Saturday, September 24, 2016

Learning From a Mistake; Inspired by a Hero

Last summer, I suffered a minor scrape on my leg. I accidently scraped a one-inch by two-inch piece of skin off my shin so I pushed the skin back into place and put on a bandage.
I had to change the dressing often. It would not stop weeping. I had to bathe carefully and at night I had to bandage it with plastic wrapping to keep the blood off my sheets. It took weeks to heal and the new skin is different from the old and so where the wound was is still clearly visible.
Well, on the night of my dinner party (Thursday) I did it again — this time on the other leg. But this time, I knew not to push the skin back; doing so increases the risk of infection. So I pulled it off and yesterday spent the whole day in shorts and indoors so that air would allow the wound to form a scab.
I built an elaborate bandage with which to sleep on Thursday night. I lined the wound with cotton bumpers so that I could loosely wrap my leg in cloth yet not have the bandage touch the wound and by the end of the Friday, when I went to bed, I had a dry wound.
Friday was, therefore, highly productive. I was a homebound feather factory. I have systematized feather making so soon I will be finished with the skirt.
The conundrum of the bodice looms. I have spent more time contemplating how I will build the structure for the Cardinal than I have considered how to make a one-size-fits-all bodice of peacock feathers. I have an idea to “Fortuny” some paper.
Mariano Fortuny is one of two* personal heroes whose ateliers I have visited. My plane landed in Rome so I went to the Vatican where I had a deep emotional experience. (I was raised Catholic.) Then, I went to Venice and to the Fortuny studio where I had another.
Fortuny dresses are perfection; they are seismic triggers of admiration. With his wife’s help — she was a dressmaker — they bound fabric tightly in thin straight folds. They chose fabric that held the folds once the fabric was released from the binding; the released fabric had accordion folds, therefore, that clung to the body of the woman wearing their dresses and that is the ideal one-size-fits-all solution.
I doubt it will work with paper, but I am going to try. I’m hoping I can emulate it by both folding and sewing the paper. Fingers crossed!
* (The other is Luther Burbank).

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