02 July 2012
Paper dress a work of pulp fiction
RMIT University textile design teacher Douglas McManus has won the inaugural Burnie Wearable Paper Art Competition, Paper on Skin, for an intricate dress made of rice paper and foil.
Mr McManus won the $2,500 Betta Milk Open award for designing and creating a wearable garment made of 80 per cent paper, beating entrants from across Australia with his creation, titled Botanica Synthetique.
Inspired by the work of German artist Karl Blossfeldt and fashion designer Alexander McQueen, the garment is a combination of laser-cut and engraved fine Unryiushi rice paper coupled with screen-printed and laser-cut foil.
"The idea for these pieces evolved from my research for a collaborative industry project with the Yakka Company, using laser technology to cut 17 denier nylon fabric for the Australian Defence Force," Mr McManus said.
"The principle of engraving onto such a fine, thin surface led me to further explore thermo-manipulation of laser-engraved materials.
"Overcoming the challenges of making garments out of paper that can be worn on the body and perform like fabric took many months of research.
"The fact that the engraved paper garments drape and flow like woven material impressed all three judges at the event."
Keith Cowlishaw, Head of the School of Fashion and Textiles, said the win was a great reward for the talent and dedication Mr McManus had shown in the area of textile design and for his work exploring and redefining the design boundaries for digital printing.
"It's great to see Douglas rewarded for his innovative, sustainable and creative design solutions," Mr Cowlishaw said.
"The pieces are quite outstanding and are a fine example of creative practice in textile design.
"The School of Fashion and Textile's new digital print centre will further enhance our research capability in digital print and provide inspiration for the textile industry in Australia."
The Burnie Wearable Paper Art Competition is an initiative of the Burnie Arts Council, on the north-west coast of Tasmania.
A detail of the laser-cut and engraved garment.
Douglas McManus with his designs at the Burnie Wearable Paper Art Competition.
The award-winning dress, made of rice paper and foil.