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Butterflies: The Garments of Psyche

© Copyright Alessandra Kelley

These garments are part of "Second Sights: The Art of Presence", an ongoing project.

"Second Sights" takes inspiration from the classical Greek gods to spur thought and expand our culture's ideas of human beauty and clothing.

These garments offer thoughts about the movement of the human form.

The project blends panel painting, clothing design and construction, and textile painting. Each god addressed in the "Second Sights" project has a painting and an outfit, sometimes more than one.

Psyche is the Greek god of the human soul and mind. Often depicted with butterfly wings, she attains divinity by wedding Eros, primordial god of love.

Psyche's dress is sewn of silk satin with a shaped bodice that zips up the front and a three-tiered skirt.

Quilted and painted multilayer organza wings are attached to the back of the bodice. The wings are feathered like Eros' rather than butterfly wings like Psyche's.

a woman in the Psyche garments, dancing in a room one of the organza wings on the back of the dress
the lowest tier of the skirt

The skirt is in three tiers of different-colored silk satin.

The lowest tier is a soft maroon satin painted behind with the roots of a mighty tree twined with ribbons, leaves, butterflies, birds, and symbols of earth and growth. In front it is painted with twined feathers and roses.

a white rose painted on maroon satin
birds and butterflies painted on scarlet satin birds and butterflies painted on scarlet satin
a white feather and a gold feather entwined, painted on maroon satin Psyche and a shadowed Eros, both winged, float in front of a field of blue butterflies

Click here to see the accompanying painting.

Click here for the project gallery.