Explore The Secret Garden In Your Heart

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

🌟 Check out the making process of the Garden Floral Dress 👗🌸

girl in a garden surreal fashion digital art
“Garden Explore”
Fashion design & Digital art: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

*All outdoor photos taken with no one else around. Keep safe social distancing.

No.9_Esthers Waltz by Esther Abrami

The Garden Explorer

I remember when I was a kid, every day I woke up with excitement and anticipation. The outside world always seemed colorful and magical. A park, a playground, a plot, a back yard, even a sidewalk can make me stop and wonder for a while, and of course, there is the wonderful light from the sun, mystical clouds, aromatic herbs, the pleasant sound of birds……I was always interested in and inspired by the simple things around me. I could make many places my secret garden, a hidden alter for me to paint and write all the untold stories.

girl and cat in a garden surreal digital art
“Secret Garden”
Fashion design & Digital art: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

Find Inner Peace & Joy

As I’ve got older, for a long time,  I felt I lost the ability to sense and explore the charms around me, because life got too busy and complicated. I either did not have time or I did not have the energy to cherish the lovely little things around me, instead, I was stressed with other things, the same stuff all adults stressed with, I felt just stuck in repeated circles…….Till one day I realized it is actually pretty simple to get myself grounded again.

girl wears pink floral dress straw hat
“Garden Party”
Fashion design & Digital art: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

I have noticed that when I choose to listen to my heart and allow myself to enjoy the things around me, allow myself to be simple again, I automatically let go of unnecessary anxieties that distract me. The same simple things inspire me and present new ideas if I allow myself to be open. The desire to explore and create, which not only brings me joy but also brings me inner peace. The secret garden is always there.

The Secret Garden

brooklyn botanic garden
Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden
Image by USA-Resisebologer from Pixabay

Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded in 1910, a beautiful estate located in between prospect park and Brooklyn Museum. The combination of exotic plants and the unique ‘Garden within the Gardens” design highlights the whimsical charm of this place. I visit this Botanical Garden every year, every season. Every visit brings me something new and refreshing, the smell of flowers & trees, the sound of birds and bees, the cross-cultural architectures …… maybe they are exactly the same plants, the same buildings, but there is always something different when you let yourself to explore.

pink roses in a garden
Garden Roses
Photo by Joel Halbert

The truth is, no matter where you are, no matter how many times you pass through the same things and situations, you are not trapped. It is up to you to discover the beauty around you and you can build your own secret garden.

Wonder Journey In Dumbo, New York……Bring Magic Into Reality

wonder girl baby doll dress
“Lost In The Wonderland–Night Play”

The Max Family Garden, Dumbo, New York. 2020

Fashion& Digital Design: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

The joy of wondering

Summer is short this year in New York, it is probably short in other places in the world as well. The virus “Covid” is like a hidden lock, closing the usual activities and entertainment. Without beaches, vacations, and parties, summer seems never really begins, the fall is already here. But it’s ok, I am not all that disappointed, I started my journey of wonder, I simply find there is no time for feeling down.

One thing I do a lot during the pandemic is free my imagination to wonder. It might sound a bit easy and lazy, but when you put your ideas into action, you will push yourself to learn and create. The process of wondering and creating generates magical and positive energy.

(*Note: All outdoor photos taken with no one else around . Safe social distancing, safe photoshoot.)

girl and bird surreal art
“Lost In Wonderland–Dawn Play” The Max Family Garden, Dumbo, New York. 2020

Fashion& Digital Design: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war with reality.”

Alice started her adventure with curiosity, wondered through the rabbit hole, she explored the most bizarre and exciting world. I often wake up with odd and funny dreams, which add lots of colors in my night world. While the day-time is filled with routine, I would think about how to turn magic into reality, it turns out there are many ways. One way is to be open to your wondering imagination, get inspiration, then take action. Before the pandemic, I knew nothing about pattern making (Patternmaking for Fashion Design)or sewing, now I can not stop creating my own clothing designs and transferring them into digital art. It is a learning process, I explore, I make mistakes and I enjoy it very much.

The baby doll dress for the curious kids

alice in wonderland inspired dress
“Lost In The Wonderland–Day play”
The Max Family Garden, Dumbo, New York. 2020

Fashion& Digital Design: Terrisa Chen
Photography: Joel Halbert

This cotton baby doll dress is a wonderful piece for me. I found the cotton fabric online and they are actually meant for kids’ wear. However, I immediately had the look of the baby doll dress in my mind when I sew the fabrics, it is a perfect type of dress for the forever kid in my heart.

Materials For creating this baby doll dress

  • The baby doll dress pattern
  • Light cotton Fabrics. eg: cotton lawn, cotton poplin
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing needles and threads
  • Pins
  • Tailor’s chalk
  • Fabric scissors
  • Steam Iron

Sketch, Cut and Sew

DIY baby doll dress sewing pattern
DIY baby doll dress sewing pattern

The Wonderland

This stop of the wonder journey is The Max Family Garden, located in Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY.  This open-air garden shares a wall with St. Ann’s Warehouse, a performing-arts venue.  The original brick walls and the scenic archways represent an industrial and rustic aesthetic, they also provide access for community members and visitors to come together for exploration and inspiration. I have visited Dumbo many times before, this garden corner always fascinated me. The Max Family garden, any garden in-fact is a wonderland if you want it to be.