Life has many stages... and each stage has it's own point of transition.. or gate. Whether that gate stands apart from the norm, such as a rite-of-passage, a move, an achievement, a life change; or whether it simply slips in unobserved... life's gates are always there. This week's book-of-the-week, The Dressing Room, uses the idea of a performance dressing room as a metaphor for life and some of its less obvious gates.
|wood, recycled ballet shoes, paper and tulle form the book...|
The accordion-hinged pages are 15 inches tall by 6 inches wide, framed with white wood over painted bookboard, and crafted to resemble a tiny dressing screen. The title piece and text were letterpress-printed on handmade Japanese mulberry paper with antique 36-point Bookman type and the Pearl press. Each piece of printed paper was tipped on one end with silk kimono fabric, then attached with a pink satin ribbon to a second printed strip of paper. The paper pairs were slung across the screen as if they were garments.. or in this case ballet pointe shoes. Glued to the four central screen sections are real ballet pointe shoes. These shoes (and their laces) illustrate the text printed on the paper strips.
|Joy, Love, and Creativity... life experiences expressed as shoe laces|
The satin laces of each tattered ballet shoe have been painted with gesso, then formed to express the life experience expressed for that page. In the case of SUCCESS, the laces have been raised over the heel of the shoe and crossed to form a "V"... as if giving the sign for Victory.
The ballet shoe pages on the front side of the dressing screen accordion book indicate positive life experiences: JOY, LOVE, CREATIVITY, and SUCCESS. The back side of the accordion has the counterbalance to each of those four words... and the ballet-shoe illustration, as well. The words and their counterparts are as follows:
JOY -------- DEPRESSION
As the language of the ballet slipper laces was being formulated, a combination of symbolic meaning and common visual cues was utilized. In the case of the word Failure, the laces were cut short so they could not complete the function of tying on shoes. So they failed. Even without an exact translation, the viewer is welcome to construct their own meaning of each word... Sometimes, when no words can adequately express an experience wholly, that is the best option.
|scissors cut the ribbons to illustrate FAILURE|
|final view of FAILURE|
CREATIVITY was illustrated as if the laces were ideas twirling around in one's head, then ending in an unexpected curlycue. And that's what happens sometimes... we end up someplace totally unexpected... and it's all because we're in The Dressing Room of that ballet called life.
|Creativity as a moment of transition|