In May 2017 Stephanie Smart’s latest collection will be exhibited in the Great Hall of Danny House, Sussex, under the title ‘Maison de Papier’. This collection will be the result of working on site at Danny House, for 11 months, collecting oral histories, running craft workshops with current residents, who include a 97 year old, female, WW2 veteran, and encouraging general engagement with the processes of making.
‘Maison de Papier’ is a collection of 9, life-size haute couture historic garments made entirely from paper and thread. Though fashion is the framework, the stories of the inhabitants of Danny House and the possibilities of working with paper have inspired Stephanie’s current collection. She’s intrigued by what is inside people, what drives them, what they think, feel and recollect.
In 2012/13 Stephanie began producing items of clothing from paper, after having seen a paper kaftan that had been made for a Sultan and was exhibited in a museum in Istanbul. Stephanie believes that creating clothing from paper asserts the garment as a canvas for drawing and script, directing attention toward surface decoration and pure paper craft.
Stephanie’s aim is to make work that is as technically intricate and challenging as it is beautiful and interesting. Her objectives are: to stretch preconceptions of craft; to question the boundaries of art; to influence dialogue in this area; to create objects that are deeply thoughtful, carefully constructed, materially proficient. She believes that craft, fashion and fine art interweave. Of late her work has been seen at the Affordable Arts Fair, Battersea and in a number of independent galleries.
‘Maison de Papier’ will be an Open House venue as part of the Brighton Festival 2017. It will be open every weekend in May from 11-4pm. The exhibition will appeal not only to lovers of art and craft but also to those with an interest in Britain’s social/cultural history.