Peggy Turchette – Creator of the Pavlova Project
Handweavers Guild of Boulder
December 2021 Day & Evening Program
The Pavlova Project – A Collection Exploring the Life and Art of Anna Pavlova
The Pavlova Project, in simplest terms, is a “Visual Biography.” It tells the life story of a real historical person, Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), who was not only the most famous ballerina of her day, but also a bold and pioneering woman with her own ballet company who travelled across the entire world. I tell this story through the costumes and fashions that she wore.
Included with Pavlova in my collection are her friends, teachers, dance partners, and other important people in her life. Through archival photographs and the written word, I have meticulously researched almost 100 costumes and fashions and have recreated them in one-quarter scale. They are presented on 16” vinyl manufactured dolls which serve as mannequins.
Every outfit I have recreated has a story of its own, and if the dressed mannequins are viewed in chronological order, they tell the story of Anna Pavlova from her childhood in Russia in the 1880’s, all the way to her final performance in London in 1930. I drew inspiration for my project from a famous collection of miniature fashions called Le Theatre de la Mode, which was created after World War II by the couture houses in Paris. This collection, displayed on wire mannequins, celebrated the survival of the fashion industry in Paris following four years of Nazi occupation. It toured the world in 1947, the year I was born.
Peggy Turchette: Artist’s Bio
I grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and attended the New England School of Art & Design, concentrating in Commercial Illustration. While still in school I began working as freelance illustrator, always supplementing my art income with dog walking. In 2003 I moved to Boulder, Colorado, where I continued freelancing and dog walking while attending the School of Botanical Art & Illustration at The Denver Botanic Gardens. In 2010 I reluctantly closed my illustration studio and turned to dog walking as my full-time job, while caring for elderly parents.
Meanwhile, I had become enchanted with the extraordinary story of ballerina Anna Pavlova, a story that right away I knew was one worthy of being shared with others. There was no one collection anywhere in the world dedicated to this ground-breaking woman. I realized that as a visual artist I had a unique opportunity to introduce Pavlova to contemporary audiences in a completely original way. This collection is what I came up with. It is my way of sharing Anna Pavlova’s story with you.
Anna Pavlova (1881-1931): Historical Notes
Anna Pavlova lived in a time of shifting societal values, of war and revolution, a global pandemic, economic inequalities, and political uncertainties: vast numbers of struggling or displaced persons were on the move. In short, it was a time with many similarities to our own. But in an era when most women were entirely dependent on men and rarely left their domestic environs, Pavlova made it her mission in life to introduce her art form to others. For the first half of her life she trained and then performed at the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. Then, for the following two decades, she and her troupe continuously crisscrossed the globe by steamer ship and locomotive, performing thousands of times in large cities and small villages.
She believed deeply in the power of dance to promote a less divisive, more harmonious world. Wholeheartedly embracing peoples of other cultures, her performances bridged ethnic, religious, and political divides. She connected to a wide variety of audiences in a way both universal and intensely personal. Anna Pavlova’s exceptional life, her unflinching dedication to her art, and, most of all, her generous spirit of inclusivity. still resonate with and delight us today.
- December 13, 2021 – Day Guild Meeting 10:00 am
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- December 14, 2021 – Evening Guild Meeting 7:00 pm
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- Handweavers Guild of Boulder monthly meetings are open to the public – non-members please email the appropriate contact link for Zoom access information.