Hartsfield-Jackson makes fashion statement in paper

By Maria Jose Subiria


A red skirt, embroidered with intricate designs reminiscent of ancient China, is displayed behind glass on an airport concourse. Not far away is an array of necklaces, earrings, pant suits, blouses, hats, scarfs and shoes.

These fashion pieces are some of the more than 60 paper-made garments on display in an exhibit called The Paper Runway, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

"It's very interesting, and who would've thought you could make clothing out of paper," said Eme Anderson, an Atlanta native who was greeted recently by the exhibit on her arrival from Baltimore, Md.

Fifty artists and fashion designers from different parts of the globe participated in the exhibit, which is housed on Concourse T. The exhibition opened Jan. 29, and will last for a year.

"We believe that overall, the exhibit gives our airport guests a unique experience," said DeAllous Smith, a media relations officer for Hartsfield-Jackson. "The art program at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport chose to show Paper Runway because we found the work engaging on several artistic and aesthetic levels. We found the concept compelling and fun."

The Paper Runway is a juried exhibition from the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum at Georgia Tech.

"This is the first time we've done this art exhibit," said Cindy Bowden, director of the paper museum. "We started over three years ago, and at the time we had over 98 entries."

The 98 artists submitted proposals noting specific items they would use for their piece, a drawing of their proposed creation, and photographs of some of their other work.

"The hardest part of this whole process was being able to go through all the excellent entries, and narrowing it down to the pieces that represent the art of paper," said Bowden.

According to Smith, Katherine Marbury and David Vogt, art program managers for Hartsfield-Jackson, were two of the seven judges who selected artists for the exhibit.

Bowden said other jurors were professors, paper makers and fashion industry professionals.

"It took six hours for the jurors to choose the finalists," said Bowden.

The works of area artists Marcia Watt of Stone Mountain, and Mona Waterhouse of Atlanta, are among the creations on view at the airport.

Watt's works of art are colorful jewelry pieces, which include water-resistant necklaces and earrings.

"I chose jewelry, because I like working with lots of different colors, and I like to do really precise things," said Watt.

Watt uses paper from such things as magazines and catalogs to create her works. For example, she cut paper to a desired size, and then rolled it up with glue into a paper spiral bead. To seal the bead, she smothered it with acrylic paint. She used glass, metal and wooden beads for variety.

"I have about 11 pieces, but my major piece is a three-strand necklace, which took me about a day or two to complete," said Watt. "It's mostly blue with some purple in it."

Waterhouse, who was born in Sweden, has been making paper by hand for 30 years. For The Paper Runway, she made a fabric skirt decorated with paper flowers.

"In all of my other pieces, I am questioning fashion for women, because for so many years women had to wear uncomfortable clothing like corsets," said Waterhouse.

Another of Waterhouse's exhibit pieces, titled "Bound," is a red skirt with a Chinese theme. The piece contains abaca, a leaf from the banana tree, and paper made from cotton. It also includes stone, ink and embroidery thread.

According to museum director Bowden, the museum will take the exhibit on the road when its time at Hartsfield-Jackson is up.

"After Hartsfield-Jackson, we're taking the exhibition to Santiago, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Canada and different places around the U.S.," she said.