Feast Your Eyes on the Magic of Transformation

A simple dress form morphed into a display object of beauty. Well, it wasn’t exactly an immediate change.

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, dress form

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, dress form

The preparation process involved dyeing a tablecloth, beading napkins and thinking about a fresh way to showcase my jewelry for an upcoming studio tour.

With the help of a fellow artist (we definitely needed four hands) we painted the form and wrapped it with quilt batting, tacking it to the mannequin grid for stability.

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, mannequin with batting

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, mannequin with batting

We formed a princess top with our underpinning, reminiscent of a prom dress. Using liquid starch, we dipped the drips and applied them over the batting.

Once the form was covered, we tacked the embellished handkerchief hemline to the bottom.

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, base dress form

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, base dress form

Our fun continued as we cut strips of the tablecloth, dipped them in starch and scrunched them to drape over the base.

In a project such as this, the work evolves, rather than proceeds in a straight line to the goal. Early on, we spontaneously decided a belt would enhance “Shelley’s” appearance. We cut a long section of  tablecloth edging, beaded additional shells onto it, and tied it on.

It wasn’t the first time we improvised. Early on, for example, we decided to add additional embellishment to our fringe.

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Pat adds shells to bottom

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Pat adds shells to bottom

Re-draping our form for “just the right” look probably provided dozens of hilarious picture opportunities. Fortunately, no one captured those moments.

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Shelley, the transformed mannequin

©2013, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Shelley, the transformed mannequin

Hours later, we called it complete.

If you care to see “Shelley” plan to visit my studio during the Sandia Heights Art Studio Tour Saturday and Sunday, September 7-8.

Meanwhile, what do you think of Shelley, the transformed mannequin?