Party Dress book
Party Dress

By Catherine Alice Michaelis
Vashon Island, Washington: May Day Press, 2004. Edition of 25.

7 x 3.25", opens to 10.5" Eight-panel accordion fold so that four dress images are displayed on each side. Each page constructed with dress on top two-thirds of panel in decorative papers while the bottom third of the four interior 'pages' are printed letterpress with the author's memories of her Mother's party dress. Housed in folding paper covers, letterpress title label stitched to front cover. Handmade papers by Kathy Kuehn.

Catherine Alice Michaelis: "Party Dress was inspired from an old box of photos of my parents from when they were younger, flashier, and enthralling to their young daughter. The photographs brought back to me the sounds and textures of my mother’s party dresses. I use to play in my mother’s closet where hemlines tickled my face and her scents wove a spell around me. I imagined an exotic life in my mother’s high-heeled shoes. The text of Party Dress evokes my mother’s pre-party ritual.

"Party Dress is an accordion book of dresses, mimicking my mother’s closet. The dresses are cut from Japanese papers (the papers vary in each book). My mother’s most fascinating clothes were those my father brought back from Southeast Asia and the South Pacific when he was in the Air Force. The paper doll tabs are there because my early dolls were paper, and I associate them with the time of my father’s absence.

"The intent of Party Dress is to honor my mother’s beauty, her exquisite sewing skills, and a childhood that still remains mysterious and enchanted."