I fell in love instantly, because I can't get enough of the eloquent tension of opposites. Soft v hard, masculine v femenine, shiny v matte, pointy v smooth, machined v handmade; the dialogue, when done properly, can be both a delicate balance and an elegant ballet.
Theresa's motorcycle cozy is all of these things. In an article written by Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic, she explains her initial inspiration: the dreaded toilet paper cozy.
Yeah. The toilet paper cozy. I know, right?
How many of you, when confronted by a roll of toilet paper in what's clearly ultra-secret, "I Can't Believe It's Not A Wedding Cake," The Spy Who Wiped Me mode, go looking for alternative hiding places for a different roll? I just don't want to disturb The One That Has That Hallowed Spot; it's special, and I don't want to leave the poor cozy hollow and purposeless.
We're probably all familiar with the style that sports a Barbie(TM) jammed down the middle of the tube. The skirt of her voluminous dress hides the roll of toilet paper, as if toilet paper ought to be out of sight unless on the spool for immediate use; the need for a spare roll being shameful, unspeakable, and unacceptable public evidence of excessive living.
Theresa has pondered these things too. She considers the lonely housewife who (she imagines) had no better way to spend her time than crafting this excellent over-the-top dust and pet fur magnet. Then she goes a step further and embraces the concept of "[item] cozy", and creates a cozy for objects other than just toilet paper. Things that are hard and harsh, and could do with a little softening and "girl-ing" up. Such as a motorcycle. And she does so, using the same medium used by countless grannies and charity afghan crocheters and frugal knitters (I've used it) across time and space: she uses the cheapest acrylic worsted available. Awesome.
I don't remember if my grandmother ever sat on my uncle's motorcycle, but I suspect that if I got close to Theresa's pink cozy-covered motorcycle, it would probably smell comfortable and familiar.
It is a very sucessful conversation between opposites. Not to mention one kickin' yakuza/harajuku ride for the Power Puff Girls -- which, naturally inspires another round of opposites: there's something very old and familiar about this that takes the viewer back to church basement craft fairs. Yet undeniably, these textures and colors are all over the hottest fashion trades and reflected in pop culture. It's granny and glam.
I needed to see if there were more interesting objects covered in compelling ways, so I headed over to Theresa's website.
In all of her work, there is a common thread. Yarn. Well, she uses both. Anyway. The commonality is the perpetually contrasting stereotypical push-me-pull-you of the brash macho world thrust hard against the soft world of what is womanly. She uses the medium that is taken traditionally from women's work to either cover (and therefore, soften and femenize) Man Stuffs (seriously: the Jackhammer.) or artfully recreate a medium first practiced by Men.
(I'll just acknowledge here that tattooing and other body arts have been practiced the world over, for time out of mind. Men, women, and children have been marked on a variety of occasions for countless reasons. The type of tattoos recreated in Theresa's art are specifically the sort of tattoos that originally were designed by and for men, in Western Culture, in modern times.)
Having a tattoo to hang on the wall really appeals to me. Consider how less painful these tattoos are to acquire than the traditional in-the-skin tattoos. Consider even more that they will not change shape (ahem) DAILY. Stretch marks, scars, dye absorption, etc.: not an issue here. It just seems like there's even more room for exploration with this medium than skin; not least because eventually, everyone runs out of skin... don't think I'm trying to talk you out of a tattoo, though! I know they are an important rite of passage for many.
There's also the added advantage of not having to heal after one of Theresa's tattoos. I would argue, in fact, that they may be a medium of healing, themselves.
Spend time gazing at these intricate layers of webwork. It's mesmerising. It's delicate and powerful. The imagery is at once familiar and mysterious. These pieces grab you by the retinas and don't let go. It's a bit like entering a miniscule, multilevel labyrinth, and you want to meet the Minotaur.
Her technique: She sews on air (yes, seriously. I suspect I know how she does it, but I'm not giving away any secrets.) just go and look. You simply have to see them. They are delicious.
Heartbreakingly labor intensive, and gloriously densely colorful. Like medieval ecclesiastic vestments, slightly twisted, rooted and blooming in a rainforest grown over a kryptonite landfill.
When you visit her website, please be sure to make careful note of her upcoming exhibits. You (like I) will want to see this up close and in person.