Threads spooling

Denver Art Museum textile exhibit
Visiting the Denver Art Museum to view the special exhibit "Star Wars : The Power of Costume" last weekend was a joyous reminder of costumers and seamstresses. I so wish Fritzi and Felecia had been there with me, but in a way they both were.

My mom has been gone twelve years now, but she made many costumes for Natalie Grossman's modern dance productions in Lincoln in the 1960s. A perfectionist seamstress, she was also a creative problem-solver sewing unusual materials to create animal headdresses for dancers. Fritzi would have loved sharing the art museum with her grandson and great grandson, just as she loved bringing her own children to the Sheldon Art Museum so long ago.

Wizard friend Felecia is always present when the subject is capes, and Star Wars is a cape carnival! Felecia has been gone almost six years, and I still feel robbed of her artistic enthusiasm. I wanted so much to share the exhibit costume shop with her, reveling in the lush textured materials, glorious vintage 1920s fabrics, stage combat aspects, theatrical illusions, and Samurai influences.

Fritzi's spool shelf above her sewing machine

Others join the memory dance -- makers of papier mache helmets, fans of Japanese kimonos, embroiderers and stitchers, students of imperial Chinese robe design, sisters posing in great aunts' hats, kids with Halloween costumes of their own design. But in the present moment my grandson, son, and I pin fabric scraps, foam packing pieces, CDs, ribbons, coils, and straws on a life-size mannequin to design a "Dark Vader." The Force is definitely with us in the hands-on studio!

Pattern pieces hang in the recreated Star Wars costume shop.

Threads pull and wind, bind and weave, tangle, mend, unravel.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder

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