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21 Dresses Composite

Green Wardrobe

During this project each dress was photographed at its freshest and this is a composite image of all 21 of them. They never appeared that way in the installation of course because they were all created on different days over 2 months. This composite represents a true green wardrobe!

Dawn in the trees

One dress will be kept outside for a year in Dawn’s garden and it’s seasonal changes will be documented


Wear it and Compost it- is not just a snappy tag line for this series, the dresses will indeed be turned into compost. Seen here is the pile of organic materials from the garments that will help other plants grow someday.

Barbara, still beautiful. A metaphor for accepting our own aging process

21 dresses weathering in the garden

The ensemble of 21 dresses weathering gracefully in the garden. The summer and fall were quite warm with a lot of sunshine, so the dresses dried well but then the weather turned and we had heavy rains. Most of the dresses still held up and some of them even started to sprout new growth!

21 dresses installed at VanDusen Botanical Garden

The project began in July and 21 dresses were completed by mid september. They form a triangle with he earliest dresses at the back row and the last one at the very front. All the dresses were left on site in the garden to decompose over time, proving that even though they are “old” they are still beautiful.
Each dress was made with plant material from the woman’s garden, which is why they are all unique. It was especially challenging when i received fresh flowers and leaves that i had never worked with before but i discovered many great materials and techniques throught his process. The installation will be up until the end of October, 2012.

The 21 dresses are now completed! The last one was Jérémie, which was made out of Crab-apples. Her favourite colour is red and she is the curator of a Land Art project in Quebec which is held in an apple orchard. I participated in this a few years ago with an installation called Pommes Maison- a skirt for a tree made of apples.

Jérémie: Crab-apples, Ligularia leaves and buds, Smoke Bush leaves, Maple leaves, Sweetgum seed pods, False Indigo seed pods, Hemp and Linen thread.

Dress Tags

Each dress has it’s own tag with the name of the person it was made for.

The other day while installing a new dress on site in the garden, the growing number reminded me of one of my favourite parts in the Greek myth of Cadmus where he plants dragon’s teeth into the ground they grow into an army of fully equipped soldiers! My hope with this project is that we are indeed marching towards sustainability.

View of dresses as of september 1st; 16 dresses completed.

View as of September 1

Installation in the garden as of August 18, 2010.

To date there are 11 Little Green Dresses installed in the perennial garden at VanDusen Botanical Garden. The eventual formation will be a triangle, with the first and decomposing dresses at the back moving forward in decreasing number as each fresh dress is added. Many of the early dresses have lost leaves and have turned colour, which does not deter from their beauty and presence.

Mountain Ash berries dry out

Millet turns golden yellow

Huchera purple still vibrant where protected from the sun.

Once bright green Bamboo leaves are now a soft pale yellow as they curl and add another dimension to the sculpture

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