Coat-Poem in Progress


I am post-first-draft of a new novel, and my children have had only two normal weeks of school (meaning four days per week) in almost 2 ½ months, since the beginning of December due to illness, power outage, ferry shut-down, and the Christmas holidays. And yesterday was the B.C. legislated Family Day. There is no power in earth or the cosmos that can legislate a real mother holiday in which we do nothing in our own homes. I am nearly brain-dead.

Fortunately I’m going to spend a week at St. Peter’s Abbey, Meunster, Saskatchewan for an annual stay with the Saskatchewan Artist-Writers Retreats.

And I’ve been gathering materials, making black and purple velvet roses, so far 152.

I try to take pictures of the clothes I destroy in the process of making new ones of Revisionary Design, but I haven’t shown them until now. Here is the work-in-progress – my first combined art-writing garment, a coat-poem which I will be working on at St. Pete’s.

The Astrakhan lamb coat belonged to my Ukrainian grandmother, my Baba. I cut off most of the bottom, to use in the making the Red Velvet Waterfall Scarf — and also just because the coat was so heavy, it felt as if I was wearing the entire sheep. I combined it with a velvet A-line opera coat from the 1950’s, my mother’s era. A 1960’s black velvet dress and a 1980’s purple velvet dress have vanished into roses, and I’m planning to use the pink-gold material and beads from the Indian cameez.

And there’s a developing poem, of course, which will be sewn in.

My Baba came to North America when she was 10 years old, and was “married” to a 30 year old man when she was 15. He died before I was born. No one over talked about him. The silence is frightening.

I’m going to cover myself in this.

I’m going to wear this coat.

This entry was posted in Feminism, Poetry, Revisionary Design and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Coat-Poem in Progress

  1. That sounds wonderful! Lucky granddaughter. My mother got married in 1960 and I have her dress, but I haven’t done anything with it.

  2. Barbara Hoffmann says:

    I love reading how you deconstruct a garment to make something new and meaningful. This month I took apart my 1959 wedding dress and made a bustier and gored skirt for my granddaughter. She has her own wedding dress, but I thought she might want this for an evening event. I was able to salvage many lace motifs and apply them to the new costume. What fun to see my dress become a new idea.
    Barbara Hoffmann, Leominster MA

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