Wedding Cage (2016.20)

Catalogue Record

Collection

Maker

Title

Wedding Cage

Made in

Brighton

Date

1998

Description

The dress is installed vertically with 16 ostrich feathers placed underneath it on the floor. The work was originally commissioned and made for the ‘Lookout’ 1998 exhibition programme, supported by Waterstones Bookshop, Brighton and Thames & Hudson publishers. It was displayed in the Waterstones shop window in Brighton in this exhibition.

Materials and techniques

Two polyester, nylon hand/ home-made 1970’s Wedding Dresses were used in making. The dresses were both sourced in second hand charity shops in Brighton. They were tried on and worn by the maker and photographed before any cutting/ unpicking took place. Areas of both dresses were cut in different ways, areas such as yoke and sleeve details were unpicked and kept whole to be reconstructed as original parts. The warp is cotton yarn and stripped polyester boning. The work was woven on a homemade large wooden frame loom, about the size of a door frame, in an unconventional way. While weaving, loom tensions were manipulated to configure the works female form. Once cut off the loom, warp thread/boning ends were knotted and hand and machine sewn over to secure top and bottom of the work.

Dimensions

height:  176cm
width:  63cm
depth:  35cm

Object number

2016.20

Category

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • Wedding Cage, Lucy Brown, 1998, Crafts Council Collection: 2016.20. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

Maker's statement

Wedding Cage was the first work where I used Wedding Dresses and seemed to consolidate all my ideas at the time. It is a significant piece from my early career, a work which received much attention.

Inspirations and points of reference for Wedding Cage are writings and publications, newspaper articles exploring female identity and what a wedding dress is…. Representation of the (white, western) female ideal, personal experience, women’s fictional literature re Angela Carter and traditional fairy tales.

I remember trying on the wedding dress quite vividly, although I spent time wearing each dress I could not bring myself to go out in them. My boyfriend at the time, was on about marriage which seem to add to the bizarreness of wearing the dresses... When I cut the work off of the loom she became her own person with a very strong presence.

Wedding Cage reflects upon the ideals and connotations of the western traditional wedding dress that dignifies femininity and purity. It is a dress that holds personal and social history, and normally is an item of clothing that is kept, cherished and handed down through generations. It is possibly the first item to be discarded if the marriage breaks down.

The idea of life changing after marriage is reflected in the reconstruction of the original wedding dresses used for the work. The hip area is exaggerated suggesting material instinct. Although it is not possible to wear, the zip still functions and acts as segregation.

The work takes on the form of an uninhabited container of memories; the texture imitates plumage of young birds. This is enhanced by the placement of ostrich feathers on the floor.

Lucy Brown, 08 September 2017