidding, obviously. Y'all look great!

  7. How embarrassing! Yikes, did I really make us wear those? Just shows what happens when you are home fulltime raising kids - don't let this happen to you!!