When COVID shut down theatres and all of my costuming work went on hold, I found myself aching to create and to connect with my artistic community. Though I wasn't sure how to collaborate with my fellow theatre artists, I started reaching out to authors and asking if they'd be interested in my designing a dress to support their latest release. I read the books, pick up on key themes and tones and symbols. Then I design and build a dress that ties in with both the cover image and the story within. It's a way of connecting with other artists during a time when we're all isolated, and a way of using skills that were languishing with darkened theatres. I'm not myself when I'm not creating collaboratively. 2020 was hard. This project brought me back to life.
The project grew and I've now built over 100 dresses, giving them away to eager readers each week. It's a small thing I can do to bring joy during strange times. Whether or not I'll continue once my theatre work picks back up remains to be seen, but I love that these bring smiles to both writers and readers, and they bring me tremendous joy as I sort out materials and designs and watch the pieces come together. Here's hoping I can find the time and funds to continue for many books to come.
For more images of each dress and for info about the books, click the Instagram link at the bottom of my webpage.
For more info on the project, check out these interviews:
Rain City Librarian http://www.raincitylibrarian.ca/?p=22384
Hey It's Carly-Rae! https://heyitscarlyrae.com/exclusive-interview-with-jacqueline-firkins/
The Perks of Being a Booklover podcast https://soundcloud.com/wfmp-forward-radio/perks-s-7-ep-155-jacqueline-firkins-fashion-and-fiction-11-16-22?in=wfmp-forward-radio/sets/perks-of-being-a-book-lover