George Stoll has agreed to construct his version of the 'bride's' garter.
Untitled (christmas lights, white on grey), 2004 / Untitled (Bowl with breast), 2008, Plaster, cheesecloth, spackle, encaustic, alkyd, Elmer's glue, B72 sealer, 12 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches, Images courtesy of Kim Light/LightBox
Progress - July:
Bec, Ruben, Tif and I met George at his home away from home, a French cafe where they serve coffees as big as your head. When we met with the former couple he'd gone in another direction in thoughts for the piece due to their preference not to have anything performative or worn on the leg. Bec actually suggested we use the bar as a platform for the enactment of the garter being thrown after being taken from her leg, so that everyone would be able to see it clearly. Both of them encouraged George to go in any direction that made sense for him/inspired him, and were open to celebrate the baudy history of the object. He will make two pieces - one to be thrown to the single men (lucky dude who catches it), and one for the couple to keep. The history of the the garter is the most sexual wedding ritual dating back to the 1500s, where the wedding party would take or attack her to rip off parts of the brides clothing off as the couple retired to the bedroom - a symbol for the loss of her virginity. It evolved, or devolved depending on your point of view, over the ages to the watered down version of today, though still quite sexual in that the groom takes it from the brides thigh in front of the wedding party.
To remind you, Here are a few slightly varying tellings of the ritual's origin:
I will quote Wikipedia - since it is succinct with the definition:
A garter is often worn by newlywed brides. It is the groom's privilege to remove the garter and toss it to the male guests. The symbolism to deflowering is unambiguous. Historically, this tradition also relates to the belief that taking an article of the bride's clothing would bring good luck. As this often resulted in the destruction of the bride's dress, the tradition arose for the bride to toss articles of clothing to the guests, including the garter. Another superstition that has circulated is the male equivalent of the bride throwing her bouquet to the unmarried ladies, i.e., the unmarried male wedding guest who successfully caught the garter was believed to be the next man to be headed to the altar from the group of single men at that wedding.
and from thegartergirl.com:
The wedding garter is said to be one of the oldest wedding traditions, dating back to the Dark Ages. After the wedding festivities, guests would accompany the bride and groom up to their bedroom to ensure that they arrived safely and to wish them well. It was considered good luck for a guest to take home a little piece of the brides clothing.
Over time, this ritual evolved into a wild wedding night romp where guests would tackle the bride, ripping her clothes off hoping for a piece of her attire. (It is also said that wedding guests did this to “help” the new couple along.) In the melee, the garter, which at that time was used to hold up a woman’s stockings, would get tossed and it was considered good luck for whoever caught it. Whoever caught the garter was the next to be married.
One more from Wynn Austin Fine Weddings and Events:
The garter toss is one of the oldest customs surviving wedding rituals. The garter toss became common at weddings in the 1500s in France. Originally, it was related to the concept of consummation of the marriage. The bridal party would approach the bride and groom’s bedroom for proof that the deed was accomplished. They would then take an item of the bride’s clothing for good luck. This was often the garter used to hold up the bride’s stockings. The groomsman who retrieved the garter would then wear it in his hat for the remainder of the wedding celebration.
During the nineteenth century, as brides and grooms became uncomfortable with visitors in their chambers, the tradition evolved to that of the bride tossing her garter to the groomsmen before the end of the reception. However, the men would often become violent competing for the garter and would sometimes tear at the bride’s dress or even flip her upside down to take the garter off before she had a chance. Finally, the ritual changed to include the groom gaining full rights to the garter removal. This protected the bride from potential injury and put the onus on the groom to declare consummation of the marriage.
Stoll is known for his fragile, meticulous re-creations of some of the most taken-for-granted yet essential supplies of everyday life, reverent "portraits" of disposable household objects. In the past he has replicated rolls of floral printed toilet paper in hand-painted silk, recast Tupperware cups in beeswax and created sponges of balsa wood. For the past ten years his focus has been on reinterpreting the ephemera of the holidays including the making of strands of pearls with plaster and nail polish for Mother's day and painting plaster eggs in Easter colors and hiding them in Galleries. Participating in creating the trappings of a wedding ceremony is a natural extension of his work.
George Stoll is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. He is represented in Los Angeles by Kim Light Gallery.