I have been photographing empty dresses in natural settings. I began with 30 white dresses in the lush green environment of the Shawnee National Forest and more recently I continued the project with 30 black dresses in the harsh landscape of western Texas and eastern New Mexico. In 2000, I began constructing the first dresses spontaneously after receiving 100 yards of muslin from my sister during a remodeling project. I found the repetition of cutting, sewing, and gathering 30 skirts and bodices meditative, almost transformative. I don’t know why I stopped at 30 dresses. I trust my instincts. A community of dresses was formed and I knew I needed to bring them into nature: floating in ponds, hanging in trees, lying on the ground. Photography was a way to document my installations. Eventually, I buried one in my backyard (September 8, 2001) and dug it up 30 days later documenting the passing of time with a journal. Two years ago when my husband and I moved to West Texas, I began making 30 black dresses and one single black and white dress. The process of creating the dresses helped me to grieve for my loss of home and friends in southern Illinois.
In this body of work, dragged and dropped, I am using a single dress I made from a bold graphic black and white print. Within this pattern there is both chaos and order, which mirrored my feelings while I settled into my new home in Lubbock. After photographing the community of 30 dresses, it felt right to work with a single dress. This dress has traveled with me and been photographed from New York City (my favorite city) to Carbondale, IL (my former home of 18 years) to Lubbock, TX (my new home). This body of work is from 2009. I have since happily moved to Austin, TX.