Saturday, August 29, 2009

Taking Time to Reflect

But if you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself.
Carl Jung

I rarely have trouble expressing myself. Words usually spill out of my head faster than I can type or talk, but lately I've been craving quiet. Perhaps it is blog-fatigue, but the muse has left me.

I'll be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks - to rest and refresh my spirit. I hope to come back in two weeks full of passion and inspiration. Until then, my loyal friends and readers, adieu.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Just around the corner in every woman's mind - is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her!

Wilhela Cushman

I want to be this enchanting creature from the cover of the Fall 2009 Holt Renfrew catalogue! Ooh la la! Just imagine wearing head to toe Alexander MacQueen....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: The Glassblower of Murano

I've been taking lounging about lately trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer and one of my favourite summer indulgences is reading historical fiction. I love to be transported to another place and time as I was in the novel The Glassblower of Murano.

In this fictional tale, Leonora Manin leaves her disasterous marriage in London behind to start over in the city of Venice as a glassblower. Leonora secures a job based on the fact that she is a descendant of Corradino Manin, a renowned glassblower of the 17th century. At that time in history, Venetian mirrors were more precious than gold and the secrets of their craft were jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten. Corradino risks all to achieve his freedom and sells his methods to Louis XIV to create the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. The two stories are interwoven to create a tale as enchanting as the city of Venice itself.

I've only been to Venice once, many years ago, and yet, this book made me feel like I'd recently visited the famed city. I was drawn into this well-crafted tale of intrigue and felt compelled to keep reading to find out what happened to Corradino and his descendants. As an artist, I appreciated the precise descriptions of glass-blowing, which sounds like both a difficult and dangerous art. The characters were well-rounded and the story believable. Almost as interesting were the after-notes including the author's own story of how she came to write this novel. If you didn't have the vacation that you hoped for this summer, pick up this book and you will feel like you've been to Venice.

Title: The Glassblower of Murano
Author: Marina Fiorato
Publisher: Beautiful Books Limited (UK) 2008
Category: Fiction
Price: US$13.95, Canada $17.95 (paperback)
Number of Pages: 348

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Schiaparelli!!!!

I just found out that the Art Gallery of Ontario has decided to extend the run of the Surreal Things show until September 13th, which means that there are a few more weeks to get my fill of Schiaparelli and all things surreal.

The more I read about Elsa Schiaparelli, the more intrigued I am. Not only did she incorporate new developments in technology like the zipper into her designs, she used art as her muse and created garments that have an element of wit and whimsy. This is something I greatly admire!

In the September 2009 issue of Harper's Bazaar, there is an article called "Schiaparelli: The Shocking Truth" by David Vincent. While I did not discover any shocking truths about this talented designer, I did learn a few curious facts including:
- Actress Marisa Berenson is the granddaughter of Schiaparelli
- The Schiaparelli brand was purchased by Diego Della Valle and will be relaunched in 2011 at the earliest.
- Aviator Amelia Earhart wore head to toe Schiaparelli.
If you are enchanted by Schiaparelli, you might want to pick up a copy of Harper's Bazaar and read more.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Schiaparelli and Surreal Things

If you are like me and swoon when you hear the name Schiaparelli, you must find you way to Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario and see the Surreal Things show before August 30, 2009.

This exhibition, which was curated by Ghislaine Wood of the Victoria and Albert Museum, surveys the contribution of surrealists to fashion, design, photography, advertising, architecture, and theatre.

From the moment I walked into the gallery and took in the display of the fantastical ballet costumes designed for Les Ballet Russes by Giorgio de Chirico in 1929, I was grinning from ear to ear. Why had no one mentioned that fashion, costumes and jewelery were an integral part of this world class exhibit? I'm sorry that I did not go sooner.

I was blown away to stand in front of the bird cage and wooden mannequin from Schiaparelli's Paris storefront as well as twelve of her couture designs, including the infamous Skeleton Dress which features padded quilting to emphasize the ribs and spine. I almost fainted when I noticed the delicate sketches by Salvador Dali for his collaboration with Schiaparelli for the Skeleton Dress and the Dress with Drawers.

Other highlights in the exhibition included the Horst photo called Girl with Mainbocher Corset (1939), and the Man Ray photo called Model in a Dominguez Wheelbarrow (1937) where the model wears a Vionnet evening gown.

There was no doubt in my mind after seeing this exhibition that the surrealists were well acquainted with glamour and fashion. I bought the book Surreal Things (cover shown below) and intend to read it carefully before going back for another look-see. There is also a video clip on the ago website with an introduction by the curator.

Join me if you can. You won't be disappointed! By the way, this exhibition originated at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2007 before travelling to the Museum Boijmans Van Reuningen in Rotterdam and the Guggenheim Museum in Bibao in 2008. Toronto is its final stop!

Art Gallery of Ontario
317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario
1-877-225-4246 or 416-979-6648

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Three Square Feet of Art

One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art. (Wilde)
Mixed media 12x12.
Copyright of Ingrid Mida 2009

The truly fashionable are beyond fashion. (Beaton)
Mixed Media 12x12
copyright of Ingrid Mida, 2009

Carelessness in dressing is moral suicide. (Balzac)
Mixed Media 12x12
Copyright of Ingrid Mida, 2009

In an effort to make something more than just three pretty pictures for the Square Foot Show at AWOL Gallery, I incorporated a witty quote about fashionable dress into my fashion plates. I had no idea that embroidering letters would be so time-consuming and so painstaking. (I ripped out stitches over and over and I still was not able to achieve the level of perfection that I had hoped for.) Nevertheless, I am pleased with the result as the quotes add a level of intellectual whimsy to the work. What do you think?

Square Foot Show at AWOL Gallery

101A Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Saturday, August 15 - September 6, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Square Foot Show

One of Toronto's hottest art show opens in a week and I'm scrambling to have my submission of three artworks ready for tomorrow's deadline!!! (This is one of the reasons I've not been posting much lately).

All artworks in the show are 12"x12" and are priced at $200. The walls of the gallery are jam packed from floor to ceiling with art including drawings, paintings, mixed media, and photography. It is an art lovers paradise! Many of the artists typically sell their work for more making it a bargain to boot!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 15th when the gallery opens to the public. The show will be on until September 6th.

AWOL Gallery
100A Ossington Avenue, Second Floor
(1 block north of Queen Street West on the west side of Ossington)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out

Blossom Sleeve Bolero and Balloon Dress, Spring/summer 2005 by Isabel Toledo
Photo by Irving Solero

Half Moon Blossom into a Cornflower, Fall/Winter 1998 by Isabel Toledo
Photo by Irving Solero

The Fashion Institute of Technology is currently featuring a retrospective of the work of fashion designer Isabel Toledo (June 17-September 26, 2009). Curated by Valerie Steele, this exhibition called Fashion from the Inside Out includes 70 iconic looks from the mid 1980s to the present, including Michelle Obama's Inauguration Day Outfit.

Cuban-born designer Isabel Toledo works closely with her husband fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo and does not herself sketch. She says she is "not a fashion designer, but rather a seamstress" and construction and draping are the starting point in her designs. "I really love the technique of sewing more than anything else...the seamstress is the one who knows fashion from the inside! That's the art form really, not fashion design, but the technique of how it's done!"

The exhibition is organized into 7 sections including:
Organic Geometry
Liquid Architecture
Manipulated Surfaces

Admission is free to FIT but if you cannot make it to NYC, there is a comprehensive on-line exhibition.

Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street
New York 1001