"No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it and is sure of his method and composition."
-Claude Monet
This dress was inspired by the great French Impressionist painter Oscar-Calude Monet.
As a photographer, I can create an image quickly and the gratification is instant; while painters slowly watch there artwork transform with every stroke of their paintbrush. 
I am not saying one is more creative or artistic than the other, I am only saying the relationship with the artwork is different,  IMHO.
The point of making this dress and planning the shoot in such detail was to really build a relationship with my artwork.
I wanted to fall in love with the process, understand and control how I used artistic elements and really feel what it is to painstakingly bring an idea into existence.
First I made a dress form of my model using duct tape and Poly-fil. Next I sewed a very basic "dress" out of muslin. Finally I added over 6,000 coffee filters; dyed, dried, ironed, folded then assembled into flowers. 
I used color to create dimension, form and the illusion of separate pieces. The texture of the coffee filters were used to convey the short, thick strokes of paint Impressionist art is known for.
This was my first time transforming coffee filters into something wearable and the process has definitely inspired me to experiment further.    
"Art takes time- Monet grew his gardens 
before he painted them."

10 things I learned about using coffee filters as an art medium:
1. Coffee filters are tougher then you think! They hold up remarkably well in rain which happened off and on during the shoot. I was really surprised but then thought, "duh, they are made to be used with water."
2. Always make more than you think you will need. Like, way more. Its better to be done with the dying process when you start the folding and cutting, and better to be done with folding and cutting when you start layering and assembling. It sucks to get to the end and find out you need more of one color that you thought and have to drag everything back out to start dying again.
3. Mini brass brads are by far the best way that I found to secure multiple layers of coffee filters together.
4. You have to cut each layer of the "flower" a bit differently to achieve fullness and texture.
5. Hang drying the coffee filters results in the most rich, beautiful colors but they don't hold form as well as drying them other methods. 
6. Hang drying large amounts of coffee filters is insane.
To dry enough at the same time you have to create a very long "clothesline". I used yarn running throughout my house. 

The coffee filter "banner" was pretty and festive but lost its charm quickly as you are basically booby-trapping your entire house and snaring family members. 
More importantly it takes way too much time.
Another down side of hang drying coffee filters is that the dye doesn't "set" well. The color transfers easily to...well everything, especially kid fingers that go...well everywhere.
7. Drying the coffee filters in the dryer on low works pretty okay but it is very messy and not easy to clean, which has to be done every time you change colors or need to dry clothes. This is not realistic if you have kids. If you what to do it anyway have rubbing alcohol and magic erasers on hand. Also, this method tends to fade the filters more easily.
8. Setting your oven on low heat and baking the coffee filters to a damp dry then ironing them and stacking them in light layers is the best way I found to dry, organize and prepare the filters to be folded and cut.
9. Coffee is hands down the best tan/ beige color you can get. Better than any dye I tested and better than tea. You can easily very the color by leaving the coffee filters in the dye bath longer and/or adding more coffee. Plus your house smells like Starbucks and you have a constant supply of fresh coffee to help keep you motivated.
10. Hot glue is your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to attaching the "flowers" to the dress base. You will get along much better if you invest in silicon finger guards, you can find them next to the hot glue guns in your craft store. These also make it easier to separate the individual coffee filters. Get ones that fit your fingers, having them constantly falling off is frustrating and defeats their purpose.
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