Art Gowns – Red Carpet Review

I’M THRILLED to be a NOMINEE for BEST COSTUME DESIGN – CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS

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The show I’m up for is “The Best Laid Plans” & of course some of the “Art Gowns” want to go to the Gala. They each say they are “The Best Made Gown”.

So in a supportive spirit, my writer friend Christy Birmingham from  Poetic Parfait uses her talent to review a few of the gowns.

 

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penn-test1

Dip me in a mixture of blooms and light,

For a wedding beyond what I ever thought possible.

Douse me with water from a river of silky fabric

That tumbles across my curves with brilliance

I had not previously known.

Let me savor this garden today.

Penn #5_2

 

 

titles222LA

anne-1She slithers with sexiness, power rising from

Far within the depths of the striking hemlines,

Reaching out with a bold beauty to fit snuggly at

The intersection of feminine and powerful.

She is a layer of heat upon hope, black upon white,

Billowing in a breathtaking world of her own.

Anne #8

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

 

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Imelda2-aDosage is plenty, yet never too much,

With purple shades of glory that rest underneath

Bobbles more elegant than words will allow,

As though the train to perfection is held within

Lines across me, and it flows to the

Floor with an ease I have not felt in years.Imelda2- k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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venus-6

Shimmer me this, tell me what you think,

Whether my daring spirit is coating your

Mind with romance for miles?

Run your hopes down my side, like the soft

Fabric of my dreams, and settle within the

Bare skin that complements a blue vision

Put here to amaze us.

Layer within my company tonight.

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THANK YOU DEAR CHRISTY

Christy’s blog Poetic Parfait is filled with her poetry, short stories, book reviews and more, as she shares her creative mind with us all. When Women Inspire, Christy’s other “must see” blog, is a wonderful celebration of and for all women ……. and men!

ABC #12

All gowns designed by Resa McConaghy

All photos © Resa McConaghy

All poetry © Christy Birmingham

Empress d’Amore

Are you like me, at a loss for words to describe an “Art Gown” that is its own Fairy Tale?

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Okay, at least we know it opens with: Once Upon A Time

Virginia, a retired chef & her romantic, fanciful blog Bel’ Occhio have inspired this Art Gown. You’ll find some of her recipes on this blog, but if you have the appetite for more delicious creations visit her at Mrs. Butterfingers

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ONCE UPON A TIME

There was a beautiful young girl named Virginia who lived in the Empire of  Amore. Unfortunately, she was very poor, a seamstress for the wealthy merchants of the Kingdom.

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The Emperor demanded his son, Prince Will, marry. He decreed a holiday with a Royal procession throughout the Empire. All “Virgins” of marrying age were to don their prettiest gowns & attend.

Braids #1

Virgina’s mind was on her sewing when The “Town Crier” made the announcement. What she heard as his words floated up from the street and through her window  was “All Virginias were to don their pretty gowns for the procession.”

Alas, poor Virginia had no gown, but owned some yardage of thin taffeta, the color not in fashion.

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Virginia would sew a gown, but it would be very plain. She had no lace nor gems to decorate it with.

All she had was a modest piece of net, a length of ratty marabou & colorful scraps of  silks from her rich clients.

Using “Tailor Tacks” she overlaid the net best she could.

Virginia then decided to make the scraps into an luxurious abundance of braided trim.

She braided for many days and many nights then creatively attached the silk braids to the gown.

Braids #4

When it was finished, her gown was far more beautiful than any of the bejeweled and otherwise overly embellished “Gowns of the Empire”.

On the day of the event, Virginia took her place along the procession route with hundreds of other girls in gowns.

“My, my” she said to herself, “I had no idea how many girls were named Virginia.”

As the parade moved past her, Prince Will was smitten with Virginia’s beauty and the uniqueness of her gown. He took her in his arms, and  asked her to be his future Empress d’Amore.

The Emperor announced to the cheering  crowd that Prince Will had chosen his Virgin bride.

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“Oh dear!” cried Virginia, “I’m not a virgin, but my name is Virginia.” The Emperor’s men tore her from the Prince’s arms. All he was left with was a hand full of colorful silk braids.

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Prince Will denounced his title, and set out on his white steed to find his beloved Virginia. He wore the colorful silk braids around his neck, as he wandered the Empire.

Empress 1Empress 3Furious, the Emperor had Virgina imprisoned in a velvet tower where she pined her days away

When Will learned of her lofty prison. He took the braids from his neck & made a rope.

A dove took the end of the silk rope, and flew up to Virginia’s window. Recognizing the braids, she threw open the sash and the dove flew in.

Using the rope, Virgina climbed down from the tower.

  With his Love in his arms, Will galloped away on his strong white steed, as the people cheered.

The Emperor died, unloved and lonely.

Due to the the people’s love, Will was made Emperor, and Virginia became Empress.

THE MORAL OF THIS TALE

Don’t mess with love! It has a Will of its own, and being a Virgin has nothing to do with it.

Empress End

THE END

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La Vie en Rosé

Were you ever inspired to embellish an Art Gown with 300  wine corks?

Shot in natural diffused daylight
Shot in natural diffused daylight

Tip #1 – Do not attempt to drink 300 bottles of wine all in one night. Spread them out over a few days.

OR

Shot in Magic Hour with Incandescent lighting
Shot in late afternoon with Incandescent lighting

Tip #2 – Share them with friends.

OR

Shot in Magic Hour with a Flash
Shot in Magic Hour with a Flash

Tip #3 – Read a romance novel by Imelda Evans while you sip luxuriously

La Vie en Rosé is inspired by and dedicated to Imelda and her latest novel “Playing By The Rules”

 

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OF course I would have to attach all the corks somehow so I bought 110 meters of old gold soutache. It was easy getting else wise creative with that soutache.

Imelda2- fImelda2- gI wanted more creative fuel for  so I asked Imelda,

“If you could put 1 color to Kate & 1 color to Josh what are those 2 colors? Not that I will use them, but what would they be?”

Imelda’s answer:

“Okay, this was a mind-bender for me, as I don’t think this way normally (although I’m going to do it for all my characters now).

Imela2-?Imelda2-iKate is a rich, autumn brown. If it were shiny it would be burnished bronze. Josh is a bright, apple-y green. I have no idea why!”

I couldn’t resist buying some new yardage

I found this gorgeous tie-dyed (the pattern does not repeat)  stretch velvet.

In the warm lighting of the store the colors were a perfect  bronze/brown with a kind of apple green coming though.

As I was paying for it, my eyes caught the most enchanting brown/bronze organza ribbon so I grabbed 20 meters of that.

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When I set up in the”Art Gown” room which is filled with natural light the colors appeared to be burgundy and teal. When shot with a flash the green magically appeared.

The gown is a chameleon!

This is why I opened with 3 similar shots of La Vie en Rosé I was completely at a loss for what was more beautiful.

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destiny_playingbytherules_cvr-smallI loved Imelda’s first book, “Rules Are For Breaking” 

As “Playing By The Rules” is a prequel. I just had to ask,

“Was it easier to write the second book having already developed the
characters in the first book?”

Imelda’s answer:

“That’s a bit of a tricky one, as this book was actually written first!   I did rewrite a lot of it after I published the other one though, so I guess I can still answer that.

Yes, knowing the characters first makes it much easier to write their stories. But I get to know the characters by writing their stories, so it’s a bit of a catch 22! Not sure what comes first, sometimes, the story or the people!”

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Both of Imelda’s books are available on Amazon.

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Playing By The Rules

and

Rules Are For Breaking

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Oh! If you want to know how the French title and wine corks tie in, you’ll have to read the book. I hope you do!

La Fin

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“Art Gown” La Vie en Rosé designed by Resa McConaghy _ January – 2014

All photos of La Vie en Rosé © Resa McConaghy – January – 2014

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Message in a Bracelet – DIY

Do you love learning about history? Does it ever inspire you?

B'let #1b2

Then think “Suffragettes” and you’ll know why I’ve designed a bracelet in green, white and violet.

Recently, I did a guest post on Christy Burmingham’s  blog WHEN WOMEN INSPIRE. It’s titled #GreenWhiteViolet. It inspired me back!

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I decided the bracelet needed earrings. I wound up making 2 pairs.

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Just in case you want to make a bracelet of your own design:

DIY INSTRUCTIONS


B'let #3

One of my challenges was that I had to use what I could find at home, or in my kit.

I gathered my green, white and violet beads.I found white pony beads, violet lined glass seed beads, a string of real cut amethysts, and a string of fake pearls.

There were also some solid purple & green glass ponies and a string of agates, several in appropriate tones.

B'let #4

 I never did use the crystals that you see in my platter’s collection.

You’ll need a needle nose jewelry plier, and a flat nose plier w/cutter.

Find some great chain.

Gather jump rings,  jewelry pins to match the chain (or not to match, depending on your design) and a clasp.

B'let #5b

Now creatively thread the beads onto the jewelry pins.

Try to keep an eye on what your building beforehand by clustering up some beaded pins, and havng a look!

If you’re happy then you can begin attaching your lovelies onto the chain.

INTERMISSION

B'let #20

Now, on with the DIY instructions!

B'let #5Cut the chain about 3 inches longer than you need.

As you add beads, they and the pins take up space so it will get shorter and shorter.

You also need to snip the jewelry pins to about 1/2 inch from the top bead.

Using the needlenose pliers, bend the end of the pin into an arc.

Hook the arced pin into the chain. 

B'let #8

Again, using the needle noses, push the open end of the pin toward the piece of pin coming out of the bead.

Tuck the raw pin end inside the bead to finish it.

Keep attaching beaded pins.

Before the bracelet is fully clustered up, check how it’s fitting your wrist.

Add the clasp to one end. You may need to use a jump ring here.

If your chain is not open enough forB'let #8

your clasp to fit through, you will need to add a  jump ring to the appropriate place  at the other end.

If needed snip off excess chain.

TIP: Hold the beaded pin with the flat nose pliers in one hand, while you work with the needle nose in your other.

Click on pics for larger details.

TO MAKE EARRINGS

You will need a pair of  “shepherd’s hooks” or a pair of clips.
B'letearring #1

B'letearring #2

Use all of the same beads and findings. 

Using the same techniques as for the bracelet, design and build your earrings.

Unless they are symmetrical, remember to make a left and a right.

 Slideshows are visual poetry. Here is my prose. However, if you feel like reading a written poem, check out Christy Birmingham’s blog Poetic Parfait

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The past can be a nostalgic allure.

B'letbyebye

Until my next post, I wish you all a fond and romantic adieu!
B'letPS #1B'letPS#2

Lady Anne

Did you ever toss and turn through the dark of night  trying to figure how to make a gown out of an old black leather coat and studded leather pants?

Anne #1

If your answer is “yes”, I feel your stress!

Anne #8

Lady Anne is inspired by Norman who donated the coat & pants to my “Art Gowns” supplies stash.

Norman is a musician & composer. He works in film & television, and is an amazing guitar player.

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Black leather and studs made me think “Hard Rock” and “Metal”.

Anne #6 However, this is Anne #7a gown, so I thought Rock Ballads” and bought 9 meters of very inexpensive cotton gauze and Chantilly lace.

I removed the coat’s sleeves, and each sleeve became half of the bodice.

The pant legs became the skirt’s front panels. I cut scallops around the raw edges, and used glue to attach the fabric.

I surgically removed  the lower half of the coat’s fronts and the entire back in one piece.

Ane #15This Anne #9became the back of the gown. I split this up the center to add a flouncing bustle with  skirt of gauze.

I over-layered the skirt of gauze with a triangle of lace.

I needed something to pull Lady Jane together so I pulled a grommet laden S&M harness from my pile of leftover production stock, and chopped that up.

Anne #10

Lady Anne is, Medieval, Elizabethan and Renaissance all rolled into today.

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Her name, Lady Anne, came to me as I was shooting her.

Soon after I was humming Lady Jane, an old Rolling Stones tune. In the song, Lady Anne is being left for Lady Jane. There is only one color to describe that feeling …. blue.

"My dear Lady Anne, I've done what I can. I must take my leave, for promised I am This play is run my love, your time has come my love I've pledged my troth to Lady Jane." Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
“My dear Lady Anne, I’ve done what I can.
I must take my leave, for promised I am
This play is run my love, your time has come my love
I’ve pledged my troth to Lady Jane.”
Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

Norman, Lady Anne is like the music you make, a romance of many eras, places and feelings. Thank you for the inspiration!

Norman Orenstein Music

Anne #16

“Art Gown” Lady Anne designed by Resa McConaghy – November, 2013

All photos of Lady Anne taken by Resa McConaghy – November, 2013

Flora Blanca

Did you ever have to move a bevy of jaded “Art Gowns” to a new “WordPress” site?

It would be easier to transplant a garden to another city!

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That’s why this “Art Gown” is inspired by and dedicated to my beloved niece Sherrie. She is the only person I know who would actually help me dig up an entire garden, lug it then replant it.

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Hence, I decided to do a Garden themed “Art Gown”

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Of course wool and paper popped immediately into my mind.

Penn #12Not just anyPenn #10 wool, but a pure, fine and all natural wool, fit for the Pope’s cassock.

Not just any paper, but pictures of Roses, Begonias, Peonies, Lilies, Orchids and Poppies by “Irving Penn”.

Yes, I cut up the entire book. It is a true labor of love cutting around the beads of dew, thorns, intricate ruffles and fine hairs of Mr. Penn’s” photographs.

Penn #8

The GownPenn #9

itself is

based

on an

Orchid.

I used 2

bottles

of clear

drying

craft glue . If I made this on a display Judy, it could be varnished and made into a decoupage type sculpture.

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 “Art Gowns” remind me of the mid nineteen hundreds Hollywood Movie Glamor. That’s why I love the Black & White treatment.

Penn #15Dearest Darling ♥♥♥ Sherrie ♥♥♥

Thanks for helping me move my garden!

Penn #16

Ballroom Lux

Did you ever design a magic gown that seemed to light itself?

ABC #1

Well, this “Art Gown” inspired by Carolyn from ABC of Spirit Talk turned out to do just that.

I love Carolyn’s “Reflections” and she has been a joy to me for almost a year now.

When I realized she enjoys Ballroom Dancing and loves a Waltz, I saw flowing white swans.

After she told me gold was a favorite color, I saw this modern fabric called Liquid Lamé. I decided to combine it with the most delicate of traditional white netting, shimmered and dotted with gold. Would these diametrically opposed fabrics work together?

ABC #2

As usual, I began by draping the bodice. The ruching down the center back took about 30 pins to hold in place. I was thrilled with the outcome.

I draped the underskirt in Lamé, added the over-skirt in net, and took a making of shot. I repositioned Judy, and shot the front. It was then I saw the dynamics of light with this creation.

ABC #3

I took off the over-skirt, threw a sash around Judy’s waist and made the tails into rosettes. I shot the gown in this state then re-attached the over skirt, and shot some more. Here’s what happened.

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It’s incredible what the gown revealed. Sometimes the net even looked like clear plastic.

“N” said if the pics were in black and white, it would look like it was from another era, another place in time.  I couldn’t resist. Sure enough, Carolyn’s gown is not only lux magic, it is lux mystic.

ABC #12

Carolyn’s gown welcomes us in one place then says farewell from another.

Much like Carolyn, her gown is divinely enchanting!ABC #13