Yesterday I read something MARVELOUS in the on-line magazine Soiled and Seeded — a piece by a Canadian artist Nicole Dextras about how her work reflects growth and decay, seasonality, our relationship to nature–in a context of incredible plant knowledge, craftsmanship, beauty and art-historical reference to amazing garments and mobile living structures (ie types of tents, as in yurts and teepees).  She makes these dresses from plants, leaves, foods, and flowers on armatures also woven from botanical materials.  Actors in the dresses interact with passers-by in various settings, teaching, chatting, explaining, and the dresses are breathtaking in their prime yet equally stunning and stimulating in their decay.

Here’s another video about this artist and her vision.

I’m so excited to learn about this work and thus wanted to share it on KitchenCounterCulture.  Her blog, and this site Little Green Dresses, are treasure troves of ideas, pictures, and explanations, and I was especially excited to read about an event in which several of her “characters” come together:

 “Madame Jardin and Miss Cornucopia helped Agent SeedBomb set up her teepee and then they began preparing the meal. They traded foods to enhance each others recipes and each created a dish to be shared. The Mobile Garden Dress made a salad from the veggies in her over 40 potted plants hanging from her hoop skirt  and added pomegranate seeds from the Nomadik Harvest Dress. The Harvest dress in turn borrowed fresh herbs from the Garden dress to add to the soup she made from the many vegetables harvested from the Fullerton Arboretum. She also made a tasty fruit salad topped with Coconut from the SeedBomb dress. As it was her first time making food, the SeedBomb dress prepare a simple dish of energy snacks by crushing nuts and seeds with a mortar and pestle and rolling them into balls. She also shared some of her fresh sprouts for the salad. After inviting friends to join them in their communal meal, they told stories while soaking their feet in the pool and then later retired, each to it’s own comfy little shelter to bed down for the night…”

Read the whole piece, indeed, in fact the whole blog, as I intend to do after the kids go to bed tonight…

Just as a curious coincidence, maybe 20 years ago (yikes), I was collaging on file folders, and labeling as one would. This one I called “Role Models” and the idea was, I could fill the file with whatever felt relevant to the image on the front. For this picture, I took what must have been an advertisement, a woman dressed in an evening gown of cabbage leaves, and placed her in a lush and lavish setting of fruit and flowers, with a little girl, maybe me, worshipping her, who was also somehow me.  I think I was exploring something sexual but also domestic, wanting to become something, or, for something to happen, to change.

A woman in a living dress feels like something mythic, pan-historical. There are beings who are human and animal combined; this is something human and plant, which is also interesting.  (There are also beings who are animal and plant, as in the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, something I’d like to discuss one day.)

Now I think I was anticipating seeing this gorgeous work of Nicole Dextras, an artist I’m just so happy to know about.  I hope you are as thrilled as I am.

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13 June 2014– here’s a postscript.  There really is something resonant to women (girls) in dresses of vegetation.  Here’s a wonderful homage to the song (“Let it Go!”) so many of our children are singing — this from Formidable Vegetable Sound System, whose catchy Permaculture Principles tunes so many of us are singing!

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