Love Sonnets from Shakespeare to Baltimore is a project using Shakespeare's sonnets, recycled wedding dresses, quilts and original printmaking to create finely crafted couture art books. The primary inspiration for this project is literary: I am fascinated by the fourteen-line structure of Shakespearean sonnets. Composed of three quatrains and a couplet, the poems are structured like logical arguments about emotions influenced by love and hate.
The secondary inspiration for this project is fashion history: I am interested in historical textiles and their social, economic, and cultural significances. Through the re-fashioning of wedding dresses from the 1930s to 1970s into new book pages, I re-examine how we experience textiles. Through the convergence of literature and fashion, the project is both a multi-sensory response to Shakespeare and a contemporary social commentary.
The artistic style of the work can be described as deconstructionist couture. The fabric of wedding dresses is cut, dyed, painted, manipulated, and collaged with other historic textiles into new patterns and designs that allow the material of the pages to speak. The final look of the pages is very clean, purposeful, and has a fit-to-measure feel. The connection to my community is emphasizd through the use of traditional Baltimorean quilting, embroidery and intricate needle work techniques.
The carefully screen printed sonnets gain additional layers of meaning on the book pages. The text is complemented by my linocut prints and screen prints. The pages move from one voice to many, offering multiple readings to a wide range of audiences.