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Ballad of the Dolls.

Hand-sewn garments surface suppressed emotions in Kara Mia Fenoglietto’s “Ballad of the Dolls.” Using vintage decorative fabrics and handmade crafted objects she's spent years collecting, she creates pieces that hope to expose the emotions she imagines some of their creators suppressed. Her new body of work explores how women experienced the performance of gender roles. 


“You can see the hand-stitched threads that others have put their labor into,” Fenoglietto says. “Imagine them spending hours crocheting doilies by hand while their husbands were at work.” For Fenoglietto, art becomes a mechanism for empathy and reconsideration of patriarchy.

Work Descriptions, from left to right: 

Floral Pill, 2021. 

Mixed Media: Vintage cotton, lace and found objects.  

“This piece was constructed using vintage floral fabrics and materials that  may have been previously used to stereotype an identity. An ultra feminine  silhouette, the center of the top features a pleated 3-D textile from the  1950’s. When I discovered this vintage textile, I was impressed by the  original makers patience, pleating these cotton scraps of fabric endlessly  for hours. The original maker manipulated a simple piece of cotton and  transformed it into a beautiful origami piece. This is now re-purposed  as a new emblem when placed onto the chest of this garment. The skirt,  inspired by the shape of a traditional apron, has lace and bead-work from  an antique wedding dress. The lace and bead-work is reconstructed to pay  homage to the female body.”  

Red Pill, 2021.  

Mixed Media: Japanese silk, cotton & found objects. 

“This piece was made using vintage nightgowns from my grandmother  and found Japanese silk. The silk has been ripped in multiple places, its  original owner painstakingly hand stitched the tears shut to repair the  

fabric. The chest embellishment on this top my grandfather acquired  while in Malta serving in the Navy. My intention was to bring new life to  these sentimental objects that were otherwise discarded. The shape of the  skirt I wanted to convey a twisted narrative of emotional draping that  conveys sensitivity and a commentary to the suppressed.” 

Yellow Pill, 2021. 

Mixed Media: Hand-dyed cotton, lace, chiffon & found objects.  

This piece was constructed using lace, chiffon, and hand tie-dyed cotton.  A little more lighthearted than the others in the collection, it has a bright  candy-colored color palette. The colors are abstractly inspired by the  ways one may self-medicate and abuse coping mechanisms. The doilies  have been in my family for decades. I was thinking about the role women  have played in the past, not given much responsibility except spending  hours crocheting these pieces at home while their husbands are at work.  I daydreamed about women creating pieces whose function are strictly  decorative and to protect meaningless surfaces in the home. I wanted to  re-purpose these objects into garment form and as a commentary to the  ways we may overcompensate as result for an identity being diminished.”

July 1 - 31, 2021


312 S. Washington Street
Seattle WA 98104

Shift is in the Tashiro Kaplan Arts Complex located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Washington in the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle.

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