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Paper Dresses

Melanie's origami paper dress exchange

At the end of September, Paper Dresses opens at PRESS. It is a project that I initiated with a diverse group of women from North Adams, New Hampshire, Philadelphia, Hartford, Australia, other parts of the Berkshires and New York State. The assignment? To create a paper dress that explores the tension between freedom and confinement. Each artist is creating a print or a wearable paper dress that incorporates typography. We are also making origami paper dresses that we will be exchanging with each other as well as selling at the September opening.

Melanie's origami paper dress exchange

Melanie’s origami paper dress exchange

The design for me dress originally started out as my idea for my actual sized paper dress. Or a variation of it. But after many hours of pondering what I wanted to make–I envisioned the dress as a print–using layers of sandragraph, pressure prints, polymer plates and type to create this lovely little creation. I wanted the birds to be somewhat engulfed in the background to represent their need to get free and rise up into the unknown.

The text is a verse of Rumi’s, something I randomly opened to while browsing A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings during my friend Karen’s fabulous Vibrant Visionary Collage workshop (which–btw–she’s teaching a weekend version of it in December).

After setting the text in 8-point type I now know it by heart.

People just want you to be happy
Stop serving them your pain
If you could untie your wings (of jealousy, envy, lust, fear…etc.)
And free your soul
You and everyone around you would fly up like doves


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