Beautiful wear and tear


Awhile back, I began a daily practice.
I didn't know I was starting one at the time, but it has stuck with me
and I sheepishly admit [to those not as fond of the internet]
I find a lot of wonders with this particular practice.

I don't sketch anymore.  Not in the traditional form of the word anyway.
I research pictures.
I fill my eyes and mind with images, wherever my imagination leads in the moment ...
for about an hour each day, I follow threads and links and references,
immersing myself in a subject or direction
until it feels like my brain has been plugged in.

May seem an odd way to do Morning Pages,
but I can't resist being devoured by inspiration this way.
It's my own idiosyncratic version of stream of consciousness writing ...
I just follow pictures instead of words across a page.
[ with apologies to Julia Cameron ]

And that brings me to today's discovery ...
the stunning work of photographer, Carin Ingalsbe.

Now, it is one thing to fall head over heels for someone's photographic abilities and/or vision, 
but it is an entirely different matter when, in addition, 
their subject matter rocks your very soul.

Few things in life are more poignant to me
than worn & tattered clothing ...

What you see here are pieces from her series on ballet costumes. 
Referring to this work, Ingalsbe says, in essence,
they are portraits.

"The costumes range in age from 60 years old,
at their youngest, to pieces that date back to the 1700's.
The wear and tear of the costumes has been a centerpiece
of my portrayal of them. Their deterioration through use,
like African art, is evidence of the number of hands
through which these garments have passed over time.
From its inception, each costume was created
with the understanding that the final vision of the designer
will only exist until the first dancer puts it on.
The struggle between visual design and functionality
starts at once as the wardrobe master and mistress
stand off-stage taking notes about the things that fall off
or tear during performance. The destruction of the garment
begins, and from that point on
it becomes a living and ever-changing object
that morphs through the brilliance and talent of others."

~ from her biography at Lanoue Fine Art HERE ~

..." a living and ever-changing object" ... yes, this is EXACTLY the sentiment,
the best description of what interests me about 
[stitching, dyeing, reassembling, remaking, embellishing]
previously worn -- and worn -- clothing & textiles.

Please note: the links below each photo will take you directly to Ingalsbe's website
where detailed close-ups are paired with the main photos ...
her Vintage Clothing Collection  contains even more beauties with
"broken parts."

"The journey that a costume takes is a singular road
that cannot be duplicated.  Because the costumes
are threadbare and torn, they are, by definition,
spent.  My desire to reveal the value of each piece by
rediscovering its pedigree is one that I hope
comes through my work. The evidence of use that each 
costume has sustained is the very thing
that makes it worth considering."

"Sometimes the soul of the piece is revealed by 
turning it inside out
or backward."

Broken and loose beads ...

tarnish, discoloration and stains ...

~ Rust Jacket, The Paris Opera Ballet ~

splitting their seams.

Once worn  with  perfection,
now aged  to  perfection.

Such worthy subjects for portraiture,
wouldn't you agree?


  1. gosh - these are WONDERFUL shots - I've never seen anything quite like them.... thanks for finding and sharing them....

    1. me too, ronnie, never seen anything like them.
      So glad you enjoyed!

  2. I'm also a picture researcher ....It sounds better that way :-)
    Love the taupe silk robe.... and ohhhh the detail photos are so beautiful!

    1. yes, Robyn, aren't those detail photos ***divine***?
      Ingalsbe has done a very wonderful thing through having access
      to these marvelous textile collections & sharing her vision of them.
      Very fun to share that here to other appreciative researching eyes!

  3. I do the same thing -- at the end of my day I write a bit in my 'work' journal and then browse the internet for inspiration. I love to do this at the end of the day - as I go to sleep I have all these beauties in my mind's eye. Your photos are fabulous as is the work -- such detail and color and the fabric combinations are marvelous.

    1. Hooray, a fellow internet-searching compatriot! Do you have friends who think you
      are a wee bit of a weirdo, like I do, Penny?
      Their loss, I say. I could write LONG lists of artists & works I would otherwise
      never have known (and learned from) if it weren't for the internet ...

  4. Thank your for posting this... beautiful images and I too love worn and tattered... worn and tattered everything.

  5. fabulous images and wonderful words. i, too, flood my brain with images for inspiration. thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for such kind words, deanna ~ so, so pleased that my cloth friends find
      Ingalsbe's work extraordinary, like I do.

      Here's to brain flooding, here, here!!

  6. Still my beating heart!!! Thank you Thank YOU for sharing this work and this artist's website. I am enchanted...and you have completely made my day.

    1. Oh, that's wonderful, Susan ~ I think I could have guessed you would respond
      to Ingalsbe's work ;>]] It pleases me no end to make YOUR day
      and I thank you ... heaps! ... for your message.
      I hope you saw her Vintage Collection??? If not, do pop over there.

  7. That's exactly what I do too, first thing in the morning, with the first cup of tea. It does fill the place exactly of the Morning Pages that I used to do, too. I start with my blog list, and just see where the links take me. You're on my blog list because you make excellent links - I appreciate it!

  8. These beautiful images fill up my soul ... I have been watching a TV programme called The Paradise, not for the story but because of the textiles that make up such a large part of the Ladies Department Store, set in ?Victorian?Edwardian? England. I get my fix of luscious textiles then, and this blog entry gave me another. Thanks!

    1. I will look for that one, Christine. I'm not sure it has aired here in the states and if so, I missed it. Would definitely
      be up my alley. Did you see the series called "House of Elliot"? Also a period drama, about a fashion house run
      by sisters ... quite excellent.

    2. Missed that one, but I just love all those shows that indulge our textile senses.

  9. uhm. you mean there's something wrong with trolling the interwebs for stuffs to fill up my inner creative need? I used to do this with magazines. and books. pinning and tumbling is a whole lot cheaper and I have the whole world of wonders at the end of my fingertips. not just some editors viewpoint. visionary democracy. I love that.

    and these images? these words? you are making it very very very difficult not to get wrapped up in fabric and stitching and cloth my friend. stop. stop it. right. now! xo

    1. Nope, sorry can't. 'Fraid there's no stopping this, cloth is too good.
      Might be borrowing your phrase, "visionary democracy." Excellent.

      And to some, 'Trolling the interwebs" [also brilliant phrase!] is an utter waste of time & energy and
      what I do is sorely looked down upon. Makes me chuckle. They smoke some leafage to fill up/find
      their creative needs, but my pastime is the one that's wasteful? Funny ole world.

  10. such beautiful photographs of Time... you always find such great beauty thank you for sharing

    1. You're so very welcome, Mo, and I thank you for the kind comment. I'm so thrilled that others respond to her work as I do.

  11. These are exquisite, and how ironic that I was just introduced to Carin's work through a friend in Boston last weekend. They actually have adjacent studios! What a treasure, I hope to see some of her work in real life someday. In the meantime I am happy to have found your blog through my morning's wanderings!

    1. Indeed, such a TREASURE, Ingrid, I'm so happy you think so, too. Yes, wouldn't it be grand to see those photos in person?! I used to live in Boston & loved to visit Newbury Street, art-walking the galleries. I haven't been there for a long time now but I can tell you for sure that I would definitely be making a jaunt over to Lanoue Fine Art to see them!

  12. Thanks so much for making me aware of Carin's work. These are stunning!!! My three loves, or should I say three of my loves are, photography, textiles, and beading - not always in that order on any given day :)
    So glad that I found your blog and work.! Happy creating to you.

    1. You qualified your statement in much the same way I would have ... there are more than three ;>]] Very happy you came by for a visit, Anna, and that you *found* Carin's work stunning. I am so wowed by her particular vision.

      Happy creating to you, too!

  13. Breathtaking indeed, Christi !!!

    1. Els ~ isn't she is a fine, fine photographer, with a magnificent eye? So pleased you enjoyed this!

  14. I confess, I do it too. There is just so much to explore in the world, so much to be curious about and the internet makes it easy. I'm going to be spending some time with these photos...

    1. Every time I revisit these photos I get strange little heart palpitations. That must sound odd, I know, but I am sure my pulse quickens as well. I wonder if we will ever tire of this kind of exploring? It's as if my brain needs this like my body needs food.

  15. Utterly stunning! Beautiful fabrics, amazing embroidery and embellishment and the fantasy world of stage costume; so many of my favourite things all together. That was better than chocolate!!! ;o)

    1. [ BIG GRIN ]
      Although I can no longer eat chocolate, I know exactly what you mean!

  16. I'm breathing a sigh of relief! After 15 years of devoted 'daily pages' writing or brain drain, feeling a little guilty, I've now taken up the practice of scouring the Pinterest sites of those who have 'pinned' my images. It is so comforting to know I have so many kindred spirits out there who have done more research than I have collecting images and inspiration. I am going to 'school' on them for sure. I love this post. Thank You! Marianna

    1. ... so very good to know I'm not alone in my internet pastime, Marianna. My goodness, you did daily pages for FIFTEEN years?!? How extraordinary! I kept written journals for years, but not with *daily* entries. Now, this blog is my journal and works so much better for me than simply writing as it's the visual content that holds more meaning for me than any words [usually].

  17. beautiful photos. alas i am still a doodler.

    1. Those doodles take you on flights with masterful cloths, miz jude ;>]