The Making of Kiki's Willow Dress

"Kiki's Willow Dress" is a rigid, life-size, paper, dress-lamp. It was a huge experiment, as I have little experience with Abaca paper pulp and had no idea what to expect. The process was full of minor miracles and large learning opportunities (aka mistakes). Enjoy the process, shown.

Kiki's Willow Dress
  I started by taking the arms off of "Kiki" the mannequin and covering her in "Press n' Seal." I "sewed" on the aluminum screening with paddle wire to create the armature for the dress. I started applying the wet abaca paper pulp.

I started by taking the arms off of "Kiki" the mannequin and covering her in "Press n' Seal." I "sewed" on the aluminum screening with paddle wire to create the armature for the dress. I started applying the wet abaca paper pulp.

  10 hours later I finished applying the pulp. Notice how long the dress is, and that it is presently white.

10 hours later I finished applying the pulp. Notice how long the dress is, and that it is presently white.

  Here the mistakes are starting to show. The paddle wire is rusting through. It is shrinking and darkening. I could accept the organic shrinking, but knew I couldn't live with rusting. All ideas of painting this dress so as to be translucent had to be scrapped.

Here the mistakes are starting to show. The paddle wire is rusting through. It is shrinking and darkening. I could accept the organic shrinking, but knew I couldn't live with rusting. All ideas of painting this dress so as to be translucent had to be scrapped.

  5 days later the dress was dry. I cut it but wasn't sure whether I could get it off the screen without cracking or breaking it.

5 days later the dress was dry. I cut it but wasn't sure whether I could get it off the screen without cracking or breaking it.

  After some struggle, it came off in one piece and I could breath again. To cover the rust, holes and other blemishes, I used metal leaf on the outside and paint of true gold on the inside of the bodice.

After some struggle, it came off in one piece and I could breath again. To cover the rust, holes and other blemishes, I used metal leaf on the outside and paint of true gold on the inside of the bodice.