Leah K Woods
Gryphon #1Gryphon #1-detail of interior frameworkUntitled #1: Dress Form in BubingaUntitled #1: Dress Form in Bubinga-
Alternate ViewUntitled #2: Dress Form in AmarilloUntitled #2: Dress Form in Amarillo-
Detail of FrameUntitled #3: Dress Form in MahoganyUntitled #3: Dress Form in Mahogany-Detail of InteriorArt Meets Preservation

Installation view of Dress Forms at the Wentworth-Coolidge State Historical Mansion in Portsmouth NH

BreastplateUntitled #1: Neckpiece in Walnut and MahoganyUntitled #1: Neckpiece in Wood and Brass-Detail of InteriorSketchesSketches
Figurative Work

Recently my interest in function has shifted towards objects that offer an alternate purpose and engagement with the user, namely that which is expressed through clothing and the dress form. I remain interested in creating objects that engage with life experience. However, unlike tables, chairs, and cabinets, which offer a physical function of sitting, organizing, or storage, dress forms and mannequins allow exploration into the emotional and psychological function of clothing, body adornment, and beauty. While these forms are not intended to be functional in a traditional sense, they allude to the sensuality of the body and the beauty of material, contrasted with their hard and fixed shape. Using wood to make these garments allows them to be frozen moments in time. The way a model walks down a runway and stops in the ideal position showing the best view of an outfit, these wooden garments exist in their ideal position simultaneously warm, inviting, beautiful, and rigid.

With this recent development in my work, I am still interested in using the forms, material, and technique I have explored for over a decade. The approachability of furniture along with the warm and tactile quality of wood, are the characteristics I address and through which I connect to an audience. By retaining use of these elements the new work maintains a connection to functionality only now it plays a slightly different role. Whereas my furniture offered function as a physically engaging experience, the new work offers function as metaphor. Dress forms and mannequins recall the act of sewing. The lines, curves, and volumes created allude to stitching, cloth panels, and fabric. This new work addresses a historical time period by recounting the construction of handmade clothing. Whereas my furniture had been suggestive of sculpture in its form, this new work references furniture in its suggestion and reference to function.