Patricia Bulitt

Interdisciplinary Artist 
Teaching Artist
P A P E R   D R E S S E S   
 HISTORY of Hand Made Paper Dresses: Patricia  began making paper dresses as wearable costumes for an original, site specific community art event in Berkeley's Codornices Park:  " There's A Tree Whistling Its Message Through The Kettle:" A Women's and Girls' Tea Party and Storytelling Ceremony!

Annually,  for 14 years, Patricia self produced the tea party and storytelling ceremony for 125 guests from 8-90 years old, in association with Urban Creeks Council.  Adjacent to Codornices Creek, this environmental art piece commemorated the human and natural history of the park, and women who influence our lives. Each guest brought her own tea cup and a story to tell to one another at the picnic tables of women who influenced her life.
Set within an embellished site, four Fish Head-masked dancers move  by the creek, heated kettles with  water for the tea on camping stoves, and delicate food placed every so carefully, as  professional storytellers, singers, and a bounty of beauty brought this event to life.

The storytelling tea party  was reset in Pt Reyes Station, CA, in elementary schools, and through professional organizations, each honoring our personal stories and tea.  "We all stream through each others lives, " considers Patricia.

" Kettle Tellers," speaking her original prose and poetry, wearing paper dresses embellished with hand written recipes from her grandmother's cookbook, hats from old baskets greeted each guest to the tea party.


Paper Dresses as Art:  Continuing in her Berkeley studio, paper dresses have been sold to private collectors, and exhibited at such places as
The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA, The Sun Gallery, Hayward, CA, The Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
and the Berkeley Public Library, Berkeley, CA.

Workshops: Storytelling combined with making paper dresses for girls and women to commemorate a woman who influences their lives
combines collage, words, paint, ribbon and memory.

PAPER STORY DRESSES And paper story coats for boys, girls, women, and men, have been given in workshops at Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA, Berkeley Public Library, and Jewish Community Center, East Bay, University of Alaska, Bethel, Alaska, Rutgers University, New Jersey, Richmond Art Center, CA, and several elementary schools in Oakland and Berkeley, CA
Pictured:  Kettle Tellers in paper dresses, paper bag hats, hats constructed from old baskets and tule--- all worn at the annual storytelling tea party, "There's a tree whistling its Message through the Kettle,"  by Patricia Bulitt.
                 If I Could Make A Dress For Salmon Mother
Materials:  Paper, Paint, Fabric, Ribbon, Glue, Dried Salmon Bones
Dimensions:  28" by 52"
Pictured below:   Paper Dress Making!

 Berkeley Public Library, North Branch, 2008.

This workshop provided a paper template for adults and youth. 
Artist Residency at the library  sponsored with City of Berkeley, Civic Arts Grant, included a slide show and lecture on women's cookbooks as autobiography illustrated by Patricia's grandmother's hand written recipe book, display of paper dresses, and slide show on origin of the paper dresses as wearable costumes in community art event.
From Sun Gallery's Mother's Day workshop: Paper Memory for families constructing paper dresses together!   Hayward, California, 2008.
Pictured below:   Detail from A Paper Dress For A Librarian, 2008-2009

:  Paper, Paint, Fabric, Glitter, Dried Flowers, Words, Glue, Sequins, Glitter
Dimensions::  54"by 26"
A Paper Dress Of Apology For A Young Iraqi Girl, 2009

Materials:  Paper, Paint
, Ribbon, Words, Dried Flowers, Glitter, Glue, Photocopy of Photograph of 5 year old Samar Hassan by Chris Hondros, 2005.

Dimensions:  52" by 26"

Paper Dress is dedicated to Chris Hondros, mortally wounded in 2011.

Poem by Patricia Bulitt collaged onto the paper dress reads:

" I dream of you in a dress of roses.  You are the young Iraqi girl,
screaming for a dress of apology...,"
writes Bulitt.

Performed with cello music, the dress is expressed as sculptural music of gestures and emotion.
Please see:  Original Poetry & Prose on this web site for full poem.  Thank you.

A Paper Dress of Apology for a Young Iraqi Girl
By Patricia Bulitt

Photograph by Curtis Ratcliff
Photograph: Raymond Holdbert
                                     Under The Wing Paper Dress
Dress embellished with paper,  paint, fabric, cardboard, ribbon, printed words from poetic text by Patricia Bulitt from the performance, Under The Wing, honoring birds of Lake Merritt, in Oakland, CA.
Dress is in private collection.
                   Paper Dress For Margaret
Paper Dress for Margaret

This dress honors Margaret McAnulty, a nurse who gave her life in service
 in the historic,  ANZAC Battle. Constructed while an Artist Fellow in New Zealand, the dress is scripted with original words from Patricia's hand:

Rocks hit water. 
Water rises
As grief does.

Out of our hearts,
Into the circle of seasons.

Dress is constructed with paint, dried rose petals, ribbon, tule, ink, photocopies of Margaret McAnulty, her grandparents, and words from oral history collected by Kay Flavell on Ms McAnulty.


 In Memory:  A relative of Margaret's holding the paper dress    at New Pacific Studio's opening celebration following
Two Sunsets
Patricia's solo dance on ANZAC Bridge.
 From: The Dancer And The Journalist Paper Dress
Detail from The Dancer and The Journalist Paper Dress
Collaged with my great Uncle Sam's old photographs, fabric, paint, cardboard, glue, pages from dictionary, sequins, and paper burnings collected
from a new year's bon fire, at Green Gulch Farm/Zen Center---including sutras and prayers about women ancestors.
Remembering Friendship Dress

Backside of dress embellished with a string of Lipton Tea bags.

Whenever walking through the village in -45 degree weather, stopping at Neva's home, always we'd have Lipton tea!

Sleeves with fabric sizing, and photo-copies from Tundra Drums Newspaper of unknown Yupik Eskimo women, and cuttings from handwritten letter to Patricia from Neva Rivers are glued onto the paper dress.  A letter----once she completed the  gut parka, July 18, 1983:

Dear Patricia,
I'm very happy now.  I finally finish your seal guts dancing coat.  But its not a water proof kind.  ...   Its only for dancing use.  ...
If I have time to make for myself, ... will that be fun, if we dance together with same things on?...   It looks so beautiful!

Detail from Remembering Friendship Dress
Honoring friendship with elder dancer, Neva Rivers of Hooper Bay, Alaska and Patricia Bulitt

from front of dress : paper,paint, glitter, photocopies, bird feathers, dried and dyed seal gut, ink, sequins, yarn, tundra grass, tea bags.

Photos by Sibila Savage and Patricia Bulitt
Paper Memory,  An Exhibition of Original Paper Dresses by Patricia Bulitt and students from workshop
JCC East Bay, Berkeley, CA., 2013.
Paper Memory Exhibition, 2013, JCC East Bay, Berkeley, California

Patricia Bulitt with her paper dresses lined on the clothes line, with the Remembering Friendship Dress resting at her footfall. 
From JCC Exhibition:  Margaretta Mitchell, Photographer, viewing dress by Patricia Bulitt

Each of the 10 dresses were accompanied by poetic prose statement inviting the viewer into the world of the maker, and her visions for these wearables of paper.

Girl Leaning Dress by Patricia Bulitt

This dress is informed by a photograph pictured in a found postcard.  A poetic prose piece is collaged onto this dress as a way to discover a window into what activity the girl is doing.  " A Language scratched into the wood of the table" is to say she is making a memory into the wood with her words. 

Dimensions:  53" by 27"
Paint, paper, buttons, words, fabric, buttons, glitter.

Pictured below:  Alphabetic Memory Dress by Patricia Bulitt, 2013

"As always we age,
We make memories,
We sew buttons,
And we love..." and other words are embellished on this wearable dress.

48 "by 22"
constructed with paint, ribbon, glue, words, paper, fabric.
 Below:  Detail from winged sleeve:  Embellished with words, buttons, rose petals, glue, paint, stencil.