Friday, October 18, 2013

Paper Runway

In 2006 I collaborated with papermaker Julie McLaughlin to produce two paper wearables to enter into the Robert C Williams Paper Museum exhibition titled Paper Runway.

The corsets were designed by Julie. They are welded rod armatures covered with pigmented paper pulp and tussah silk. The corset is designed exactly like a fabric garment. Pattern pieces are drafted and the wet sheets of paper are "cut" and fused together. They are then attached to the armature while wet and as the paper dries it shrinks to fit the armature snugly. When dry the surface is finished with a wax coating to protect and bring out the luster of the fibers.

My part in the project was designing and sewing the paper skirts.  These very thin sheets of paper were hand tinted with several light applications of pigment sprayed onto the surface. 

5 layers of these large sheets (about 60" x 80") were sandwiched together and plaited with copper metallic thread.

 I hand spun tussah silk and strips of this paper and plied it to make the cord that laced the sides of the corsets. 

This is the second dress we produced. The paper is the natural color of the fiber and is pin-tucked with gold metallic thread.

It was fun to revisit this project because I have been thinking about a bit of a delve into the manipulated surface once again but this time in fabric.


  1. Wow, the close up of the plaits is beautiful. Absolute fiber arts, you can hang just that section on a wall. Perfectly executed. Can't wait to see more.

  2. I agree -- Wow! Both dresses are fascinating! The pin tucks really set off the skirts.

  3. Gorgeous details that make you think of all the possibilities that can make ordinary materials not so ordinary.

  4. The pin tucking is sheer artistry!