Personal Stories Turn Into Paper Art Handmade by Julie VonDerVellen

Julie VonDerVellen
: She’s an artist who puts family first
and can’t get enough of the lakes in the Midwest. The volleyball enthusiast
also happens to hold a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison. VonDerVellen tells us how she weaves art and stories

My work began with personal
stories and journal entries, and progressed to working with narratives written
by my friends and family. I collaborated with each author to recreate their
stories, such as running a full marathon, finding a wedding dress, preparations
for a blind date to a barn dance and a high school prom disaster:

“This is the story (photo above) of
how I ended up having one date, then two dates and then no dates to my senior
prom and the valuable life lessons I learned in the process. I decided to ask
Nate to the prom. I cornered him in the Student Council office, not really thinking
that he would agree. Suddenly there he was saying yes, and there I was
thinking, hmm, now I seem to have two dates to the prom.”  
–Christine B.

My research expands upon traditional storytelling and memoir
presentation. Significant moments and personal stories of friends and family are
interwoven into handmade paper crafted from recycled cotton clothing. The
paper, acting as fabric, is layered with a narrative specifically tailored to
the event. The garments and shoes are recreations of actual attire surrounding
each of the significant moments. My work attempts to redefine the commonplace
book structure. The pieces reveal new beginnings, life lessons and notable