For local bridal dressmaker Maggie Evans, it's not just about creating the perfect gown -- it's about the woman wearing it. "I really see the wedding dress as a cocoon; the bride and I are spinning the web, so to speak, or making the cocoon from the silk, and it is the safe place," says Evans. "It is the place that is going to protect the bride. It's the place that she can trust and then, ultimately, it's the place where she can be transformed from maiden to wife."
Starting today and running through Friday, August 16, Evans will be setting up shop inside the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art store, Present Box, for Metamorphose, a collaborative wedding dress sewing project. Then at 6 p.m. Saturday, August 17, there will be a presentation of the finished piece through a performance by dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Winheld.
Evans is a dressmaker with a background in both fiber arts and psychology, but it wasn't until she began making bridal gowns that she found her desire to go deeper with her brides-to-be. "When I was working at a bridal shop, I was personally feeling like there was something missing," she recalls. "There wasn't any discussion (with the brides-to-be) about, like, holy cow! This is like a really big deal that you're getting married. There was no deeper conversation about what was going on -- it's all a superficial, 'You're getting married! That's so exciting!' wedding conversation.
"It wasn't connecting for me. That's when I went back to school for psychology -- to be a therapist and actually work with clients in that way," she continues. "Now the two are starting to come together. Getting married is exciting -- but it is also scary and overwhelming. There are so many conversations to be had -- it's hard for me that our expectations of one and other is that it is always a happy time."
Through Metamorphose, Evans will be creating work similar to what she does with her clients -- except she will be taking cues for the dress from the public, through handwritten notes. She'll begin with an initial watercolor sketch and work from a muslin mockup, and visitors are invited to write their feelings and thoughts directly onto the dress form.
Part of the collaboration also comes from Evans's work with the dancer and choreographer who will be debuting the dress at the public reception on Saturday. "I'm working on a dress for an individual -- Elizabeth Winheld -- she's sort of like my muse," Evans says. "She is going to be wearing the dress in the performance. So it is a little bit inspired by how she's going to be moving. But it is also going to be determined by what people write on the fabric -- how they write it, where it's placed on the fabric, so I can take most advantage of what's going to be written."
Evans will be holding open studio sewing hours inside the BMoCA's Present Boxfrom from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday as part of the Metamorphose exhibition. A companion sewing workshop, Hand Sewn, will be held at the museum from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 14. Registration is required (e-mail email@example.com or call 303-43302122) and costs $12 for members, $14 for non-members.
Saturday's free performance and fashion show will close out the week of collaboration, with a reception beginning at 6 p.m. on August 17. For more information on the whole Metamorphose project, go to BMoCA's website. For more on Maggie Evans's work, visit the dressmaker's website.
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