Bride Del Muerte

As a maker of custom dresses,  I have been honored by several friends to make their special Wedding dresses, and as a designer, have enjoyed the creative freedom to create one of a kind memorable gowns for their perfect days.

 After laughing through The Five-Year Engagement last night by the producers of Bridesmaids; I have started to conclude that there is no perfect day. Maybe the best anyone can do is create a stress inducing  day; that they will try to remember as perfect, through documentation of photographs and their boxed up wedding dresses. Not to be cynical, but for comical relief I will generalize.

My good friend came over a few weeks ago with her Wedding dress box. It was a sturdy white box double wrapped and very securely closed. She proceeded to unseal the mysterious package of which I knew kept safe her beautiful, empire- waisted, lace gown with the striking red and turquoise gusset in the right side seam. As an artist, she was wanting to experience the physical dissolution of her marriage in a visual representation. The photos she kept safety stowed for her children one day, but the dress was hers. The hours of fittings, the minutes of pure love and promise, the sadness of divorce, and finally the power of  parting with the beautiful vision of a life that no longer existed.

We talked, brainstormed, and I listened to her tell me  a story. One that was bigger, older, and wiser then both of us and our divorce drama combined. It was a long walk, a shovel dragging behind like a veil that no longer fears the inevitable. The color was red for blood, death and roses. The smell was of earth freshly cut open to hold the remnants of an old life.  I followed closely with video to record the sensation of being in the skin of a body ready to shed it outer layer for something new and more white then a preserved wedding dress. The sound was tearing open of seams, and ripping of fabric. Then it was just hands. Pulling, separating, removing, condensing, burying, covering, honoring the past.

She buried her dress beneath my Magnolia Tree that day while it was in full blossom. A cold Spring morning, fresh misty air, promise, and possibility. How deeply involved I was from creation to death of this wedding dress. Hand made from raw materials, realizing its purpose, then to watch  it pass back into the earth burial style.

 Now, when next a woman will ask me to make her wedding dress; I will be  more aware of the magical contract I am entering into.  For the wedding dress is more then a symbol of union and matrimony. It is a cloth of sacred importance, but also a temporal form  that represents the body, and the body too will pass on.  Each day is such a gift to celebrate all the love we have in our life. This celebration may it continue into death as the spirit of Viva  de la Muerte!

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