Renee Chase

Renée Weiss Chase is a fashion designer whose medium is now clay. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Renée studied Fashion Design at Drexel University and, while still in college, she started her own design firm specializing in women's sportswear. During her early professional life, Renée ran her clothing company and worked as a stylist and fashion journalist for a variety of newspapers and other publications. She wrote two books on design: Design Without Limits and CAD for Fashion Design. Renée earned a Masters Degree in Science and Technical communication in 2000. The transition from cloth to clay came about serendipitously. Always wanting to try her hand at ceramics, Renée took a pottery class when, during a demonstration, she heard the word “dart”. At that moment the idea for creating dresses in clay was born. As Renée says: "The common terminology and my passion for materials inspires endless connections between my past as a fashion designer and teacher and my future as a ceramicist." Renée uses her background as a fashion designer to infuse her work with the proportion, movement and style of the fashion figure. Her voice as an artist speaks to the cultural impact of fashion on society with particular emphasis on response to the representation of the female body as a cultural “ideal”. She creates hand built pieces of thin slabs of clay and pushes the boundaries of stance and form as they relate to the medium. For Renée, "a dress is a symbol of time, place, culture and self. Choice in dress becomes a representation of image, emotion, experience and fantasy. It is a reflection to the outside world of a message that the wearer delivers through clothing choices. In my work, I ask the viewer to see the imaginary woman inside of the sculpture – to define her persona. I use the attitude and gesture of the form to portray a feeling that only the observer can define." Renée also creates replicas of wedding dresses, doing so because each sculpture captures an irreplaceable moment in time and reflects a capstone life experience. Memories of the Bridal Dress and the day it was worn live on the hearts and minds of women all over the world. As an ode to that special time and place, Renée creates replicas of bridal gowns so that a woman can have a real image of that dress on view whenever she likes.
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