Recycle Runway Blog

Museum Exhibitions Published: 01.11.2013 at 10:22 am by Nancy Judd

I am thrilled to announce that this month my collection of recycled fashions will begin a tour of museums around the United States!

ReDress: Upcycled Style is the name of the traveling exhibition that features eighteen of my pieces. Each site will host the show for approximately three months. I hope this exhibition will be touring for at least the next five years. Following are the first three organizations that have signed-up to host the ReDress exhibition:

I am very excited to work with each of these institutions and see how they choose to exhibit my garments and interpret the educational portion of my work.

My idea for this traveling exhibition began when I was introduced to Cynthia Graves by my friend Aurelia Gomez at the The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. Cynthia’s company, Guest Curator, is an independent traveling exhibitions service which means that she offers museum quality exhibits in art, history and popular culture to arts institutions. I showed her my work and asked if she thought that museums might be interested in what I do. Her response was very positive and she agreed to represent me. For the last two years we have worked closely to develop the ReDress: Upcycled Style traveling exhibition and are both thrilled with the enthusiastic response it has received from art institutions across the country.

Crate for the Jellyfish Dress

Museums require that the artworks they receive are professionally crated to assure that the work arrives in good condition. Crating my garments has been no small undertaking, just ask David Astilli. We first met when his company, Astilli Fine Art Services, was hired by the Smithsonian to crate my piece, “The Obamanos Coat”, which the Smithsonian accepted into their permanent collection in 2011. For my traveling exhibition, David and his wonderful crew custom built twealve crates that hold the eighteen garments.

Each piece is being sent on a mannequin so that when the museums receive the show, the garments are ready for installation. This is a thrill for me because it takes a VERY long to time to set them up. I spent at least two months putting the garments on their mannequins and getting them just right… I am so relieved that this was the last time.

Several of my pieces needed to be restored after they were damaged by light in the Atlanta Airport exhibition last year. I was fortunate to find a very talented conservator of textiles, Ilona Pachler,  who redyed and painted three of the garments. The Youth Eco-Dress was one of the pieces that had faded significantly. We found a huge soup caldron tucked away at the Greer Garson Theater in Santa Fe that could hold the many yards of fabric. The new color is a much brighter green than the original. This initially made me nervous, but after I reattached the paper chains I decided that the new color actually enhances the piece quite a bit.

I was very excited the day the shipping company finally picked-up the garments to deliver them to the first exhibit in Florida. Six people, and three dollies loaded the twealve crates in the truck, they took up about half the big-rig! The first box, pictured below holding the Youth Eco Dress, is the largest– it’s almost 6 feet square.

Loading the crates for shipment

We also created an installation guide that gives museum staff exact directions on how to install each piece, including how to attach hats to the mannequins and place purses on special stands. Dan Radven, an Exhibition Preparator and Artifact Mount Maker for the New Mexico Museum and Monuments system, custom-made all the stands, mounts and mannequin bases for me.

It was a true team effort to prepare the ReDress exhibition for this tour and I’m so thankful to all the talented people who helped make it happen!

The museums also require that the exhibition be accompanied by a condition report binder which notates the condition of each garment and accessory. Our condition report binder was over 500 pages! The registrar at each institution fills out incoming and outgoing reports for each garment and accessory noting anything that might have happened to the work while in their care. This museum tour is kind of like going to Club Med for my garments; they have never been so pampered.

I also am creating additional materials for the museums to use that include: information for docents; recommended films related to waste reduction; for the museum shops, a list of artists who use recycled materials in their art; and eventually an educational guide for students of all ages.

The museums have invited me to give workshops and presentations in conjunction with the exhibitions. I’m very excited to visit each site, meet the staff and talk with people about my work and the critical environmental issues it raises.

I know that the preparations associated with this exhibition such as shipping, printing and my travel will create their share of  green house gas (CO2) emissions. I will off-set the carbon footprint of this project by donating to renewable energy projects through

I feel so honored and lucky to have this experience and can’t wait to see where the ReDress tour takes us!
If you know of any museums that might be interested in my exhibition, please let me know. Below is a link to information for museum curators: ReDress: UpCycled Style.

Preparing the garments in my temporary workspace at Astillis



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