Makers, CVPA ambassadors create recycled dress

Makers and CVPA ambassadors
Jackie Burns (left), Iris Fuentes (center-left), Ivelianys Mena (center-right) and Lauren Slough (right) stand in front of their creation.

College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) student ambassadors and members of the Makers living-learning community collaborated to bring a unique dress to life, made from only natural or recycled materials.

The project was pitched shortly after the formation of the CVPA ambassador program, with the recycling nature well received by all students.

Jackie Burns, Iris Fuentes, Ivelianys Mena, Lauren Slough, Kendall Hale and Jordan Bennett took the dress from vision, to planning and finally to reality. Ross Robertson provided additional help with the dress.

The students entered the collaboration unsure of the direction in which they wanted to take the dress. Two of the students – Fuentes and Mena – brought experience with making a recycled dress to the group, which jump-started the creative process.

“They built a recycled dress before, so that helped start it. After that, we just kind of winged it. We just took it one step at a time,” Burns said. “It was nice to be able to be creative and change the dress as we went.”

Some of the materials used – such as tree bark – showed that the students “could make anything out of anything,” according to Fuentes.

“Literally anything” Slough added. “I never would’ve thought that a nice corset would’ve come out of tree bark.”

The tree bark was just part of the experience that was displayed at the pre-Earth Day Celebration at Radford University.

“President Hemphill was up talking to us and it was surreal,” Slough said. “I’m just a freshman – and the rest of the group are sophomores. You wouldn’t be able to do this anywhere else.”

Most of the construction of the dress occurred in Radford University’s MakerSpaces, areas that allow students and faculty to create, build or design while enhancing learning through practical hands-on experience.

“The MakerSpaces have all of the tools we needed,” Burns said. “It was a good opportunity for us to use a MakerSpace lab.”

The group utilized the diverse skillset of each of the members to create the dress in the MakerSpace labs.

Slough, who studies photography and graphic design, usually doesn’t work with tangible materials. Burns, who studies physics and computer science, left her comfort zone as well and added that, “We combined all of our fields.”

After the pre-Earth Day Celebration, the students were asked to display the dress inside McConnell Library.

Apr 28, 2017
Max Esterhuizen