I think I have found an actual model to fit into Sage’s paper mache tutu. Well, the girl I found is actually 6′ tall and Sage (a mannequin) is 5′ 11″, but what’s an inch, right? The girl I found is named Martha and she has long, blonde hair, a bubbly smile, and braces on her teeth. I spotted her in the shop as she was going through the checkout with her mother and asked if she would be willing to attempt at getting into a paper dress. She said ‘yes,’ and it was mother approved. I never ask any girl under the age of 18 to model unless a parent or guardian is with her. Sometimes when I start thinking about this huge project I am undertaking, a slight wave of panic starts to set in. And other times another part of me thinks that what I am doing is crazy. But I am not the first person in the world to make a series of paper dresses and so therefore I know my idea does, in fact, have some logic. And with every hurdle I come to face, everything just seems to fall into place. That tells me that all of this was meant to be so I just keep on rolling!
It’s easy to zone out and go into a creative trance when working through the tedious process of making a project come together. To form something larger from a pile of tiny pieces may seem like days,(or even weeks) of time spent down the poop shoot yet in the long run it’s always worth it. In this case I am referring to using the Mayan weaving technique to form another dress bodice. It’s obviously being made out of paper and I’m meticulously snipping apart a Garden Birds Of America book. I’ve had to first put a coat of PPA matte finish onto the paper so it wouldn’t crack when bent, and after the link of paper is connected each folded edge has gotten 3 coats of metallic gold acrylic paint. I needed to reinforce the pressure points for when I weave the rings together. But I’m not out of the woods yet,…I don’t want the crochet thread to rip through. I’m still stressing over that but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. I’m making each ring with 90 links using a 2×41/2 piece of paper and I’m making sure that it will be large enough to slide over the models hips in order to reach her torso. So now that I’ve taken time out to type this blog it’s back to the grind stone for me! I just need to keep reminding myself that instant gratification doesn’t come with any art project, but watching everything come together and unfold is epic! Listening to a CD Keely put together for me, and James Blunt’s ‘Back To Bedlam’ has also been an enormous help. Bye for now!
I was still half asleep when I heard the sound go off in the middle of the night. At first I thought the noise was the 10:00 curfew siren. The second time it went off, I was awake enough to realize the sound was the siren of Rylan’s fire truck parked underneath my coffee table… and it was going off by itself! This continued on approximately 10 times during the night and kept me awake yet, I was too frightened to get up and look. So many things kept running through my head like:is it the ghost of a self centered, wild banshee boy coming to play in the middle of the night? Or is there an urban mouse running back and forth over the trucks ladder? I don’t know! That was a week ago and the siren has never gone off since. And so when things like this happen there’s only one thing a girl can do. Summons the great, almighty : Ask.com. But if a toy has a battery that is going belly up, then why has the truck never sounded off since? I need a little resolution on the matter if I don’t want to dwell on it anymore. Tomorrow I’ll be making a hair fascinator to accompany one of the paper dresses I’m working on and I really don’t want my mind to be preoccupied.
It’s funny how the days fly by so fast when I’m doing something I love. This day was spent working on the wallpaper/scrapbook paper bridge that connects the paper mache bodice to the tutu. Word to the wise…if you are ever Mod Podging or getting wallpaper wet for that matter, always sew your raw edges and seams first. This I already knew from past experience. Wallpaper and watercolor paper have a great deal in common. They buckle when wet. If wallpaper is sewn first it keeps everything aligned. So go ahead and do what you gotta do!
In order to understand the history of the paper dress, we need to answer the who, what, where and whys of how it all came about. Believe it or not, the fabrication of the paper dress was first launched in 1966 by Scott Paper Company (think toilet paper) and advertised in Seventeen magazine as an article of disposable apparel meant for only one use. The designers name was Julian Tomchin and Scott Paper Company sold half a million dresses within the first six months. As time went on, Scott received much criticism for it’s fashion craze, which in turn, caused the company to alter the idea into paper hospital gowns and disposable bibs. Many other companies jumped on the bandwagon from Faberge’ Cosmetics making dresses from discarded paper sheets, to Mars Company starting it’s own waste paper boutique. With time, after so many garments went up in flames, literally, during an era when smoking was considered glamorous, the paper dresses became obsolete once and for all by the early 1970’s. * A big thank-you to Ali Basye for her insightful book: The Long And Short Of It. The Madcap History Of The Skirt. So we ask ourselves, if the paper dress craze was abandoned in the 1970’s because it restricted women’s mobility and it’s life expectancy was fleeting, why do artists, still to this day, create those ever-loving dresses? Well, from my own personal observations, as far as I can tell, the majority of them are commissioned by various companies as a way of commemorating a milestone anniversary or other celebration. It’s an eye-catching way to advertise and looked at as a marketing tool. Nowadays, artists get much more creative with the styles using embellishments and contemporary techniques. Dresses with more flair are created leaving the earlier “boxy” dresses far behind. So this is my rendition of Rocking The Paper Dress created by me to celebrate the art in the history of fashion.
Today was the beginning of working on my next paper dress which forced me to get reacquainted with a few artistic techniques that I haven’t used in a long time. I am referring to paper mache. The dress that I am designing has a paper mache corset which I am hoping to lace up the back. The plan is to have it be foliage colors and possibly a plaster paper venetian mask. I have a vague visual in my head but until I’ve laid the foundation, the rest is tentative. The mannequin that I am working on is 5’11” tall and standing next to her makes me grateful that I am not that height. I only stand at 5’3″ish and have always wanted to be taller, but somewhere between the runway and needing to use a stepping stool from time to time, there’s got to be a happy medium. I named the mannequin Sage. She seems to take in stride everything I put her through from saran wrapping her torso to dripping paste down her leg. I like that about her. If she were a real life One World Girl, I know she would be just like Julie and Brianna, striking poses in the cold but pretending to be warm, they keep on smiling and carry on.