Tag Archive: Inferno


The Process Continues!

As you know, O Reader, I am continuing to make my wedding dress from pages of books. I have made some progress since the last time that I posted, and I thought I would update you!

The front of my dress is largely made; the three panels will be attached together and form a sheet of fabric, essentially. The end result of the overlapping flowers I used for this part is a very tough textile that has a lot of movement and flexibility. It’s about as sturdy as a heavy canvas, and both heavier and lighter than I anticipated. I think it will work nicely. You can also see in the pictures above that the panels have a really nice texture of shadow and light with the petals. I put a 24-inch ruler down for a size estimate since I didn’t have a yardstick, just so you can have an idea of how long the panels are. I used all of Dante’s Inferno and most of a Native American Legends and Myths book, interchanged for a subtle pattern by the darker flowers. It’s interesting because if you read both of the texts (I’ve read them in full before, and read snippets of them again) they both include focuses on transformation, the journey, and finding appropriate guides.

So that’s cool.

 

The pictures of the bodice are a little blurry but on the left are pictures of the bodice before I started adding the extra outside ‘fabric’. I’ve used Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales for this piece.

I took some pictures of my process. The little, rounded pieces of paper have slits on their fold lines, and I took those little wibbly bits and interwove them, creating the heart shape. I have no idea how many of these I made since I forgot to check page numbers, but it was a fairly complete copy of the “Canterbury Tales” so the answer probably is “a lot’.  It’s rather soothing folding these. Cutting them was a bit harder since I wanted to cut the pages in batches instead of individually (because perfection takes too much time?)  and the paper would slip and move as the scissors went through the layers.

The hearts are based on a pattern my mother showed me when I was younger. The hearts are great for Valentine’s Day, because when you weave them they form a little pocket, and you can tuck candy or cards inside and give them away. Not to shamelessly promote candy giving. I just really like candy and want other people to have as much as they like too!

I originally thought about gluing the hearts into the scale pattern that’s sort of happening, but when it came down to it glue was going to make the papers much too stiff and crackly. So instead, I’ve sewed the hearts together and I am sewing those strands onto the bodice itself. The layers are very thick and support themselves, and the thread holds them very steadily to the framework I have. The strands are also flexible, which makes me have hope for the more curved parts of the bodice. I will let you know how the negotiations with that particular challenge later.

As you can see, I still have a long way to go, but it’s really coming along nicely and is much stronger than I had hoped for.

So, that’s the update! I hope you have enjoyed it, O Reader, and I will let you know as soon as I make more noticeable progress!

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Flowers from the Inferno

This is actually not a post about my garden; it’s an update on my wedding dress.

For my dress, I am taking pages from various texts and … I think the best word is ‘manipulating’ them into a text-ile. (Get it? It’s almost a pun! I’m done.)

For the front of my skirt, I am using flowers made from Dante’s Inferno, and also from American Indian Myths and Legends. I cut each page into a square, and fold it into a flower. Then, I take the flowers and glue them together with Loctite, and form little ten-flower squares.

I’m not quite done with the Inferno yet, but I am getting pretty close.

I picked these two mostly because the books I have are about the same size, so it’s fairly easy to keep the flowers the same size. To make sure I take into consideration paper color difference and the amount of text and handwriting on the pages, I’m planning on making a diagonal pattern where I alternate between the ten-squares of one and then the other.

I’ve come up with some interesting phrases as I’ve done this; I think my favorite is, “No commas in hell”. You can kind of see it in the pictures of this flower square.

I still have a long way to go.

When I tell people I’m using the Inferno for the front of my skirt, I’ve gotten some interesting responses.

“Why not the Purgatorio, or the Paradiso?”

“Is this just because you like the Inferno or is there another literary reason?”

“That’s pretty weird.”

“Oh, cool.”

I could give an argument that the Inferno is a tale of two souls traveling through difficult times together, giving strength and support to each other, before they emerge.

I could say that it’s one of my favorite texts and that it has influenced the literature I read, I write, the images I paint from, the way I view the world around me.

I could say that this is my fiance’s copy, and his writing on the pages leads to beautifully obscure and non-contextualized phrases.

I could even just say that I’m using it because I want to.

But I think the best way to explain why the Inferno, is in the language of the inferno itself. At the end of the final canto of the Inferno, it concludes,

“La duca e io per quel cammino ascoso

intrammo a ritornar nel chiaro mondo;

e sanza cura aver d’alcun riposo

salimmo sù, el primo e io secondo,

tanto ch’i’ vidi de le cose belle

che porta ‘l ciel, per un pertugio tondo.

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle”,

which my copy translates into

“My leader and I entered on that hidden path to return to the bright world; and, without taking care for rest at all, up we climbed,

up we climbed, he first and I second, until I saw the beautiful things the heavens carry, through a round opening. And thence we came forth to look again at the stars.

And thence we came forth to look again at the stars”.

I crewed for my dad’s ultra marathon in Arizona; through the night, I climbed down through the levels of hell with Virgil and Dante, I watched as my dad moved further and further into the pureness of running as opposed to the conscious running; and I waited for him, missing my fiance and the light.  I finished reading the Inferno in the early morning. Just a little while after I read those beautifully constructed sentences, the sun rose, and my dad finished his race.

The memories I have tied to the Inferno are embedded in life imitating art imitating life. I want it on my dress because it is important to me. I want it on my dress because it’s part of who I am in many ways.