We featured the astonishing Corset Books of Tamar Stone in an Edge post some time ago, and they are truly astounding works. It’s a real pleasure to be able to share her latest piece with you, entitled Dress vs Woman.
This book is inspired by a series of pamphlets from the McDowell Drafting Machine Company from the turn of the century and also by a photograph of a studio portrait of Tamar’s Aunt Cecille’s grandmother, Cecille Kleinman.
Tamar explains: “This piece explores the messages given to women at the time concerning their clothing. McDowell’s slogan was,To-day, unless a lady’s dress is properly shaped and well made, all the beauty that nature may have bestowed on the figure, or art given, the fabric covering it is considered lost; and the pleasure she might have given those surrounding her is thrown away.
“From an etiquette book from that time, When a young woman is given to extravagant displays in dress, it is but publishing to the world, her own consciousness of a want of other attractions of a more substantial nature. It is but virtually saying, I seek to execute attention by my dress, because I have no other good quality by which I can secure attention. Of course, not everyone was ready to subscribe to those dictates of fashion, That a majority of women do not wish for any important change in their social and civil condition merely proves that they are unreflecting slaves of custom, they are totally unconscious of what they have lost by the systematic stifling of their souls.
This book is remarkable on many levels. From a technical perspective, there is the initial skill in turning a corset into a book, which is then enhanced by the smaller fabric volumes contained within, each of which combines print, stitch and other techniques to amazing effect.
The social and historical commentary then seals the deal, creating a piece of art that presents you with a historical observation that you can touch and explore and consider. These books are simply wonderful.
For more pictures and information on this book, and the rest of Tamar’s fantastic works, visit her website.
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