Category Archives: Paper Dresses

This coming weekend is the start of Gallery Fifty Five’s winter exhibition. I’ll be there along with some of the other featured artists on Saturday 7th November from 11 – 1pm, so please pop in, if you’re in the area, would be lovely to see you! Their address is Gallery FiftyFive, High Street, Hartley Wintney, RG27 8NY

A selection of both my paper dresses and jelly pictures will be in the exhibition, which runs until the end of January 2016. However if you can’t make it, check out my website instead. I’ve spent the past week giving it a major overhaul and updating it with lots of images of my recent work.

Paper dresses and jelly pictures

Paper dresses and jelly pictures.

In other news I recently took part in Access Art’s Share a Bird project. AccessArt is a UK charity which aims to inspire and enable through the sharing of good practice. For the Share a Bird project, artists were invited to create a bird in any medium of their choice. These birds were then collated and sent out to primary schools across the UK to help inspire a new generation of artists. My freehand machine embroidered bird Colin has made his way to a primary school in Hove.

Access Art Share a Bird - Nervous Colin

Nervous Colin – a free hand machine embroidered drawing for Access Art’s Share a Bird project.

I also submitted work for a second year running to the A Letter in Mind exhibition, and am delighted to report that my envelope was snapped up at the private view, raising another £80 for the charity.

A Letter in Mind 2015

My envelope submitted as part of A Letter in Mind 2015.

And finally you can now follow me on Facebook and Instagram, if you want to be kept up to date with what I’m up to, on a slightly more regular basis!

Inspired by . . . Exhibition

Yay, just had an email from the Morley Gallery to say that the paper dress I made during my Fine Art rotation, right at the beginning of the course, has been selected for their exhibition Inspired by . . . Inspired by . . . is a national arts competition open to anyone in part time education, it was launched by and is normally held at the V&A, but this year it’s been entrusted to the Morley Gallery. You were asked to submit work inspired by pieces in the collections of the V&A and the V&A Museum of Childhood. So I chose to submit my paper dress, which I created after looking into the parallels between paper and fabric. It was inspired by an Organza Origami dress in the V&A collection, which was created by Lie Sang-Bong for his Spring/Summer 2009 collection.

Paper Dress

Paper Dress, 2013

Organza Origami Dress, Lie Sang-Bong, 2009

Organza Origami Dress, Lie Sang-Bong, 2009

Having managed to find a lovely local picture framer, who was prepared to frame it for me at very short notice, and over a bank holiday weekend too, am now looking forward to taking it up to London for the exhibition, and having a chance to look at everybody else’s work too. Not a bad way to celebrate finishing the end of my course, should be fun.

Fine Art Rotation : My Construction

As mentioned in my previous post, I have decided to experiment with paper. I started with trying to fold paper, in what paper sculptor Paul Jackson describes as, a glide reflection. The process was fiddly at first, but very satisfying when all of a sudden the paper starts collapsing in on itself, and folding as you want it to. I tried the same method, but with a patterned paper I had created. I was hoping the pattern on the paper would emphasise the depth of the paper folds. Only a partial success, and incredibly tricky to fold as this time I didn’t have accurate grid lines on the reverse to follow. The pattern just seemed busy, but perhaps if I had replicated the translating symmmetry of the folds more closely, it might have looked better.

Exhausting of intricate, time consuming paper folding, I decided to change tack slightly, and to pursue the notion of paper as a type of fabric. Smocking looks a bit like the equivalent of origami in the fabric world, and having never tried it before I thought I’d give it a go, but by using paper instead of fabric. I used a heavy weight paper to try and reduce the likliehood of the paper tearing. Results were ok, but slow and it was impossible to get the wool taut. Stapling was quicker, but not so aesthetically pleasing!

After further experimentation, this time with tearing and folding to recreate smocking, I eventually decided to return to the glide reflection folded paper I had created, and to think how I could incorporate it into my final design. I brainstormed various ideas including using the folds to represent the scales of some kind of reptile, or as an embellishment to a garment in some way.

The paper when folded has a lovely curve to it and I was very conscious that I wanted to work with that aspect in particular. I felt if the piece I had created, was a small addition to something much bigger, then it’s charm would be lost. To avoid this I toyed with the idea of recreating it on a much larger scale using fabric, but in the end I decided to stick with the small paper version. All along I had been trying to blur the boundary between fabric and paper, so I decided it made sense to turn the folded paper into something one would traditionally create out of fabric, like a garment of some kind.

In one of my earlier blog entries, I looked into the work of Francine Desbiens, renowned for expertise in paper cut-out animation. The association with paper again and the image I had used in my blog, inspired the idea to turn the folded paper into a dress. I thought the curve in the paper would lend itself well to the curve and folds of a full skirt.

I needed to create a delicate paper bodice, that i could attach to the skirt. An extremely kind young lady loaned me her Barbie doll and I used it as a guide in terms of working out the proportions.

Experimenting with paper dressmaking for Barbie

As above I did a quick trial with a scrap of tissue paper, the paper held it’s shape really well. So I went with a small piece of white tissue paper, and very carefully sewed side seams, to keep the folds in place. I also did a tiny bit of ruching to give the top of the bodice definition, and made straps from the thread I had used in the sewing.

I’m pleased with the final result, but I think given more time I would have liked to have tried different papers, and made the skirt and bodice from one continuous and wider piece, so that it would really emphasise the curvature and fullness of the skirt.

Finished paper dress

Fine Art Rotation : The Brief

I like working to a brief and having a deadline, unfortunately I don’t think thats what Fine Art is about, not for this week anyway. We are meant to use the word “Construct” as a starting point, experiment, take risks, expect to fail and see where it leads us and that’s about it. Not having a brief feels a little bit indulgent and frivolous.

As a kind of quick warm up exercise we were asked to create a 2D and 3D piece from specific materials lying around the studio. My 2D piece involved using offcuts of paper, acetate and art straws and weaving them together. For my 3D piece I tore strips of beige paper into petal like shapes, and fashioned art straws into the stamens of a flower.

3D Exercise

I like working with paper, there are so many different types and they all tear, fold and can be creased with varying results. So the quick warm up exercise confirmed that this was the medium I wanted to experiment with initially. Armed with a stack of books on paper craft, I started looking through for inspiration.

A page in Paul Jackson’s book  Folding Techniques for Designers caught my eye. It stated that the glide reflection was the most complex form of symmetry and the one which takes the most time to understand fully. Seeing as the whole premise of this exercise was to take risks, I thought this might be a good place to start.