Pink Snow-ing in Paris by Mary-Ellen Belleville
Medium: Sequined fabric, dried leaves & floral pods, tulle, beads, crochet lace from upcycled tablecloth,wire.
Dimensions: 27 x 13 x 13cm
For those of us of a certain age, the saying ‘it’s snowing in Paris’ was a subtle way to alert a lady that the lace of her petticoat was showing. This is my nod to the sometimes bizarre fashions historically, in which crinolines were meant to create a ‘desirable, womanly shape’. In my version the expectation for a woman to dress to impress was often in conflict in terms of comfort, and the ability to freely move about in a daily routine.
Mary-Ellen Belleville has ‘dabbled’ with textiles since completing her Bachelor of Education (Art & Craft) in 1979, majoring in ceramics and textiles. Around that time she exhibited in graduation student shows at the Meat Market, Melbourne and also exhibited at the Gryphon Gallery at Melbourne State College and at Distelfink Gallery, Melbourne.
A career in the food and hospitality industry took over the creative juices and energies for more than 20 years. Always keen to explore the myriad aspects of textile arts, Mary-Ellen continued attending artist workshops, exploring various textile arts techniques.
In more recent years Mary-Ellen’s three dimensional textile pieces have been selected for exhibition at CrossXpollinatioN - a festival of textile and fibre art held annually in Colac. In 2014, the theme was “love, loss and what I wore” and Mary-Ellen was delighted that her textile-collar was acquired for the Deakin University collection.
“Basically I love to ‘play’ with textiles and found objects, often collected whilst camping in the bush, or by the ocean. Hence the idea for creating multiple sculptures grew from making the first ‘voodoo doll’. The process involves a lot of pins!
I really enjoyed creating the first doll, a sort of ‘ocean nymph’ and then the others came into existence simply by constantly keeping a bowerbird eye out for various leaves, seaweed, bark, weather-beaten plastics, gorgeous fabrics, broken jewellery. With a treasure trove of bits and pieces I ornament the paper mache mannequins that are in turn whimsical, elegant, organic, militaristic or simply fun”.