The House of Mirth

Art Narratives by Cynthia Korzekwa

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While sewing on this dress, for some unknown reason, I thought about Lily Bart.

Many years ago, I accompanied my daughter to Aix-in-Provence for a language course.  My reading companion was Edith Wharton’s THE HOUSE OF MIRTH.  Published in 1905, the book gets its title from Ecclesiastes 7:4: The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.


The protagonist is Lily Bart, 29 and unmarried. Lily will not marry the man she really loves because he is not rich thus dedicates her time trying to find a wealthy husband.  Unfortunately, Lily sabotages all of her possibilities for marriage as she unwittingly gets involved in a scandal that will eternally ruin her.

I remember quite well the night I finished reading THE HOUSE OF MIRTH because I cried and cried…

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The Quiddity Dress

Quiddity Muy Marcottage Dress

All of the dresses I make have a name. Because they are not anonymous. Because instead of looking at a dress as a thing, I try to create a relationship with it. For example, the Muy Marcottage dress “Quiddity”.

Quiddity, in philosophy, is the whatness of an object, its inherent nature or essence. Otherwise, quiddity refers to a distinct feature or a quirk, an idiosyncrasy.

A dress is a category but my dresses are specifics. They help to define me. They are an extension of my personal quiddity because I interrelate with myself when I chose the clothes I wear.

The body and its clothing live in symbiosis.  At least temporarily.  There is an intimacy we have with our clothes that we have with nothing or no one else. Because our clothes cling to us and touch our skin.  They are there omnipresent and participate in our every move. Our clothes know our secrets. Our clothes are well aware of our quiddity.

                                                  Quiddity Muy Marcottage DressQuiddity Muy Marcottage Dress

The dress “Quiddity” represents, in terms of Muy Marcottage, a union between past and present. The top half was made during my early experimental attempts at remaking secondhand clothes. I was dissecting all the old clothes I could find and sewing parts together almost as if I were making a collage.  Not happy with the results, I cut the top off from whatever it was attached to at the time and abandoned it.  Then this summer my friend Lyn gave me a dress made from a stretchy ethnic looking fabric and, anxious to play, I got out my chopped up fabric stash and came across the abandoned top. Seemingly incongruent, the two mated perfectly.

Melding is magic.

 

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