Embroidered skirt (2006)

I made this for the Bone Folders’ Guild‘s Books on the Runway: a Fashion Show of Wearable Books for the Mind and Body.

A line of a poem is embroidered inside each pleat, and when the skirt is worn the text is revealed by movement.

Here’s the little talk I gave about it during the fashion show:

“While doing research for this project I came across an interesting story. It turns out the concept of wearable books has been around for a long time. There was a man who lived in France in the 17th century. He was a mathematician and a physicist named Blaise Pascal, and he made many great contributions to the world of science. That changed, though, one day when he was riding in a carriage over the Neuilly bridge. The horses fell over the edge and his carriage hung poised halfway off the bridge for quite some time. He was rescued, but had fallen into a faint that would last 15 days. Upon awakening, he had an intense spiritual revelation. That night he scrawled poems and prayers on a piece of parchment that he sewed into his jacket. After that he kept it with him always by transferring it each time he changed clothes–and he gave up math and science for philosophy and theology.

“I had not heard this story when I started working on this wearable book. The poem I’ve embroidered on this skirt has, I think, a similar quality to Pascal’s experience, and while I myself am so far an agnostic, I could think of no better words to wear on my body as a reminder of that which I don’t understand, but am still no less indebted to. It is excerpted from a poem, which I choose to interpret as a prayer, by Leonard Cohen. His poem is called A Poem To Detain Me, and this is the text I selected for the skirt:

i bound to my
temples a box of
flesh filled with
holy letters and
captured poems–
and i am probably
wrong. believe
nothing of me
except that i felt
your beauty more
closely than my
own. promise me
that i will return


3 Responses to “Embroidered skirt (2006)”

  1. noseotter Says:

    this is insane and awse!

  2. Rochelle Says:

    What made you choose this poem?

    • I found my blurb about it and added it to the post. More specifically, I relate to the gently self-mocking tone–despite taking myself too seriously, I delight in being “probably wrong” about it all, especially where God is concerned, and I’m sure the God I don’t really believe in is pretty amused by all my ego-based, mortal striving too. We joke and kid!

      Also I’m scared of death and often tempted to coerce from God promises of reincarnation/preservation/conservation, in a desperate tone similar to that last line.

      I hope that answers your excellent question!

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