wearable sculpture + unique fashion


A Colorful Wedding Gown, Really?

Western society considers the norm for a wedding gown to be a white ballgown, and anything else is considered unusual or daring. However, things haven’t always been so strict. In fact, most brides just married in a very nice dress- one that could be used again and would be part of her daily life. From a Reader’s Digest discussion of the white gown phenomenon, we learn that “In early Celtic cultures, red was the bridal colour of choice, worn to invoke fertility; early Christians preferred blue, which was symbolic of truth and purity and used in depictions of the Virgin Mary, either for the whole dress or as a band around the hem. Right up until the late 19th century, most ordinary women were married in their ‘Sunday best’, which, adapted if necessary, could be worn again. Grey was much favoured as both modest and useful, and brown was not uncommon; white was usually just too impractical.”


In 1840, British Queen Victoria wore a white gown to her wedding, which started the white craze with well-off women all over the world. White was a clear indicator of wealth, as lower-class women could not afford to have an article of clothing that would so easily become soiled. Later, the consumerist tradition of purchasing a lavishly expensive gown to wear only once emerged.

As Western society moves back into an environmentally-conscious, reuse-minded lifestyle, choosing a wedding dress with color- or better yet, a dress that can be used for other fancy occasions- will hopefully re-enter our expectation of a bride’s pre-marriage journey. As the wedding industry moves toward this end, we as a society can only help by avoiding the stigma of the white wedding dress and changing our views about colorful gowns. Our dollars speak!

My gowns have been upcycled and are colorful! Check them out at my etsy store.



Communication and Timeliness: or When to Call it Quits with a Partnership

Today, Morgan Culture had to separate from a sometimes-business-partner.

Last night, I turned down friends who wanted to go out. I went to bed around 11 because I had to get up early this morning. I got up, tore down my EZ-up tent that is my studio outside, removed all my studio lights, packed up my merchandise, skipped breakfast, and headed to Relay for Life in Ontario, CA: 50 miles and over an hour from home. I was sharing a booth with another vendor, letting her borrow my tent and table, and hopefully selling items in two locations simultaneously today (Crafted and Relay for Life).

I arrived at 8:30AM, the appointed time, and drove around looking for her car. When I didn’t see it after 10 minutes, I called her. She said she was two minutes away, so I reserved a parking spot for her and unloaded my car. 25 minutes later, she was still nowhere to be found, so I started packing up. She then called and said she’d been in an accident but was here. I explained that a simple text or quick call to that effect would have allowed me to get breakfast or do something else in the down time, instead of waiting around for 30 minutes. Then I continued packing up and left.

Morgan Culture is an ANGRY crafter

The thing is, this isn’t the first time this has happened. This vendor was removed from my store at Crafted when she skipped a day she was supposed to work in the store, didn’t communicate it to me so I could find her a sub, and didn’t even let me know afterward. I actually found out from the Crafted office when I was charged an additional $50 on my rent for being closed that day. To go back even further, when she was installing her handmade work at Crafted, I arrived early and stayed late for her, but she was consistently not on time. She also refused display and merchandising suggestions from other vendors, and left a somewhat negative impression with further vendors.

For me, communication and timeliness are key for a partnership. I can’t trust my business or my hand-painted merchandise with someone who isn’t dependable in regard to communicating problems, setbacks, and details. So I can’t work with this person anymore.

I’m struggling to find the lesson here. Could I somehow have known this person wasn’t dependable from the start? Should I not have tried to take this opportunity to work together after breaking the ties at Crafted? Part of me wants to chalk this experience up to “LA time”, a phenomenon that involves almost everyone being significantly late almost all of the time, but the bottom line is that “LA time” just doesn’t work for me or my company.

When we hosted an international student, I remember mentioning to him that he was always early waiting for a ride somewhere or coming home if we had an activity planned. I admired him when he told me, “At home [in Spain], my parents taught me that if dinner is at 5, I must be there at 5. Not 5:05, and not 5:01. If dinner is at 5, I’m there at 4:45.” I’ve also heard people say this about the modeling and acting industries; if an audition is at 3, showing up at 2:45 is on time and showing up at 3 makes one late. However, most of the models and performers I have used also show up significantly late (we’re talking hours). I don’t know what to make of this.

I’ve decided to make a stand and hold my art and fashion business to a higher standard of timeliness and communication; these are the ingredients to make customer service excellent. Therefore, all the people I work with and who will be selling Morgan Culture and LAYGS items need to represent my values.

I don’t like how it feels to end this working relationship, but I do like being able to say that anywhere you see LAYGS sold will be a place you know you can find a trustworthy person. I’d say that’s brand identity!

No, you couldn’t totally make that: Modern and Contemporary Art for the Layperson

Many people find out I’m an artist and immediately request a guided tour of a museum. They assume that since I’ve gone to art school, I can explain almost everything inside an art museum. While it may be true that my art history and art theory classes have prepared me well to talk about most genres of art and many specific pieces on display at these establishments, part of what I often hear includes, “I just don’t get [modern/contemporary] art. Some of that stuff I could totally do; what’s the big deal about it?”

Let’s start with a quick distinction: Modern art is NOT the same thing as contemporary art (crazy/stupid, I know). Modern art is actually already over; the term refers to a specific period in art that lasted roughly from the end of Impressionism until somewhere in the 1970s. Definitions of Contemporary art differ, but many people consider art from the 1970s to today as Contemporary (and, confusingly, Postmodern art is often included in definitions of Contemporary art). Therefore, when you speak of art being made now, you’re speaking of Contemporary art, not Modern art. In most other disciplines (medicine, technology), Modern means current, but not so much in art.

That being distinguished, people often complain to me about both modern and contemporary work that “anyone could do it”. Sorry, but that’s not true.

Let’s talk about a specific piece; one that’s often difficult to appreciate. It’s a black square. On a white canvas. That’s it.

Is it art? Morgan Culture on Contemporary art

Is it art? Morgan Culture on Contemporary art

But how is that ART? How is that hung in important art museums? Couldn’t I have done it?




Here’s the deal. This painter, Kazimir Malevich, was educated in the formal art tradition of the time. He went to a fancy art school that taught him about the past masters; he’d grown up in a Catholic family that valued these church-funded, usually religiously-themed works. The works were full of people and scenes- they tried to recreate the world of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface. These traditional works were still the dominant themes of the time, though Cubism had started developing simultaneously with Kazimir’s work. And, if we really think about it, most art laypersons feel that “good” art is still that which can accurately depict a piece of reality.


Kazimir thought differently. He thought the thinking of trying to put three dimensions into two was a wasted effort. He felt that true raw emotion was the real purpose of art, and that all the people, religious iconography, and landscapes he saw only distracted from pure emotion. He deduced that only pure forms and shapes could generate pure emotion. He wanted art to separate not only from religious institutions, but also from representation and object altogether. So, he started painting simple geometric forms, mostly squares and circles.


This guy, Kazimir Malevich, painter of a black square on a white background, created an entirely new way of thinking about art and representation. He made these pieces in a time and place where nothing like them or even remotely along the same lines had ever been done before. Nobody had ever painted just a black square before, and definitely nobody had written a manifesto discussing these types of sentiments before. He singlehandedly and by himself started an entire art MOVEMENT: Suprematism, which is recognized and discussed as significant in 20th century art history classes worldwide.


So back to the question: couldn’t anybody do that? No.

Could you do that? Not with a black square… but just maybe, with something else, you could.


Oh, and for the record- It wasn’t a cop-out; Kazimir could render the heck out of naturalistic work like portraits too.

Kazimir Malevich, Female Worker in Red, 1933

Kazimir Malevich, Female Worker in Red, 1933



LAYGS by Morgan Culture: New Line of Leggings !

About a month ago, I bounded into LAX off a flight from Nashville, TN with a completely new drive and inspiration. With the creative encouragement of David, owner and creator of Simply Spray fabric paint, I’d determined the course for my newest fashion line.

LAYGS by Morgan Culture is a line of hand-painted leggings. They’re all one-of-a-kind, though I do have color options. Leggings are awesome because they are so versatile- worn with a little black dress and heels for a date night out; with boots, a skirt, and thick sweater for fall; or with a daring bikini top and platforms for a clubbing adventure.
I haven’t seen any other hand-painted leggings and I’m greatly anticipating having these out there. I’m lucky to have the support of my friends at Simply Spray (I’m using their paint exclusively for these), and the friends at Inked and Sexy (hot girls + tattoos + leggings… what else can people want?) to help me along this journey, as I’ve never done a product so consumable before.


I’ve already filled several custom orders, have a ton of traffic, and can’t wait to keep it rolling. The 7 looks are up now at www.MyLaygs.com – which is your favorite so far? Other colors you’d like to see?


The current tagline for LAYGS is “Leggings. But cooler.”

This is SUCH a cool line- I love seeing the final output from other designers go as far as the full packaging! Gave me lots to think about in regard to the new Morgan Culture line!

How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost?

This is, of course, not news to brides who buy Morgan Culture gowns- all of which are way cheaper than the average gown, and all of which are recycled and good for the environment. Oh, and can be easily worn more than just once.


But good news- those of us who are thrifty and actually want to spend our money on the honeymoon- oh, and rent- are not alone!


This article details the actual costs of weddings, and I’m proud to say all my gowns are in the very lowest end of the price bracket for dresses (which crazily goes up to $5000). Especially those that are on sale!


How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost?.

Hosting the International


Last year, one of my personal AND professional goals was to have more contacts and friends outside the USA. An incredibly quick and easy means of achieving this goal was presented to me through CouchSurfing.org. Through CouchSurfing, we’ve now hosted people in our homes from over 10 different countries, whether their time with us be a few hours or a week. We also extended our time in New Zealand (where we’d traveled for the World of Wearable Art show I was a designer in) and stayed with CouchSurfing hosts there.

This month, we’ve expanded our international hosting capacity to include being a “host family” for a high school student from Spain for three weeks. The program he’s studying with is called Yep! Youth Educational Programs

One of the things I love about having international travelers stay with us is their outside perspective on the US art and craft market. I enjoy hearing opinions on my work, particularly from those who are not involved in any art industry anywhere, because sometimes I forget that most of the people I know are involved with art somehow. Hosting other people reminds me that my work in the art world is still part of the OTHER WORLD- you know, the world. Critical opinion of my work is always helpful for me, but I often put my work (including my sculpture) in more publically-accessed locations (such as fashion shows- remember the Sugar Goes Steampunk Fashion Show?) and I need to remember that non-critics have opinions as well!

Alberte is with us until July 15!