Paper Shoes by Julie VonDerVellen

With a passion for garment making at a very young age, Julie VonDerVellen has pursued her dream above and beyond the normal means of everyday fabric by challenging herself in engineering garments and objects from handmade paper. She experiments with various techniques that require hours of problem solving to achieve the results that hold true to the nature of her storytelling.

Her work has been showcased in group exhibitions within galleries such as the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. The piece, 26.2 Miles, (shown above) recently won, Best in Show – Student Work at the College Book Art Association Juried Members Exhibition, which was held at Indiana University, January 2011. Photos courtesy of John Maniaci.

“I am intrigued by the stories and memories that are embedded within each object – shirts, pants, scarves, shoes, gloves, belts, and hats. My work showcases the significant personal moments in my life and the lives of my friends and family. When retelling these narratives, I attempt to develop a structure that resembles the object’s original form and reads and functions as a book.” – Julie VonDerVellen

“Garments evoke memories; memories evoke garments. My research expands upon traditional storytelling and memoir presentation. Significant moments — personal stories and those of friends and families — 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 are re-creations of actual attire surrounding each of the significant moments. My paper weaving technique — a process of interlacing objects with memories — attempts to redefine the traditional book structure with chapters emerging from seams. The garments reveal new beginnings, life lessons, and notable achievements. Memories evoke garments; garments evoke memories.” – Julie VonDerVellen

The wedding shoe series below is entitled “THE Shoes”. Photos courtesy of Jim Escalante.

It’s always amazing to see the many ways that you can manipulate paper. Thank you Julie for sharing your work with us. You can see more of Julie’s work at

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