Autumn Orchid

Did you ever have to “make-over” an internet shawl contestant into an “Art Gown”?

Cindy #1b

If you have, you know it’s not as painful as standing in the shadows of love,


…but still, you spent a lot of time looking out the window wondering how!

Cindy #6b

Between the challenges of life, the window of opportunity and the shadows of love, lies hope. I dedicate “Autumn Orchid” to Cindy Knoke, and I hope she just loves it!

Cindy #4

Cindy’s Blog is filled with color, nature, joy and adventure. It is a most positive place to visit, and as beautiful as any “Art Gown”

Cindy MOS #1This gown started, as a shawl.

 The shawl took over 40 hours.

Due to paint drying times, this was over a three week period.

I chose yardage of a 90″ wide piece of floral patterned curtain lace.

This ensured that there would be no seams in the shawl, that it would be 1 piece unto itself.

Cutting deep into the lace around the flowers, a unique bordeur was created.

Cindy MOS #2After mixing metallic copper acrylic paint with fabric medium, I painted the bordeur.

Both sides of the lace were painted.

When finished and dry, the paint was meticulously heat set with a hot iron.

Using finishing scissors, I cut off all micro bits of painted fray.

This made a very smooth edge.

The shawl was entered in a very fabulous talent contest.

It was so exciting!

The slideshow features some of my fave shots of the  finished shawl.

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Oh…. boohoo! My shawl didn’t win. I moodily wandered around the “Art Gown” room for awhile.

Cindy #7

Then, I thought of Cindy, & remembered the old saying “If  life gives you a lemon shawl, make “Art Gown” lemonade!”

MOG #4MOG #5I halved the remaining lace.

One piece went into a pail with copper acrylic paint and water.

The other half was hand painted with copper, cobalt turquoise & a blend of the two.

I cut around the lace pattern to form a bodice.

For the skirt, the shawl was folded diagonally, as you saw in the slideshow, then fastened around  Judy’s waist with the opening in the back. The pail soaked lace was inserted into the back opening.

Cindy #2b

MOG #1MOG #2Flowers were cut out from the rest of the lace. In back, they were ruched onto the insert. In front, they were used like flat puzzle pieces.

Cindy #8

Voilà, more “Autumn Orchid”

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One last nostalgic look.

Cindy #4b12

P.S. I did find a fabulous turquoise orchid online. It is a rights reserved image, so I can’t show you.

Cindy #20

“Art Gown” Autumn Orchid designed by Resa McConaghy – November, 2014

All photos taken by Resa McConaghy – November, 2014

96 thoughts on “Autumn Orchid

  1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    absolutely stunning! I love the make over… 🙂
    Thank you for sharing with us your creative sight 🙂
    Take Care…You Matter…

  2. Oh soooo exquisite. It looks like the gown the Fairie Queen would wear for her wedding. I can see her walking out of the forest, followed by a train of birds and forest creatures, looking like moving, beathing forest, covered with orchids. You have outdone yourself Resa, which I would have thought impossible. The orchids at the bust, the one shoulder of orchids, the gathering at the back, and most especially the incredible train going 360 degrees, makes it look like orchids are falling all around the fairie queen from the sky!
    An artistic tour de force!
    I am honored beyond words.
    Love and gratitude to you Resa! ❤ ❤ ❤
    PS- When are you and your niece coming to visit San Diego??????

    1. Dear Cindy,
      I’m so glad you really like the gown! Your fairy thoughts on it are perfect! Your imagery of the falling orchids is beautiful.
      I do love this Art Gown a lot.
      I’m thankful for having you as a blog pal. You have been a great support over the last months.
      I truly enjoy designing my girls, and have been wanting to do one for quite awhile. Considering I haven’t done one for 8 months, this has been a fab experience!
      ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

      Not sure when it's San Diego time, but it will be one day!
      Love to you, too!
      Resa xoxo

  3. As always, AMAZING!! It’s all in perfect balance and so beautifully executed. Given all the elements, the dedication to Cindy is fitting and I see why you thought of her with this design. SPECTACULAR!! xoxo

    1. Thank you dear Sherrie!
      Cindy has a very beautiful blog. I was hoping this Art Gown would do it justice!
      “lol” I’ll accept Spectacular … 😀 😎 …. with love!

    1. “LOL” I’m da Gown Man!
      Bill, you are a riot, and I’m so happy you like my girls.
      I know they are “Art Gowns”, but it is like playing with a giant doll. xo

  4. Hi Resa my friend 😀
    I have been waiting weeks for this post and, wow !, your creation is so beautiful 😀
    Boohoo that your shawl didn’t win. The judges were jealous, that’s why !
    Boohoo that you took it to pieces. Got a tissue ?
    Then Poof ! Well a long, long drawn out poof ! Poof, another one of your special art gowns to be loved and admired.
    Well done Resa ! It’s beautiful ! Ralph xox ❤ #<

    1. 🙂 Thanks Ralph! Yeah, they can take a long time, and this one took 8 months. Hopefully the next Art Gown will come along a lot sooner.
      I’ve got 12 girls (Art Gowns) now, and I’m hoping someone will discover us soon as we could use a larger apartment.
      Take Care!
      Resa xo #<

    1. Thanks, Karen! I love doing the gowns, but it seems like time just slips by between them. Nonetheless, it’s fun to post one and visit everyone I haven’t seen for awhile. I love your art, and it’s great to see you keep on pursuing with your talent.

    1. Thank you, Francina! I’m so happy you stopped by. Your compliment on my gown means a lot to me.
      Take care, and as always look forward to your poetry. xo

  5. The orchestra played a Viennese waltz. Crystal chandeliers glittered lit by a thousand candles. A hundred gold framed mirrors captured her as she swayed and dipped to the sound of violins. All eyes watched enchanted by the beauty of The Autumn Orchid creation she wore. A night. A dress. Never to be forgotten.

    1. OOH, Virginia! I got shivers reading your comment. You certainly have a special way of setting a scene.
      It’s been 8 months since my last Art Gown, Empress D’Amore, and it feels very wonderful to do one again.
      Resa XOXO

  6. I’d say in your face shawl contest! This is true beauty. A floral masterpiece. And Cindy does share such color, magic and kindness through this cosmic platform. Here here Resa and Cindy. Wish I could reach out and meet you both one day! xx

    1. LOL “In your face shawl contest!” Thanks Wendy, you are a wonderful blog friend. The road is still rocky around here, but hopefully it won’t take 8 months to make my next Art Gown.
      It will be a New Year soon. Yay!!!! xxoo
      Have a great Holiday Season! Ooo, maybe some yummy baking.

    1. Dear Christy,
      Thank you so much!
      “When Women Inspire” deserves a special “Art Gown”
      There are many reasons why. Mostly, because you share!
      In my creative psyche, I see it.
      Much love to you! xoxo _Resa

  7. camilla wells paynter

    Both shawl and gown are breathtaking. I’m always a little dumbstruck when I see your work. As always, your staging and photography are masterful. I love the multi-media nature of your visions!

    1. Oh thank you, Camilla! Your compliments are a wonderful thing.
      I adore your work, as well. I want you to know I pop by from time to time, but can’t seem to comment, so I just want to say here how wonderful your work is. Take care, and Happy Holidays!

  8. Autumn Orchid is just stunning dear FGS Resa. Now I am convinced of your magical artistic abilities as a fine artist of fashion. To think this was a remake from the beautiful shawl; boggles my mind! I love the hues of turquoise an cobalt, and especially love the form and texture of the lacey gown, and the opening in the back. Cindy must be ecstatic, as this is surely one of your finest creations — and obviously inspired by pure love and passion. This was a visual treat and joy for me to see today! Love and Blessings Always, FGS Robyn

    1. Dearest FGS Robyn!
      Your words mean a lot to me.
      You are probably the first person who ever understood that my Art Gowns, my girls, are art.
      Your ability to say in words what I am expressing in fabric (and whatever else enters the equation) is a gift you have, and I love it!
      When I designed “Lady Anne”, my niece Sherrie was here to follow the process. It was exhilarating!
      It is now a wish of mine that you would be a part of the process, as Sherrie was.
      Much love to you dear Robyn!
      FGS _Resa

    1. Thank you, Eva! The process is important. I would like to impart as much technical information as possible.
      I have a long education, and it seems no one is teaching the things I learned anymore. Mass production has ruined the skill and the craft.

    1. Thank you! I just love designing the Art Gowns. I’ve got one started, but now I’m Designing a TV Series (work) so it’s on hold for awhile!

  9. It is so hard not to fall madly in love with this gorgeous piece of art Resa. It’s meticulous in lines and flow, my favorite is the lace work from colors to intricate details. Perhaps it is the measure of how it draps and folds across and around the body – simply a stunning gown my friend.

    1. Mary, thank you so much for this lovely comment! I have a new “Art Gown” started, but won’t be able to complete it until filming is over.
      It really is something wonderful to look forward to. One month left to go… then wrap out… then, back to my new piece of art!

  10. Amazingly beautiful, Resa. The gown is gorgeous, and Cindy is the perfect recipient of such an honor. I have followed her awesome blog for quite a while. Your gowns are art, and I love the colors and the delicacy of this one. Big hugs!!! ~Lori

  11. I really enjoyed seeing and reading about the shawl process, and your resilience in turning it into the lovely gown. I, too, find Cindy’s blog inspiring and wonderful. Great post. 🙂

  12. Wow! You are seriously and incredibly gifted. This is stunning. I love your work and am in awe of how you make these gorgeous pieces. What a beautiful gift you are and you have ❤️❤️

    1. Thank you, Kate!
      So far, I haven’t allowed anyone to wear an Art Gown. However, A photographer with real models has persuaded me to let her shoot an Art Gown.
      Mystic Lake will be the first, if the photographer makes good. I think it will happen & I am quite excited!

  13. This would have been stunning for SN, but more stunning for Cindy, lucky lady. The shawl blew me away, why it did not take first place is a mystery. You’re a gifted genius 🙂

  14. TY, HoH! I get it, though! The performer wants the most awesome outfit they can get, but they don’t want to become the costume. Of course, there are signature pieces, such as SN’s shawl. Still, she embraces her signature piece, not the other way around. 😀

    1. Thanks Gi! Can’t believe I didn’t win the shawl contest. In the end Stevie picked a shawl – tiny – black – can’t see it over a black outfit. It was a go away shawl, not a showcase shawl.

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