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Alumni Gazette

Paper Dressmaker
ramosPLEATS OF PAPER: Dresses are among the diverse array of art objects that Roxana Ramos ’11 creates from paper. An artist who exhibits globally, she first showed her work on the River Campus. Her senior thesis exhibition, Narrative Threads, was displayed in the Art and Music Library. (Photo: Courtesy of Roxana Ramos ’11)

Paper art is thousands of years old, and artists working in the medium have melded the material into a surprising array of three-dimensional creations.

Such as dresses. You may not want to wear a paper dress to a gala, but you may want to examine one up close as part of an art exhibition.

This spring, Peruvian paper artist Roxana Ramos ’11 exhibits one of her paper dresses as part of the 20th Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival in Jeonju, South Korea. “Hanji” means “paper of Korea.”

“Paper dresses are a very approachable way for visitors to explore with art,” says Ramos. Paper is a familiar material that most visitors handle in multiple ways in their daily lives. “It helps people to see that design is more approachable than what they might think.”

Based in Peru’s capital city, Lima, Ramos has been a versatile paper artist since her time as a studio arts major at Rochester. In addition to teaching at Lima’s Toulouse Lautrec Design Institute, Ramos founded Lettra, a paper art and bookbinding “laboratory,” as she calls it, evoking the creative experimentation at the heart of her work. Her paper products are wide-ranging, with a focus on books that serve as art objects, constructed out of a variety of papers, ribbon, and incorporating materials from beeswax to chili powder.

In the past year, Ramos has exhibited at two other major international events: the Sofia Paper Art Fest in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Biennial Internationale des Arts des Fibre et du Papier in the United Kingdom.

Ramos says two themes she explores in her art are fragility and strength. And paper is a perfect medium to deepen that exploration. “There will be a point in time where my pieces will only exist in photographs or documentation,” she writes in her artist statement on her website at “This is the main part of their magic.”

—Karen McCally ’02 (PhD)