Emily Chases Husk

  • Emily Chase’s “Husk”

Detail from Husk

  • Detail from “Husk”

Emily Chase, an art major in the Honors College of the the University of Arkansas, has won a Windgate Fellowship Award worth $15,000 for her paper dresses and other paper creations.

The Windgate is a national competitive award funded by the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Hendersonville, N.C. The center invites more than 70 universities to nominate two graduating seniors skilled in craft to compete for the Windgate and only 10 students are selected. The Windgate Charitable Trust in Siloam Springs supports the fellowship through gifts to the Center. Chase, who hails from Tahlequah, Okla., is the first Windgate fellow from the U of A.


A news release from the university said that Chase has been crafting works in paper for several years, from origami cranes to the gowns created for her honors thesis. From the news release:

Chase painted, cut, scraped, pricked and scorched various aspects of the paper garments, which lure and provoke the viewer with unexpected details. A quilted paper spine and ribs form the back of Hollow Bones, confining painted birds suspended within the bodice; in Husk, a delicate tracery of blue blood vessels painted within are revealed when the gown is illuminated.

Historical costume and the rich visual language of fairytales inspired these works, but with the encouragement of her faculty mentor, Kristin Musgnug, an associate professor of art, Chase explored the deeper themes embedded in the tales and her own emotional processes, as well.

After graduating, Chase will go to Japan to study paper crafts and clothing design. She also plans to take a class in paper technique at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C.


Paper dresses are in vogue — see Detroit designer Matthew F. Richmond’s newspaper he made for the Arkansas Times here and the Eye Candy post on Mia Hall’s dress in the UALR Faculty Biennial last year for two examples that have appeared in the Times in the past year. Like Chase’s garments, Hall’s aren’t meant to be worn but convey a message. (This writer is old enough to have actually worn a paper dress nearly identical to the one below when they were all the rage in the 1960s.)

Paper dress from the 1960s

  • Paper dress from the 1960s

Chase’s work appears in the exhibition “Crafted Identities: Honors Thesis Work of Emily Chase, Melissa Love, and Jeanne Vockroth” currently on display at the East Square Plaza on the Fayetteville Square, 1 E. Center St. A closing reception is set for 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 26. Her work also will be included in the BFA/BA Awards Exhibition April 29-May 4 in the Fine Arts Center Gallery on campus.