Ephemeral Elegance with Mulberry Paper: Stephanie Reynolds and the Art of Paper Couture

In the collection of Stephanie Reynolds, a treasure trove of paper couture takes center stage. The room is filled with costumes echoing the Victorian age, vibrant evening wear, and fairy-tale inspired footwear. Though at first glance they appear to be made of luxurious fabric, the astonishing truth is that they are crafted from paper.

Artist Stephanie Reynolds

Artist Stephanie Reynolds at her exhibition at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Picture by Craig George from The Examiner)

However, some of these aren't just ordinary papers. For many years, Reynolds has relied on the exquisite mulberry papers from Kozo Studio to bring her imaginative designs to life. We're blessed and delighted to be part of something so graceful.

In this article, we'll explore Stephanie's work and how she incorporated our papers into her beautiful creations.

Crafting Tales Through Paper Textiles

Stephanie's journey into the realm of paper artistry wasn’t a straightforward one. As a youth, she was deeply involved in theater, sewing costumes and getting acquainted with fabrics. However, life's many priorities, including career, family, and other responsibilities, pulled her away from her creative pursuits.

After an extensive career in the corporate realm, Stephanie Reynolds rediscovered a long-lost passion when she moved to Tasmania and stumbled upon various art groups.

Interestingly, one of her very first white paper dresses met an unexpected end when her son accidentally dropped it into mud. Instead of lamenting the loss, Stephanie saw it as an opportunity to experiment and explore the properties and potential of the paper medium. This mishap inspired her to delve deeper into storytelling through her creations.

Artist Stephanie Reynolds Making Paper Dress

Stephanie exemplifies the idea that it's never too late to chase your dreams. (Picture by Manika Champ from ABC News)

Stephanie often begins her artistic process with a seed of an idea. That seed soon grows, consuming her with an unstoppable drive to create. However, as many artists find, storage can become a challenge. One day, a friend visiting Stephanie's home remarked on the numerous paper garments hanging around. Realizing their value, the idea was floated to showcase these creations to the public. This culminated in the inception of "Fashioned with Flair."

"Fashioned with Flair" was not just a showcase but a community event. Stephanie wanted to reflect real people from the community in her show, ensuring representation of all shapes, sizes, and ages. The response was overwhelmingly positive. People were astounded by the beauty of paper, its versatility, and how it could be transformed into moving, wearable art. Moreover, the event raised funds for a foundation in Tanzania dedicated to girls' education and their economic freedom.

Mulberry Paper Dresses

Models from Stephanie's "Fashioned with Flair" exhibition (Picture by Christopher Jolly)

Stephanie's works eventually led to her first solo exhibition at the Devonport Regional Gallery. Titled "This Too Will End," the exhibition mirrors life's ephemeral nature. Stephanie believes that while events might repeat, they are transient and eventually conclude. The exhibition showcased 25 of her paper garments, providing a glimpse into the incredible versatility of paper.

Reflecting on her journey and her creations, Stephanie aspires to share her passion for paper textiles with the world. Through her work, Stephanie Reynolds does more than just craft garments. She weaves stories, emotions, and evocative narratives, all using the delicate and unexpected medium of paper.

Dress from Kozo Papers

Stephanie's exhibition at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Picture by Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery)

Kozo Studio's Mulberry Papers and Paper Dresses

Stephanie uses a wide variety of our mulberry papers, which are also known by names such as Kozo, Washi, Hanji, and rice paper. These papers are distinguished by their unique qualities, including strength, flexibility, and longevity. Our technique infuses high-quality color into the pulp rather than merely dyeing the paper also guarantees uniform color saturation, ensuring that garments made from our papers retain their vibrancy without fading. Most importantly, mulberry papers possess a luxurious touch not found in conventional papers.

All of these complement Stephanie's objective: for her creations to so closely mimic textiles that viewers are taken aback upon realizing they are crafted from paper.

Let's see some of Stephanie's works that feature our papers.

Handmade rose Kozo Paper Dress Mulberry Paper
Mulberry Kozo Paper Jacket
A Jacket from Handmade Beehive and Rose Kozo Paper
Milano Marbled Paper as a Dress
Milano Mulberry Marble Paper as a Dress

A Japanese Dress from Milano Kozo Paper (Design 6)
Handmade Rose White Mulberry Paper as a Dress 

Handmade Rose Kozo Paper at the Center of this White Ethereal Dress

Gleaming Metallic Kozo Paper Dress

Momigami Gleaming Metallic Kozo Paper skillfully sewn on the inside of the dress

Dresses from Mulberry Papers

Solid-colored Kozo Papers are a staple in Stephanie's collection.

Stephanie stands as a powerful example of the belief that it's never too late to pursue one's dreams. She passionately advocates for breaking the age-old narrative that suggests older individuals aren't creative. "I would love if more older people didn't keep on with the story that they're not creative, because it's just a story we've learnt somewhere in our lives. I reckon everybody is creative." Stephanie said.

Kozo Studio's Mulberry paper gallery

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