In 2016, I was the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. The “artist initiative” part of the title means that you apply to the program with a project in mind that will help you, as an artist, take a step forward to accomplish a goal or milestone in your artistic development. My project had several components, including this installation, which represents six workshops I did at Hennepin History Museum, The Museum of Russian Art and the Bakken Museum.
At each workshop, the curators and I worked together to select a few “unexpected” pieces from the collection to inspire fabric designs: a geissler tube, a Prohibition-era slot machine, a pacemaker, forbidden art from the Cold War. Participants created a paper collage inspired by the museum piece, which we scanned and manipulated digitally to create a repeating pattern. Each participant received a swatch of the fabric that they designed.
I wanted to represent these workshops as part of the final exhibition of work that I presented at the end of the grant. So, after the workshops, I printed 6 inch squares of all of the designs created by students on to heavy wrapping paper. From each patterned square, I folded an origami dress. This installation included 144 paper dresses, each with a different surface design created by students in the workshops.