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Swimming in a wedding dress made from J-cloths

I have been working on a series of playful performances over the last few months and intend to share these with you one at a time! This first piece is a collaborative film made with fellow artists Janet Sewell and Andy and Sharon Brooks. A hundred J-cloths were sewn together by Janet, with great difficulty because the material slips under the sewing machine needle, and the pieces of the dress were cut from a wedding dress pattern.

 

The dress had a 3-metre train and a tiny pearl button at the neck. Accompanied by my husband I swam in the dress in a local quarry and was filmed doing this by Andy Brooks, using a 360-degree camera. I felt incredibly stupid walking into the water and whilst swimming but was determined to push past the feelings of embarrassment and see where this art act led. I was interested in seeing the way the dish cloth material would move underwater in a large space and to question what it would be like for a dishcloth to experience the glamour of being made into a wedding dress and then soaking and floating in a 25-metre-deep quarry instead of its usual and expected habitat of a washing up bowl.