Slug Princess at the Frye Art Museum, until June 19th, 2011

  “Degenerate Art Ensemble” exhibition at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle (until June 19th, 2011), features one of my best known wearable works, “The Slug Princess”.

I’ll also be doing a Gallery Talk at the Frye on June 11th, 2pm with fabulous designers Christine Tschirigi and Anna Telcs.  Join us!

"The Slug Princess, 2008"

"The Slug Princess, 2008"

The Frye Art Museum   exhibition showcases Degenerate Art Ensemble’s more than 10- year span of brilliance here in Seattle and all over the world!  You’ll find films of many of their performances, handmade instruments, installations, my costume and others including the “Weeble Wobble dress, as well as Steven Miller’s incredible work on many of DAE’s posters (two of which I had the pleasure of working on!).  Join in their fantasy world of –(to quote the Frye website)”…an array of warrior princesses, ninjas waging epic battles, hungry ghosts, birds and beasts-shape shifters all”.

image: Steven Miller

Slug Princess , Bruce Tom

image: Bruce Tom of “The Slug Princess” installed at the Frye Art Museum

I’ve had the great privilege of getting to collaborate with Haruko Nishimura of DAE on two different characters, the one now on display at the Frye, my Slug Princess from our collaborative film project with Ian Lucero, “The Silvering Path”, and also a character called “Shiro” from their production of “Sonic Tales” in 2009.

 Slug Princess

I also had this mad idea that I would make the dress form for the museum exhibit because I hate the way my wearables look on the standard commercial dress dummies.  Check out the hilarious picture of Haruko wrapped in duct tape!  She is such a sport and so mischievously funny!

dress dummy

The final form is paper mache with a coating of pages from a 1940’s romance novel…somehow appropriate for the slug princess of erotic appetite and DAE’s love of story.

Don’t miss the show if you are in Seattle, and check out this review in the Seattle Times!   Their newest production,  “The Red Shoes” sold out in hours….well-deserved for these Seattle icons!  I wish them all strength for the final two shows, as they perform a massive multi-sited fairy tale around the city that is their home.

Red shoes

 And here’s a recent post on my inspiration blog “A Quickening” about Haruko and the creation of DAE’s new production “Red Shoes”.   

My work is on the cover of Fiberarts, yippee!

Well, I’ve finally gotten my copy, read it and digested the fact that my work is actually on the cover of  Fiberarts Magazine!  Haruko Nishimura (my collaborator on The Silvering Path, along with Ian Lucero) looks absolutely stunning, and I’m just thrilled for her!  The article by Suzanne Beal is a real gift; she took so much time talking with me, not glossing over anything, and captured some very small but important details about what I do and the way I think.  I am so grateful to her!  It’s a great issue as a whole, go get a copy!

My approach to "The Silvering Path"

“My approach
to this collaboration adventure was to just stay what I am – a sculptor and installation artist. I usually make large installations that transform spaces into seemingly enchanted environments, creating full body experiences, like trespassing on a theatrical set. This film turns this on its head; the remarkable environment we live in becomes a ready-made installation. I approached the body as an armature that is usually made of steel and paper mache, but now flesh, blood and Huge and Heroic Haruko spirit. Building a flexible but lumbering skin around her body was one approach to tap into the bizarre and almost otherworldly undulations of the Arion Slug. My Slug is a goddess, one of appetite and compassionate desire, moving all dead matter through its liminal state towards creative regeneration. In this cycle, none of us can escape the Silvering Path. In Haruko’s hands and body, the sculpture I started now tells its own story of hunger, indulgence, transformation and Eros. She is both creator and destroyer. The silvery slime continues in the vein of my installations from the past several years; which is to make visceral transitory states of the human emotional experience tangible through the overabundance of crocheted fabric. I’ve used Pheromones to represent love, Blood to show sacrifice and loyalty, and Milk is caretaking and the physicality of empathy. The Silvery mucus of a tiny creature can transform our bodies into infinite possibility, which is both terrifying and liberating. The thin glittering line represents the preciousness of our time here in this body, both valiant and evanescent.
Just as in our film, our collaboration is three heads, hands and hearts woven together; So too are woven in a million tiny gestures, crochet stitches made by myself, friends and strangers alike. Like the Three Fates spinning out human destiny, our film keeps time with a woven cloth of soil. At the end, our hero looks back on a patchwork of her life’s work, both comforting and lasting and continuing to grow after she is gone. I can only hope for the same myself, and I believe it is the root of all creative actions.
My most Earnest thanks to Haruko and Ian for their generosity and talents, and for lending me a hand in my own growth as an artist and person.”

I heart Ian Lucero/ Behind the scenes of SP

Ian has a flickr set (look!!), too of behind the scenes images

and a tiny little peak of video
Ian Lucero kicks butt…I never knew he was filming most of this.  I can’t wait!  I am breathless to see what he has done with all the footage he took of The Silvering Path (6 ++ hours!)  More juicy bits at The Silvering Path production blog (which I will add to once I am done with the work…I guess that’s not usually how it works!)
Behind the Scenes #1: The Silvering Path from Ian Lucero on Vimeo.

Filming has wrapped on Silvering Path

The Silvering Path filming has finished!  I love these two images that Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley took (look at her flickr set).  They represent the realization of a lot of fantasies for me, and future inspiration for my work to come.  I’m exhausted but pleased with the all-out effort we all gave for this little film.  I am so excited to see what Ian Lucero, our DP/editor, will now do.

If you haven’t already bought tickets to “The Silvering Path” live performance, you really want to do that right now!  They are selling fast! (and selling out will insure these artists eat!!)  

The Silvering Path

I am a miserable “blogger”,  just can’t keep up.  I.must.keep.crocheting.  But the slug goddess is almost completed, and I will flood this little blog with info!  lots of exciting news and reviews and possibilities for myself and my work.  But first here is our first press release for the Slug project collaboration and a first peak at visuals.  The title , at last, is The Silvering Path.  It soothes me to say it….please mark your calendars for an event that will not disappoint!   Images taken by  the effortlessly talented Steven Miller.

Dance / Visual Art / Film

Silvering Path
ONE dance of eros, earth and the slug
ONE battle of the Weeble Wobble vs. the Ninjas
And one Monstrous Grandmother

Haruko Nishimura, dance (of Degenerate Art Ensemble)


Mandy Greer ( – Crochet Art
Ian Lucero ( – Film
and Colin Ernst (Circus Contraption) – Sculptural costume

OCTOBER 10,11, 16, 17, 18
2400 3rd ave (at Battery) in belltown * $15 * BROWN PAPER TICKETS

Live adventurous music by Jeffrey Huston and Joshua Kohl
Dress Art by Anna Lange
Video Art Installation by Leo Mayberry

Press Seats Available October 10th and 11th – contact:

With the support of 4Culture, the Mayors Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and Artist Trust, dancer / performer Haruko Nishimura commissioned three Seattle based master artists to create collaborations with her dance. Colin Ernst has created a Weeble Wobble dress – a wearable wobbling device which allows her to weeble and wobble but not fall down. Mandy Greer has created installation and costume art from many thousands of yards of crochet – which Haruko will wear and perform with. Ian Lucero has created a beautiful saturated film based on the life of a “Slug Princess”.

HARUKO NISHIMURA – performer / dancer / vocalist
Haruko is the co-founder of the music / dance / theater company Degenerate Art Ensemble. With DAE she has produced a consistent stream of original and adventurous works combining physical theater and butoh dance with live experimental music. Haruko is deeply moved by the transformative power of butoh dance –becoming an empty vessel from which anything can grow. She also combines the use of song and the voice in the work. (songs available at She strives to take extreme and radical viewpoints to awaken new truths hidden deep inside of the viewer – juxtaposing terror and humor. Her independent work as performer has included work with Meg Stewart / Damaged Goods (Brussels) and Inkboat (San Francisco) and others.
More on Haruko’s work at

MANDY GREER – sculptor / installation artist
Mandy’s work presents her own elusive interior narratives remade into archetypal tales. These “fairy” tales transcend the personal by mimicking theatrical illusions and tapping into a collective mythology of imagery. By using animal and hybridized forms made up of the flotsam and jetsam of the thriftstore domestic, Greer shoves the viewer into a vivid yet sometimes inexplicable world with the meaning always on the tip of one’s tongue. Her installations attempt to wrap around and contain many paradoxes; the collusion of homeliness and glitz, hunger and indulgence, love and violence, the decorative and the meaningful, the diligence of the handmade and slovenliness of the animal realm. Every surface and stitch is laced with the hope that exhaustive labor holds the promise of the transformative power of Spectacle.

COLIN ERNST – inventor, instrument builder, sculptor
Colin has been making mechanical sculptures for performance for such groups as Circus Contraption and Degenerate Art Ensemble for the past ten years. His work on this project includes the creation of a wearable WEEBLE WOBBLE DRESS (they weeble and they wobble but they don’t fall down) – worn by dancer Haruko Nishimura. See their test wobbling at

IAN LUCERO – video artist / filmmaker
Video artist and film maker Ian Lucero will premiere a film made in collaboration with Haruko Nishimura and Mandy Greer. The film captures in microscopic detail the life of a “Slug Princess” – played by Haruko – and of the Sower – played by Mandy Greer. The film, shot in HD, is full of vivid color and texture with a sound track made from recordings of grains and vegetables. See a preview at

Slug Princess gets support!

Yeah!!  The Slug Princess (though I don’t think that is really our title), has gathered some support!  Haruko has just told me she’s gotten a GAP grant, and she’s gotten a 4Culture Special Projects Grant, as well as the original collaboration idea springing out of a CityArtists Grant!!  Well, done Haruko!!

I am having a good time playing with my daily crocheting with my computer and my new sweetheart, photoshop.  Hmmm…how can I print these really big….

Slug Princess (Arion, Eros, Thanatos and the Sower)

I’m just beginning my newest project, a collaboration initiated by the luminous Haruko Nishimura, with myself and film-maker/videographer Ian Lucero.  Please check out the details and progress at the (click here) tumblr blog.
Slug Princess (test footage) 05 30 08 from Ian Lucero on Vimeo.
 We spent one weekend in Portland doing some test footage and Ian pieced together something amazing that has me so excited to work on the real thing.  Haruko and I quickly cut apart a dress and used some crocheting I had begun and some flowers and sewn/beaded vegetables (that were actually meant for Sunshine Yellow Deer from 2003) to create the hint of the headress to come.  I became fascinated with the banana slug (Arion’s slug) last summer at a residency at Smoke Farm in Arlington Wa., seeing them on my trail in the mornings.  And I began to imagine this character of a slug midwife, compassionately assisting dead matter through it’s liminal state, into fertile matter where life could begin again.  Haruko has begun working on embodying this devouring, caressing, creature, full of appetite and desire…..we are all very excited!  The film will be done in October with live performances by Haruko in my costumes in locations TBD.  I also need tons of volunteer help and donations of materials, with three months to work and very little budget, I have some fantastic ideas and want to see them come to life.  Contact me if you’d like to help and I will put you on the work party list!