Spring Rhapsody

Ever dream of making an Art Gown that burst forth from the drab of winter?

Then, it blooms into the brilliance of spring!

Surely that Art Gown would be a flower garden.

Which is why I dedicate  Spring Rhapsody to Amy Rose. Amy takes superlative photos of flowers, and she grows the most beautiful roses. She takes fabulous, magic photos all year long. Yet, her flowers, especially roses are stand out.

Her photography was recently featured on another post focusing on spring. Frank’s Beach Walk Reflections on Spring.

The Making Of:

It all began when a friend sent me about 40 pounds of old fabrics. There was a damask pillow case, that worked with a shiny coppery brown fabric. It seemed a bit earthy coloured for a gown. I thought: earth, garden, Amy’s flowers.

The shiny coppery fabric is odd: rubbery, perhaps used for upholstery, annoying to work with and exceptionally lustrous.

The box also included many scraps of colourful acetate linings, and scriffles of a delicate net embroidered with gold and pearls.









The colourful acetates picked nicely into the subtleties of the Damask. Shapes were cut out of the net scraps, overlaid onto the acetates and stitched on.

Gold buttons, from another friend’s buckets of buttons, were used as centres to gather the flowers around. Then began the biggest mess ever made, in the making of an Art Gown.

The mess was worth it!

I couldn’t take enough pics.


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This girl was a joy, from morning…

….until night.

Art Gown Spring Rhapsody © Resa McConaghy – 2021

I send my best to all of you, my blog pals. I adore you all, please take care and have the best spring ever!

189 thoughts on “Spring Rhapsody

  1. Wonderful, amazing! So clever with the buttons as gathering and that nighttime photo!! Also the back on that gown has so much life when I look in it I feel like I can see the spirit wear it! Lol I hope that all sounded like how I meant it…
    You have superb attention to detail! Where do your gowns go? This one has such an amazing life! They are each so unique! Amazing, simply amazing!

    1. Thank you so much for this lovely comment!
      My Art Gowns mean a lot to me, and I am eternally inspired by appreciation of them.
      I agree, the back is special. I knew from early onset that it would look like this. The front was more of a negotiation.
      Detail might be my middle name. Many actors, directors and producers have made the same remark.
      There are 26 Art Gowns now. The Art Gowns were originally dismantled. Now, I have 11 that are made in components, and can be fit to a variety of sizes and body types.
      Once the virus is gone… I hope to have an art show with my Art Gowns, and drawings.
      Thank you for asking, and again, thank you for your enthusiasm! – Resa x

        1. Oh well, by the time he reached the coast, swam down the St. Lawrence, climbed onto dry land in Quebec, then walked to Toronto, he would be dry. x 😀 o

  2. I was so looking forward to this! Spring has just arrived! The real Spring!
    Oh, my dahling the mess and the wait were sooooooooooo worth it!
    You have brought Spring beauty & magic to my heart.
    Bless those magical hands that worked so hard to create and bless that golden heart for the burst of beauty and elegance!
    You have created Spring magic!
    I adore you! ❤️🤗❤️🤗❤️
    Now off to share! 😉 xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Marina dahling,

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart’s garden!
      I did work a long time making Spring Rhapsody. Funny thing about making art, you lose track of time.
      Now, with this gown, I dub thee spring. LOL!!!
      Thank you for being here. It would not be as much fun without you.

            1. LOL!!!! I walked 20 blocks yesterday!
              Then my foot and I were utterly exhausted.
              I’m getting my first shot of AstraZeneca tomorrow. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

              1. xoxoxoxoxoxo
                Listening to the Manfred Overture.
                I’ll clean up the drool when it’s over!

    1. AGM Dale Thunder!

      So happy you like her! I’m …what’s the word you use? …. chuffed, that I get to turn trash into treasure. None of the fabrics I use are new. One of my faves is LA VIE EN ROSÉ, embellished with 300 wine corks.
      The next girl will be based on Tim’s cottonwoods.

      1. Creator Resa!

        I do! And I love that nothing is new. That in itself is fabulous. How you turn this into such a beautiful treasure. I have to go back and look at that one.
        Ooohhh…that will be wonderful!

  3. Dear Resa, I think that Boreas, the Greek god of the cold north wind and bringer of winter, would be very proud of your winter’s creation – and would probably believe that his presence added a special magic. And now that Persephone has appeared, the full beauty of “Spring Rhapsody” will be displayed in the warming sunshine. I remember that you had planned to take brown material and turn it into a garden. Only you could do this!!! WOW!

    1. THANK YOU!
      Just think Rebecca, this fabric could have ended up in landfill. Now, it’s art.
      True, it’s an unusual art form. Norman says obscure.
      Love that you equate Spring Rhapsody to a God & a Goddess.
      Did I mention that I’m saving the plastic mesh that onions, lemons, limes and more come in?
      Every bag I save could be a bird that doesn’t starve to death because it got its beak caught shut.
      The colours of this plastic is garish. Nonetheless,I have an idea. I’m sure it will take me (my niece is saving for me too) a few more Art Gowns before I have enough.
      The next Art Gown will be based on Tim’s Cottonwood Trees.
      Always more excitement around the corner! {{hugs}}

      1. I am excited just thinking about how the plastic mesh will be transformed into an Art Gown. There is magic happening in your place. Yes, that fabric could have ended up in a landfill, but it takes a new perspective to understand there are other alternatives. I’ve been thinking a great deal about decision-making and envisioning what is possible, instead of what is inevitable according to status quo thinking. Spring has come and I feel the earth waking up. Sending hugs and more hugs!

        1. I When I see the neon (ish) colours of the mesh, I think about the neon fashion trend in the 1980’s. Black would be a good base, then build on it.
          That’s as far as I can take it right now, but i am very excited! {{{hugs}}}

  4. Your gowns are amazingly beautiful, Resa, and make us dream They are the product of a creative mind , and also a deep knowledge about the fabrics. Congrats .
    I know Amy’s photos seen on Frank’s blog. They are remarkable
    Love ❤

    1. Thank you, Michel!

      Having a creative mind, being creative has made my life.
      I’m so happy you enjoy this, and I love that it makes you dream.
      Take care! Love xo

  5. “Ever dream of making an Art Gown that burst forth from the drab of winter?” Ha, ha, ha, surely you jest!!! ROTFL! But your dream became a glorious reality. Thanks for walking us through the process to the delicious outcome.

    janet, stlll chuckling

    1. No, I jest not! 😉🙃🤪

      My very first Art Gown post opened with “Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night and feel like designing a gown?”
      I swear I thought I was funny. I still think I’m funny, but you are one of the rare few who has laughed.

      So happy you like her! Delicious is a fab word, dear Janet!

      Chuckle away!

  6. Timothy Price

    OMG! Wow! Wow! Wow! That is a super gorgeous Art Gown. I just got the Internet working in our new building. I am testing it and look the beautiful gown. It’s like the perfect reward for getting the Internet going.

    1. Yay!
      You have internet, and I’m happy to be here celebrating with you.
      It’s very sweet that you are looking at finding this Art Gown, as a reward.
      Thank you for your wows… and Love ya!

  7. Dahling Resa, this creation is spectacular! I’m breathless! I love reading your process, how you acquire your fabric and how your amazing gift of design goes to work and the end result is gorgeous!
    This is a beautiful gown for Amy. Perfect! xoxoxo

            1. Yayay!!! I’m happy too!
              I see I get an ice cream for being a good girl.
              I’ll share my pies with you! 🥧🥧🥧🥧🥧🥧
              I have blueberry, apple, cherry, peach, apricot and some fruit blends. 💖

              1. Brilliant!
                Let’s add red wine to the sundaes and pies. Then, when the stupid pandemic is over; you start in Miami, I’ll start in Toronto and we can roll towards each other. We’ll meet in the middle! xo

  8. Oh, Resa. You have outdone yourself with this flower garden of a gown. It’s just beautiful. It’s so exciting to know about the fabrics you used, and to see the Art Gown in all different lights. The tiny model is also beautiful. The flowers are wonderful and definitely bring spring to mind. Bravo!!! It certainly was worth all the hard work…to your fans.

    1. Gi!
      Thank you, your praise means a lot to me.
      You are a creator, like myself. Our art becomes us, and we become our art.
      I’m not sure what… but I’m out here making gowns from garbage… as much as possible.

  9. Pingback: Spring Rhapsody — Art Gowns | Rethinking Life

  10. Dear Resa, I hope your ankle is healing nicely. This is sublime! The colors are perfect to symbolize the transition from winter to spring. I love the combination. Thanks for showing the closeups of the materials. I’ve long called myself a “fiend for fabrics.” Thanks for this gorgeous post. Hugs on the wing!

    1. Thank you dear Teagan!
      She was in the making for 6 months.
      The real beauty to me is that these fabrics were headed to the garbage dump.
      It’s difficult to recycle fabrics, due to the synthetics in them. They need to be repurposed, or up-cycled somehow.
      Sew…. this art is what I came up with.

  11. I’ve never seen anything this fabulous before. Definitely a winner in my book, and worthy of Amy’s roses. And I thought I was doing something with my doll clothes! I wish I could wear that gown to a gala at a palace. Too bad I don’t know anyone who has a palace!

      1. I make doll clothes all the time lately. Always have, since I was about 7 o4 8 and learned to use the sewing machine. Mostly for charity, but considering putting a few out for purchase just to see if there is a market. I guess it also keeps things out of the landfill, since the scraps go into quilts.

  12. From a pile of scrap to pure art – looks great! The other day you mentioned doing a photo session, which I assume is the one here. i can see why you were excited! Happy Spring 🙂

    1. Hello Trent!

      Happy Spring!
      Yes, I’m doing my little bit to keep landfills down a smidge.
      Yes, this is from the photo session I mentioned. She took 6 months to make. I sew the gowns 100% by hand. It’s very Zen….needle in, needle out, needle in, needle out.

      I’ll start the next one in a few weeks. I hope to go on a gluttony of drawing and walking in the meantime. Thank you for popping by!!!

    1. Thank you, Frank!
      Amy is written all over this Art Gown.
      When I put the coppery fabric with the damask, I knew it would be a garden for her.
      I really enjoyed the post the two of you collaborated on.
      Seems we are all in sync, thanks to spring! x

  13. This is absolutely stunning, Resa! It’s one of the most beautiful art gowns I’ve seen of yours. I love the elegant draping, and the way the colorful flowers burst from the coppery brown. No, I’ve never dreamt of making such a gown, but I’m so glad that you have–and did!

    1. Ahh, thank you, Merril!
      I never know what response an Art Gown will bring. There are so many people, all with different tastes and ideas.
      This one seems to be a big hit with many. It might have something to do with spring.
      The Art Gowns are my poems. I write them in fabric, with needles and thread.

  14. Reblogged this on Heaven On Earth and commented:
    Friends, my friend Resa created an amazing gown with me in mind, dedicating it to me. She worked a long time on this gown. I would so love it if you went on over to her blog in support of her genius talent. Thank you and have a truly blessed day!!

    1. Dear Amy,
      This is so sweet of you.
      Yes, it did take a long time, and it was worth it. All my girls are very special to me, as are the people I dedicate them to.
      I’m so happy to know you! xo

  15. Oh my beautiful Resa!!!! What you did I still do not have adequate words for in order to express the immense emotion that is in my heart! I am stunned. My breath has been taken away. I look at this creation and am totally blown away! Perfection, my friend, is what you created and I love the way you brought the browns of Mother Earth to life with splashes of color and with each flower. Exquisite my gown is!! And the little set you made as well ….. oh now I didn’t miss that. I blew up each and every picture, staring at everything. The attention to detail is exact, and how you placed each flower and decided what went where is such a gift that I hope you know not many possess. I am honored you dedicated this gown to me. And it brings me great JOY knowing you will one day show your gowns in a show. You need to. Your genius is unmatched!!! Thank you, Resa! Thank you for giving me such a precious gown. I shall think upon this gown all day today and for many days to come. And I will revisit in order to gaze at the wonder you created. Sending you so much love and gratitude. Bless you!!! xoxoxoxo

    1. Dear Amy,

      It brings me a lot of joy to hear your words.
      It is true that I placed each flower purposefully. It was the final creative movement.
      Can you believe how quickly the gown garden used up 68 flowers? I could have placed double that, but there was no more net lace left to make more. So, I was extra thoughtful, as to where to place them.
      You are a wonderful photographer, so I am also happy you are finding good things when you blow up the pics. I’m an amateur, who tries.
      My Art Gowns are a creative expression of the good and beauty in our world. Sure, they may squabble amongst themselves time to time, but in the end they all live here in harmony.
      Although, I must say, they “hang” around, and don’t do any housework. Lol, but then neither do the cats. Humour is also on the agenda.
      Again, thank you for your lovely comment, the reblog and your beautiful photos.
      I look forward to seeing what delights you will bring us as the next months pass.
      Much love,
      Resa xoxoxoxoxoxo

  16. Wow, wow, wow! I’ve just come from Amy’s post and am blown away. This is truly magnificent. What a creation. ‘Mess’ you might say along the way but in the end you created an absolute masterpiece. Well done Resa, I love that gorgeous drop back and all those intricate details. Just like nature herself, this is truly exquisite. 💜💚

    1. Dear Miriam,

      Amy was so wonderful to reblog this. It’s taking me a bit of time to get through all of her followers comments.
      I am so happy. Anyone who adores Amy must be a gem, as she is a ruby rose to me.
      Your observations on the details of Spring Rhapsody are very astute. I adore that!
      Thank you for your words! I am now off to visit you.
      Take care, and be well! xo

    1. Thank you so very much, Dan.
      Pardon for taking so long to answer. Many of Amy’s friends came over, and I got a bit swamped! Still trying to catch up. Be by your place, soon!

    1. WOOT! Thank you!
      She took 6 months to make. You know I sew everything by hand. There is no sewing machine involved.
      It seems the only other remaining hand sewing craft surviving is the honourable hand quilting.

  17. Your spring rhapsody masterpiece is truly gorgeous, Resa. I enjoyed hearing how the ideas and creativity began, and watching it evolve. Seeing how one flower is made was fascinating, and wow, revealing as to the work involved. Congratulations on designing, crafting, and completing this elegant gown.

    1. Thank you, Jet!
      It was a lot of work, and I enjoyed every moment of it!
      I sew all the gowns 100% by hand, and it is quality quiet time for me.
      I can hardly wait to start the next one!

      I’m thrilled you like Spring Rhapsody! Happy Spring to you and Athena!

  18. Spring Rhapsody is a sight to behold! Thank you for welcoming in this beautiful season with style and grace. This vision is lovely, from the colours to the buttons at the centers of the flowers. You have talent x 1000!!

    1. So happy you like this Art Gown, Christy!
      Yes, Spring Rhapsody is meant to celebrate spring in this time when celebrations are so few.
      Thank you so much for this lovely comment and your enthusiastic support! xoxo

  19. Absolutely gorgeous, and it looks so different at different times of the day and in different lights! Thanks for sharing this creation with us, Resa. ♥

  20. Just an incredibly amazing spectacular gown and what a work of art and heart it is! And absolutely perfect for Amy, I am so thrilled and inspired! I also admired so many other creations of yours, so grateful to have found my way here!!

    1. Thank you for this amazingly sweet comment! It was fabulous of Amy to share this.
      I’m also thrilled you took a look around! My Art Gowns are my girls and my joy!
      Be Well, cheers!

  21. Superb. Congratulations on a great work, Resa. Interesting too to see/hear bout the “raw materials”. I imagine you draw sketches first? Ever thought of doing a “making-off” post?
    The art above the chimney caught my eye too. Made me think of Leonor Fini.

    1. Thank you dearest Equinoxio (Brian)!
      Actually, for the Art Gowns, I do not do a sketch first.
      I get inspired by materials, events, people and more. Then once I select the materials, I make it up as I go along. Things change, it’s like painting… or something.
      Sometimes it takes days for me to see what I have done, and what I should do next.
      It is an organic creativity.

      AHHH, the art above the chimney!
      It is a copy of part of a Zelda Fitzgerald painting.
      It was done for a movie I did costumes for; Last Call. It is about the last year of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life.
      It starred Jeremy Irons & Sissy Spacek played Zelda. She autographed it for me. She wrote:
      You’re the greatest
      Sissy Zelda

      Here is a link to a trailer I made for my portfolio website. https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/33380562
      If this doesn’t work, I’ll send a different link.

      1. An impressive way of working. That means you let “your hands” do the work, so to speak?
        Zelda? And Irons? And Carrie? Wow. i am impressed. can’t steal that one though, it is autographed. I’d end up in the joint. Hmmm. 🤔
        I’ll hop to your link.

      2. Ooops. As usual, links don’t work. don’t know why, ultimately there seems to be many bugs everywhere. I just spent close to an hour yesterday with my bank’s technical support because I couldn’t access my account.
        Stay safe.

          1. It did work. Thank you very much. You did the costumes? Wow. It must be quite a sensation to recreate the dressing code of a not-so distant time. Minute details, big differences. I find myself intrigued when I watch a 60’s reconstitution (e.g. the Queen’s gambit) with the clothes of that time. Only that I remember the styles when I was a child… Great work and thanks for the link. 🙏🏻

            1. So happy you like it!
              I was fortunate in my career. The industry has really changed. Big Corporate take overs, so suits run the show. I’m used to answering to a director, producer and lead actors. Now, there’s 10 producers to answer to. Then came Covid.
              They are still making film/tv/streaming with strict Covid protocol in place. Nonetheless, people are still getting sick, and I have had 2 pals from the biz die of Covid.
              I think we will be years slowly coming out of this. I will only return to film for special projects, when it is safe.
              So, in my mind, I have moved on. I can’t actually do anything, like have an art show, until this is over.
              They have been loosening restrictions here, but the cases are spiking again. It looks like we are going back to a full lockdown.
              We should have stayed in lockdown until the cases are low enough to contract trace. As it is now, the system is overwhelmed.

              1. Yes you were. Many industries have changed dramatically. I remember doing a market study for the largest movie theatres chain here. Big study, many meetings, final presentation to the Board. Bravo. When I closed my laptop and said good bye, I realized nobody had said a word about movies through the entire project. 😡
                Sorry about your losses. This bug is a mean one. And sadly, the “West” has been totally incompetent in handling the crisis. And yes, the systems are in overload just about everywhere. So… Stay safe. 🙏🏻😷

              2. In many, many countries. Most actually. And I always think that in the private sector, they would all have been fired. In your industry? Imagine a sound engineer, or a lights-person who can’t get it right the 1st, the 2nd time? Fired. No 3rd time.

  22. Dearest Resa, Thank you for Spring Rhapsody . It is the epitome of spring. The earthy colours. The magnificent flourish of flowers. The sensuous swags of colours. It is exactly what our sad winter souls desired. Bravo Resa.XXXXOOO

    1. Dear Virginia,
      Thank you!!!!!

      It was a dreary winter, in the most dreariest of ways.

      Spring Rhapsody was a touch of joy every day over the 6 months it took to make her. I always knew she would be a garden, but I never thought how welcome that garden would be.

      Your lovely comment means a lot to me, like “swags of colour”! So happy to see you!

    1. Happy Spring!
      Thank you! Yes, we all need some special beauty after the Covid winter.
      Unfortunately, we might need some special beauty for the fall. I’ll be starting work on that very soon!
      You sound well. YAY!!!!!

  23. Happy springtime, Resa! Ford here from TVTA which is on hiatus, so I’m calling in from my new blog space to check out your latest gown – indeed, this girl is a joy from morning until night! One of your best I reckon, and some perfect serendipity with the boxes of materials and timing of the season! Beautiful photos too, though my fave is the chaotic studio floor and space, as it shows the artist has been hard at work! 😊😎😀 Best, Ford xXx

    1. I’m back on Art Gowns! Was on GLAM for days and days. I’d like to amalgamate…somehow. I’m just not seeing it, yet.
      This is a lovely comment, Ford!
      I’ve been to your new site today. Great start, fab new look! Congratulations. xxxx

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