Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paper Runway

The Atlanta airport is reportedly the busiest airports in the world. Those who live here- or have had to connect through the ATL- have likely all had their share of frustrations. However, this one thing I think the airport really has going for it- its art program. The program "develops and integrates art, exhibits and performances into the fabric of the Airport environment for the benefit of passengers and employees."

One of the latest exhibits ranks near the top of the coolest exhibits I've ever seen.
Unfortunately, its location in the T terminal means you very well may miss it.

"The Paper Runway is a juried exhibition of dynamic paper clothing. Featuring everything from handcrafted evening gowns to jewelry made out of magazine pages, each garment-inspired artwork is created from different types of paper. Materials range from recycled cotton rags to coffee filters to various handmade papers from fibers like abaca (banana leaf) and kozo (mulberry bark)." (source: Exhibit Brochure) While not necessarily practical, these paper dresses are fantastic works of arts.

We all know my opportunities with photography, but here are my pictures of the exhibit for you to enjoy. These first, you probably can't read, but I'm in the hopes that you see some of the work involved in making (weaving) paper.

One of the dresses in Betsy Dollar's series, The Little Black Dress

I could imagine wearing this with ivory trousers, hip shoes, and a top underneath.

Jacket Pilosic, Erica Spitzer Rasmussen

These next two remind me of my Grandmother, who once revealed she had a paper dress. I was shocked when I heard that, as it seemed so not conservative. Paper dresses were a quick hit in the 1960s as disposable party wear. The flamability factor, however, caused them to fall out of favor.

I love the pattern!

Jennifer Davies' updated version of the paper dress.

I adore the Kozo Fiber Shoes by Jill Powers.

Robert Ryan's Every Beat of My Heart dress reminds me almost of a Betsey Johnson number.

Julie McLaughlin and Mary Snyder Behrens' work:

You can see the detail and texture here... amazing.

I love the color and details of this dress, Celebrando Rosh Hashana by Mariana Kaplun. And seasonably appropriate!

This "Fairy Tail" by Susan Cutts is just so stylish! And features all handmade paper.

Gentlemen- there is a piece here for you- A Refined Suit by Rebecca Siemering, which features used lottery tickets, dental floss, and cloth.

The glamour gown- Michele Bayer's Thumbprint Dress. I love the structure of this dress.

The work was organized by the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum of Georgia Tech. Even with my love of paper, I had no idea Atlanta had this fantastic resource. A quick bit about the museum- its collections feature watermarks, papers, tools, machines related to papermaking, and manuscripts. The site also features an impressive array of books about all things paper- crafts, lighting, paper making, typography, etc.

Instead of having a dress form as an accent piece in my room, I'd love to have one of those dresses! If you're in the airport, please stop by to see this exhibit. As mentioned, it is in the T terminal, on the way out to baggage claims (just ask one of the security workers or shop folks and they'll direct you!)



  1. Awesome! One of the recent Project Runway challenges was to design something out of paper. I had no idea it was a big thing in the 1960s, though. Great shots.

  2. I didn't know they had are out there. I usually check the "big round lobby" when I do out there.

    I don't understand why decorators don't use dresses as "art." They do it in clothing stores. I mean there are plenty of paintings of dresses. Why not dresses themselves? Paris on Ponce does it from time to time on elevated manikins.

  3. I just missed this exhibit! Darn! Maybe it will be there in November when I fly back through ATL.

  4. As a former 'road warrior', I've spent more time than I care to remember in ATL, but you're right - their art projects are wonderful. It really cheers you up when you're dead tired and surrounded by other grumpy, tired people to see something beautiful and unexpected. Thanks for a great story!

  5. What a fantastic exhibition....each and everyone is beautiful....many thanks for showing it. I can remember having som paper knickers in the '60's...enough said !!!!
    I have been to Atlanta when my husband had to go there on business. It was when my children were younger (they are all grown up now) and I took them to the Coca Cola museum and the CNN tour. We had a great time and had a great holiday in that area. XXXX

  6. Thanks for writing about the show! I wish I had a trip to go through the airport and see all of the great works in person my "Refined Suit" is exhibited with.


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