Weaving for Zoo-Islander 2020

My second year of contributing to the Zoo-Islander Fashion show was inspired by the four elements- earth, fire, air, and water. I was drawn to create dresses, but I also ended up making shawls, capes, pants, a halter top, skirt, jacket, and a tunic style top- most of which were modified designs as I went along. My formula for designing the outfits was to start with a basic sense of the element, and gradually shift into a mixing up of elements into a more choatic creation, representing an evolution of the elements as they mix and mingle. The last outfit of each element is a transition into the next element.

Earth- starting with the simplest of design in earth tones, I felt these pants and shawl had a very hobbit-ish style. “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay, small acts of kindness and love.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit.

Earth Goddess Cloak~ “Nature lives within her, entwined in divine beauty with all of nature. She is the seed that can grow into a beautiful forest, and every breath she takes is a new season of wonder.” – Lourdes Alexander

Rooted Dress~ “If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Starlight Tunic~ “Thus, when the lamp that lighted the traveller at first goes out, He feels awhile benighted, And looks around in fear and doubt. But soon, the prospect clearing, By cloudless starlight on he treads, And thinks no lamp so cheering As that light which heaven sheds.” – Charles Lamb

Fire- The first two shawls I regret that I didn’t capture the actual model in them! I began with the Candlelight Shawl~ the basic beginnings of fire captured as candles provide a light of sacred vigilance, of wakefulness in difficult times, drawing us closer to the divine balance of light and dark, drawing protection and courage while sitting in peace and commemoration.

Hearth fire~ Traditionally, the hearth was the heart of the home, where, in the time before electricity, winter was kept at bay and families gathered in the early darkening of the days to share stories and food. The Hearth was the center of the winter dormancy, blazing with hope for the returning of spring.

Embers~ “The burning embers within me burst into flame / My body becomes a fire lit torch. / Ho someone! Send for the mid-wife.” -Amrita Pritam

Fire Dance Dress~ “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” – Martha Graham

I was not able to find the appropriate quote for the transition fire/air outfit. For the Zoo-Islander fashion show, it had the lengthy title of “Quickly Melting Orange and Raspberry Gelato on a Hot Summer Day at the Beach”. It was in the fire portion of the collection, representing the heat and energy of the sun. Yesterday in my garden, I was so in love with the ripening peaches next to the towering pink tones of the hollyhocks, and I thought the title could also be “Peaches and Hollyhocks Ripening in the Garden Under a Bright Sun on a Beautiful Summer Day”. Celebrating the energy of the sun as it pumps life into our plants and bodies- fruit, food, and flowers… and yes gelato.

Beginning with the Breath Dress~ “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”-Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wind Shawl~ “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair.” -Khalil Gibran

Moth Wings~

There is a kind of white moth, I don’t know
what kind, that glimmers
by mid-May
in the forest, just
as the pink moccasin flowers
are rising.

If you notice anything,
it leads you to notice
and more.

From The Moths, by Mary Oliver

Waterfall Tunic (just as much air as water)~ “To trace the history of a river or a raindrop is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both, we constantly seek and stumble upon divinity, which like feeding the lake, and the spring becoming the waterfall, feeds, spills, falls, and feeds itself all over again.” – Gretel Ehrlich

River Dress~ “Across the wall of the world, /A river sings a beautiful song, /Come rest here by my side.”
-Maya Angelou , from On The Pulse Of Morning

Ocean Horizon Jacket~ “The deep roar of the ocean. The break of waves on farther shores that thought can find. The silent thunders of the deep. And among it, voices calling, and yet not voices, humming trillings, wordlings, and half articulated songs of thought.” -Douglas Adams

Sea Sparkle Dress~ “I felt the full breadth and depth of the ocean around the sphere of the Earth, back billions of years to the beginning of life, across all the passing lives and deaths, the endless waves of swimming joy and quiet losses of exquisite creatures with fins and fronds, tentacles and wings, colourful and transparent, tiny and huge, coming and going. There is nothing the ocean has not seen.” -Sally Andrew

Zoo-Islander 2020 took place Feb 29th, and I think it was our last major community event that took place before Covid came into our world. I am so grateful for these kinds of celebrations that we have created as a community, that have become precious memories of collective creative efforts that shape and define our lives… now that I have lived a whole year without these events, I am even more deeply moved by the priviledge of involvement. Zoo-Islander 2021 will be an online event happening at Easter. I am looking forwards to the next amazing gathering in the name of island fashion!

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