Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Last Beautiful Dress at the Castle in the Meadow ZNE Midwest Gathering

Neither wind nor rain nor tornadoes, power outages, 100% humidity, bad hair days, lack of A/C, a tyrannical tour guide, or even lack of food and water will apparently keep an artist wannabe from his or her pursuit. Such were the conditions at the ZNE http://www.zneart.com/ Castle in the Meadow event Sunday, June 8 at Meadow Brook hall on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

None of the conditions were the fault of ZNE Queen Chel http://www.chelise.typepad.com/, who hosted the event while on a cross-country family reunion from her usual Pleasanton, CA. In fact, we were all so happily crafting (and having wine and hors d'ouevres) in the rock-solid, 80,000 square-foot mansion that we did not know what was brewing outside.

After a tour of the 28-bedroom former home of Mathilda Dodge Wilson, heir to the Dodge auto fortune, and a reception, we set about making our miniature castle vignettes with the wonderful supplies provided by sponsoring vendors, such as Shabby Cottage Studios http://www.shabbycottagestudio.com/, for which I am on the design team.

However, when it came time to leave (after five hours of crafting without air conditioning in a somewhat dank basement ballroom), we were sent back to the basement by police order due to a tornado touchdown in Oakland County.

It wasn't quite as bad as being sent to the Bastille, but with a four-plus-hour drive looming, no substantial meal (and the wine long-gone), we were getting rather antsy. When the all clear was finally given, it took us nearly an hour and a half to go about 10 miles due to downed limbs and power outages affecting stoplights. It seems Michigan drivers, with their unusual round-abouts and left-on-red-rules still have not mastered four-way stop etiquette. As well, there was not a bottle of water or fast food (or even gasoline) to be had for miles and miles due to the power being out. I never thought I'd view Indiana as civilization, but it was sure good to get home-16 hours after I left that morning.

My castle, "La Derniere Belle Robe" (The Last Beautiful Dress) is in the top two photos. The inside of the diorama has a 3-D castle scene, with birds in the sky on a sheet music background. The wire dress form by Stampington I spray painted gold and added some verdigris embossing powder. The form also includes some glass-beaded flowers, a ribbon sash and a fabric swatch pinned on. All of this is, of course, hard to see in the picture.

My project also includes vintage ribbon, millinery leaves and flowers, crepe paper, German scrap and German glass glitter as well as a metal fleur de lis. Without being too morbid, I felt the headless dress form represented the fashionable reign of Marie Antoinette, tragically cut short. The modern dotty ribbon represents the juxtaposition of her fashion trendiness at the time.

This is followed by my travel partner's castle in the third picture. Angela of Gemini Angel Art http://geminiangelsart.blogspot.com/ is a swell Blythe friend, fellow artist and excellent travel companion and navigator. In the next photo, Bernice Wagnitz (L) and Cathy Minerva of ZNE Artists and Poets show off Bernice's Castle. And another sweet unidentified ZNE creator shares her castle in the bottom picture.

All in all, storms notwithstanding, we were queens for a day- or perhaps simply court royalty of Queen Chel. Thanks for a great event!


Joanne Huffman said...

Sorry about the Michigan weather, hope you'll come back and give us another chance. Your castle looks beautiful and so do the others.


Sandra Evertson said...

Gorgeous theatre!
Sandra Evertson