Silk Skirt Ripped from the Lining of an Antique Wardrobe 


Dupioni silk – stiff, high sheen – has always been used for royalty and wedding dresses. This gorgeous silk lined my antique wardrobe until this weekend. When I bought it, the silk was ripped and hanging loose, threadbare, begging to be stripped.

I had just moved to Oxford and vowed to buy a wardrobe so I could have a hiding place and doorway to C.S. Lewis’ fantastical Narnia. Past those pink swags awaited another world. And the lovely faun on the other side.

My husband – self-portrait photographer Sean Quinn – removed the back of my wardrobe and used the inside as an extension of his studio, sitting inside of it and using the silk swags of pink as theater curtains that matched his repurposed Dupioni furniture lining/skirt. Here he is later in the photo shoot. Note the silk swag is a belt/ skirt here … it migrates around his body:


In our old art studio in the Cotswolds in 2014 Sean built tiny houses from reclaimed wood, parquetry floorboards we scavenged in Wales, and a tiny front door I bought for his birthday. He’s spent years building and demolishing real houses, so miniature ones in his photography studios are easy. I never guessed my wardrobe would become a wall in such a Lilliputian house with a bay window he could sit in – the back pried off and the shelf a perfect seat for daydreaming and posing.

Interestingly, we’ve always compared Sean to Nijinsky’s faun  – and there he was, disassembling the border between Narnia and Oxford and stepping through – his own rare species of faun at last, somewhere between Russian ballet and Narnia.

I love trying to identify elements from our daily lives in Sean’s (Swansblossom’s) photographs. He transforms mundane items & invests them with his unique ingenuity, beauty, and strangeness.


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