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Sculpture with Style
Intricate folded-paper sculpture created
by students in Pamela Unwin-Barkley’s Spatial Dynamics Foundation
studios go on display tomorrow at Clad In, a designer clothing shop in
Providence’s Wayland Square.
“Working with Clad In gives freshmen a real-world
connection – and it’s a great exposure,” says Unwin-Barkley, an assistant
professor in Foundation Studies this year and an architect
who focuses on interiors, renovations and garden design. Though she typically
invites outside critics into the studio to respond to student work, this is the
first time she has done the reverse, arranging for her students to take their
work into a public arena.
The collaboration with Clad In is a
natural fit, Unwin-Barkley points out, since the shop is dedicated to providing women with “endlessly interesting and unexpectedly
delightful” designer clothing, as co-owner
Elizabeth Day Lawrence puts it, and
shop manager Leslie Grant 79 AP is an alumna and practicing apparel
“Providence is branding itself as the Creative
Capital,” Grant says, “and RISD is this gem in the middle of the city. This
studio brings the college into the community.”
Earlier in the semester, students in Unwin-Barkley’s
two Foundation sections had made wearable art – including shirts, necklaces and
earrings – out of folded Bristol paper. To show the Clad In folks what they had
been doing this semester, they chose to wear these paper creations to their
first meeting with Grant and her two
associates, Pam Wall (who studied illustration at RISD) and Swedish
designer Asa Orsino.
| Tower by Tae Gon Lee 15
create amazing three-dimensional objects simply by folding two-dimensional
sheets of paper,” Unwin-Barkley explains, noting that her students learned to “crease,
pleat, bend, hem, gather, knot, hinge, corrugate, drape, twist, furl, crumple,
collapse, wrinkle, facet, curve and wrap materials.” Using Bristol paper for
the site-specific installations designed for the shop, one group of students
constructed sculptural towers that respond to shelving in the store, while a
second group created intriguing screens for window displays.
beginning their folded-paper projects, students studied the work of innovative
fashion designers who are well represented in the store, including Ray
Harris, Ivan Grundahl and Peter Mahler, along with jewelry by designers such as Leo Narducci 60 AP, whose work is also
sold there. They also researched the work of leading architects ranging from Frank Gehry
to Nader Tehrani BArch 86, the Boston-based architect best known on
campus for designing the interior of the Fleet Library at RISD.
“As students, we don’t often get out of the RISD
bubble, so this is a good opportunity to go out and have the outside world
comment on our work,” says Peter Borges 15 FAV. Without such opportunities,
it would be “easy to lose sight of how the general public views what we’re
doing,” he adds.
The Foundation Studies work will be on view at Clad In
Providence, 497 Angell Street, from April 14 through the end of May. Store
hours are 10 am–5:30 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 11:30 am–5 pm on Sunday.
, Foundation Studies