Column: From headlines to necklines

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Sarah Niehaus and Dana Johnson created a dress made out of recycled newspaper. (Photo by Donna Monday)

Sarah Niehaus and Dana Johnson created a dress made out of recycled newspaper. (Photo by Donna Monday)

Commentary by Donna Monday 

What’s black and white and red all over?

No, sillies, it’s not a newspaper. It’s a ball gown. Actually, it’s both newspapers and high fashion. It’s a ball gown made of recycled newspaper. All dresses have necklines. This one has headlines.

This glorious work of art is on display at Hussey-Mayfield Library. It’s the brainchild of two ZCHS art students, Dana Johnson and Sarah Niehaus. They are in Mrs. Fletcher’s sculpture class. Their assignment was not simple.

Students were to make something out of recycled material, and whatever they made needed to send a message.

“I had been on Pinterest and saw all these people had done fashions out of newspaper,” Sarah said. “I told Dana about it, and she said she’d already thought the same thing.”

“We needed a message,” she added. “We decided on materialism. Kids, especially in Zionsville, think they have to have brand names on everything. We decided to make elegance out of basically trash – recycled newspapers.”

Elegance, in this case, called for a great bodice and an equally wonderful skirt. Sarah did the bodice, and Dana made the skirt.

“I knew I wanted it to be really big,” Dana said.

And big it is. It looks like anything but recycled trash. To this writer, it appears like what Scarlett O’Hara would have made if she’d used newspapers instead of draperies for her famous “Gone with the Wind” gown.

I just had to ask what newspapers were used for this project. Sure enough, only local Zionsville papers were used, and all from 2015. The current events class reads newspapers and then recycles them to the sculpture class.

Not surprisingly, the girls each got an ‘A’ for their effort.

“I just thought it was phenomenal,” Mrs. Fletcher said.

The artists are understandably happy with their creation.

“It means a lot,” Dana said. “That we made something that great.”

Both girls intend to keep art in their future. Dana, a junior, says she will probably attend either Purdue or IU. “I know I want to keep doing art,” she said. I will definitely continue pursuing what I love.”

Sarah, a senior, is headed for Purdue. “I’m going to be an industrial design major,” she said. “Most of industrial design is improving design, making things prettier and more useful. You want to appeal to consumers. It’s all about improving products.”

I guess the dress says it all: yesterday’s news – tomorrow’s art.


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