Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dressing Up, part 2

Once I started putting together my first post about using the dress as a format for art, I realized that there was far more amazing art in this category than I had first imagined, and that I couldn't possibly confine the subject to just one post. Maybe it's my inability to make decisions, but there were so many fantastic artists; how could I leave anyone out?  In reality, of course, I'm sure there are many who aren't represented here, as I can't know about them all- which is good, since I have to stop somewhere, right?

 Tea-bag Dress

 Map Dress

Jennifer Collier is an artist from the UK who makes art from paper, in the form of dresses and other clothing items. Her artist statement:
"My practice focuses on creating work from paper; by bonding, waxing, trapping and stitching I produce unusual paper ‘fabrics’, which are used to explore the ‘remaking’ of household objects. The papers are treated as if cloth, with the main technique employed being stitch; a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. The papers themselves serve as both the inspiration and the media for my work, with the narrative of the books and papers suggesting the forms. I tend to find items then investigate a way in which they can be reused and transformed; giving new life to things that would otherwise go unloved or be thrown away."

Letter Dress

By presenting the actual articles of clothing as fossils, Diane Savona puts them in a new context, creating works of great beauty that are imbued with meaning. 

Overgrown Fossil

Fossil Garment #4

Fossil Garment #6

I think She explains it best herself:

 Akslen was born in Alesund, Norway, and graduated in 2000 from the National College of Art and Design in Bergen, where she majored in textile arts.

"Through my work I seek to express something about social layers, power, and the abuse of power, and I have found it purposeful to use clothing or parts of clothing as my artistic material. Employing e.g. collars, pockets, and cuffs, men's white shirts have been central in many of my works. I have reassembled these fragments into other contexts in which they can effect new meaning", she explains. "In addition it has been of importance to me to treat these topics with some focus on gender."

White Dress

                     Grey Dress

I'm not able to see these close enough to figure out how they're made; if anyone knows, I'm really curious to find out.

 I'm particularly fascinated by the work of Leonie Oakes, whose work combines two of my favorite media- bookbinding and printmaking.  Dresses as books - makes perfect sense to me; in fact I think it's pure genius!

 She Liked to Dream

 She Softly Whispered...

 "Her practice includes a diverse range of bookbinding techniques from traditional binding to innovative and contemporary book techniques..."

 Life isn't about Finding Yourself...

"The central theme of her current work considers the notion that the book can be used visually as a vehicle to express the self and the female body. Oakes has considered the notion that traumatic experience can manifest internally and physically emerge like a hidden text unfolding. Leonie explains that she creates books as sculpture, as wearable objects, as props, as images and all as vehicles for the stories we all hold. The work reveals a fragmented and broken text, giving glimpses of the past rather than a full disclosure of the actual story."  (

from "Weaver of Dreams" series

 “La Chasse aux Papillons”, map of Cambridge

 “Le Voyage dans les Entrailles”, Voyage of Sir Francis Drake
Atlantic Ocean map, rep. 1585

“Pop Corn Edelweiss Pop”, Rivers and mountains of the world,
rep. 1849 with gold leaves

According to her website, "Sensitivity and vulnerability are the main subjects in the work of the artist Elisabeth Lecourt.... the feminine figure is seen like the spine of her house, like an essential component of this particular world. But the woman like structure to medular can be a contradiction, because although funge like the strong part that maintains the building, is also vulnerable and touching. The vulnerability of the human being, the fragility of the bodies exposed by Lecourt proposes a painful beauty as well, as much by the emotional thing of the topic like by its own necessity to understand our body and what there is within us."

Peter Clark is an English collage artist who makes paper garments that are quirky and fun. He uses "old stamps, maps, love letters, labels, buttons, sewing patterns, and more that he has collected, to create his somewhat three dimensional collages. He starts by drawing the outline in felt tip and then carefully selects from his paper and fabric stash for the right materials, as well as colors, to define tonal effects and other features in his art objects."(artist statement, Rebecca Hossack Gallery)

 Too, Too Wonderful

 Thousand Island Dressing

 Spot Coat

 P.S. I love you


  1. ohhhh, that teabag dress...

    sometimes i ponder why dresses say so much. i can't grok it at all...


    1. The teabag dress is pretty amazing, isn't it? I guess dresses have become a metaphor of femaleness? It's just one in a long list of things I don't grok... I love that you say "grok" though... I think you grok where I'm coming from, you know? <3 xxoo

  2. Replies
    1. That one is especially compelling- the combination of communication and clothing- makes sense somehow, doesn't it?

  3. I remember way back when, a friend of mine had a paper dress a simple one, she wore it to school,one day. must have been the seventies. I thought the whole concept was so cool.
    These are gorgeous and especially love Peter Clark's work.

    1. If you check out my first Dressing Up post (2 posts back), I included those paper dresses from the sixties. So cool- I wonder if you can still buy them somewhere? I just discovered Peter Clark and I LOVE his work.

  4. This is Haute Couture for sure.....very interesting ,,,
    Hope you are well....wishing you a sunny Sunday...

    1. Hi Cynnie; I'm glad you enjoyed it! as for a sunny Sunday... it's grey and snowing right now. I hope the weather's better where you are!

  5. I'm partial to Diane Savona's work...beautiful fragments with rich meaning! You have shared a fine and interesting collection here...thank you!

    1. Yes, her work is amazingly profound... not to mention incredibly beautiful. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  6. that tea bag dress is spectacular and the letter dress is pretty amazing too... fascinating post Sharmon, again, well done!

    1. Those are two of my favorites, too..There are so many fantastic artists who work in this format... I was surprised to discover that.

  7. Far more interesting than a fashion show. Great concepts and all beautifully fashioned and detailed. Very interesting and fun collection you put together here, Sharmon. I made a self-portrait dress for a group show and it was such a freeing experience--no one could say if it was right or wrong, good or bad because it was pure self-expression. You can see it here, if you're curious

    1. I agree, Lynne; real clothes could never be this cool. And speaking of cool, i love your textile dress! making a self portraits as a dress is a great idea! I'd like to see an entire exhibit of them... hmmmmm...

  8. An artist friend of mine makes fabulous dress related art. Her name is Judith Olson Gregory - check it out I know you will love her stuff!!
    I love the tea bag ones they are so ephemeral. My fave here is the cuffs and collars - stunning - if I were younger I'd wear one!

    1. Deb, thanks for introducing me to Judith's fabulous work; I absolutely love the tea shirt series in particular. If I'd known about her, I would have included her work in the post for sure.

  9. who new dresses had so many possibilities? I love the first group especially, the tea bag, the map and the letter. I love it when I am astounded by the scope of the human imagination and the creative process!

    thanks so much for finding and assembling this wonderful collection!

    1. I know, don't you just love the limitless creativity of people? I'm so glad you enjoyed the post!


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I'm happy to reply here, but may not always have time for individual emails.