Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Rise and Shine: Tennessee Williams' Mother's Curtains

Rise and Shine, front

The nice thing about being known for producing an eclectic assortment of odd art pieces is that when people stumble across something odd, they give it to you. That was the case here, when my sister's friend's sister's friend bought Tennessee Williams' mother's old house in St. Louis and discovered that the mother's sheer curtains still hung in the windows. She took them down and eventually they passed along the chain of provenance described above and came to me. The resulting art piece, called Rise and Shine, is a gauzy child's dress embedded with quotes from Tennessee Williams plays.

Close-up, top front

Close-up, bottom front

Close-up, collar

The title of the piece, Rise and Shine, appears on the front collars of the dress and is taken from a quote from The Glass Menagerie: "Every time you come in yelling that God damn 'Rise and Shine!' 'Rise and Shine!' I say to myself, 'How lucky dead people are.'"

Front sleeve

Bottom front detail

Dress back

Back left collar

Back right collar

Back right sleeve

Back zipper

Back ruffle detail

There will be more to this Rise and Shine series in coming weeks — there were a lot of curtains. Meanwhile, here are the Tennessee Williams quotes used on this piece:

"Nothing human disgusts me unless it's unkind." - Night of the Iguana

"I'll be all right in a minute, I'm just bewildered — by life." - The Glass Menagerie

"I don't want realism. I want magic.!" - A Streetcar Named Desire

"Silence about a thing just magnifies it." - A Streetcar Named Desire

"We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal." - Camino Real

"There is a time for departure, even when there is no certain place to go." - Camino Real

"We are all of us sentenced to solitary confinement within our own skins, for life." - Orpheus Rising

"We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it." - The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore 


  1. beautiful embellishment remake of a piece of history, at first glance looks like a baptisimal gown

  2. Beautiful. How did you print the quotes on the fabric? What about the quote that has "ultimate betrayal" in it. ...and theologies, the whole mythology...What's that quote?
    Vancouver Barbara

    1. I used iron-on transfer paper and simply printed a page of quotes onto it. Then I cut them into individual lines and ironed them onto satin ribbon. Then I stitched the ribbon onto the garment along seam lines.
      As for the quotes, the first is, "We have to distrust each other, it's our only defense against betrayal." Can't find a play attribution - he may have just said that in real life. The second is from Night of the Iguana and is: "All your western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a juvenile delinquent."

    2. What a woman you are. What a man he was. Brilliant. And beautiful. Both.
      Vancouver Barbara


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