(updated December 23, 2021 with the film link)
It’s been a long while since I’ve posted here, although I am still a participating member of our Books Around The Table group. I needed a blogging break. But I have been busy with various other projects, and I am excited to tell you about one of those projects here.
Though not related to children’s books, it still deals with narrative. The big difference is that this time the story is told through movement and costume, rather than pictures and words.
I have posted before about my textile work on our blog here and here. When I was first experimenting with garments as a form of storytelling, one of the first test garments I made was this:
There is an engineering challenge to sewing conjoined garments. I like to make my mistakes on a prototype if I can (although I still make lots of wrong turns in the final piece as well).
That experimental piece led to these, among others:
But I kept looking at that first test piece and imagining how dancers might use it to show the transference of love, knowledge, and life experience from one person to another, like the relationship between a mother and daughter – or how I feel as both daughter, and mother. Memento mori…
Could a dance piece be part of my garment work? Could there be live performances to coincide with an art show?
I met with dance artist Erica Badgeley to talk about the idea. I asked her for a budget estimate to choreograph and produce a short dance piece (five to ten minutes) for a few live performances, set to music by cellist Gretchen Yanover. Then I applied for an Artist’s Project grant through 4Culture in hopes of getting funds to pay the artists involved, buy supplies, and perhaps rent an exhibit space. The grant deadline was March 4th, 2020.
I got the grant.
But in the meantime, COVID-19 had happened. By the time I was notified, we were in full pandemic mode. The plan to have live performances had to be scrapped for the foreseeable future. Could we videotape the dance and show that virtually instead?
I didn’t know then that Erica had been studying how to create dance films. She was excited about this new direction. So, rather than looking for exhibit options, we looked for a videographer and filming location.
Erica began choreographing. We met in my backyard, outdoors, masked, socially distanced…
Lucie Baker was brought in to dance the duet with Erica
I started working on designing and building the costumes.
Devin Muñoz agreed to be our videographer.
We filmed the final footage at the Bitters Co. barn in the Skagit Valley, where the work that came out of that first experimental garment was shown in 2019. Full circle, in more ways than one.
Erica then took on the formidable task of compiling and editing the hours of video footage provided by Devin.
A year-and-a-half later, the 16-minute film, ‘Heritance,’ is complete! Here is the trailer:
And you can see it soon!
We are hosting two free online film release events:
Thursday, December 9th at 8pm PST, and Sunday, December 12th at 11:00am PST.
Sign up here for one or both events! Erica and I will talk a bit about our work on the project, we will screen the video, and then open up for Q & A.
Wonderful. I was truly moved by the dance, the costume, the music–all of it Thank you.
Thank you, Catherine! I’m glad you found it moving. I do too.