A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, but salvaged bolts of cloth, laced with the experimental prose of Gertrude Stein, offer innumerable variations. San Francisco artist Katrina Rodabaugh did more than borrow Stein’s words for her interdisciplinary installation, however. After hand-printing the fabric with verses from Stein’s 1914 volume, Tender Buttons, Rodabaugh enlisted the aid of 30 designers and fine artists across the nation to construct garments using the material. The assembled dressmakers were an intentionally motley bunch, including not only fashion designers but also carpenters, fiber artists, and print makers who had never sewn a stitch.

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The second phase of The Dresses/Objects Project, too, was less than conventional. Instead of using professional models, Rodabaugh coaxed her fellow artists into donning the completely dresses and posing for photos. Her third and final phase is an exhibition of the dresses and photographs, which is free to the public at San Francisco’s Z Space through July 18.

Rodabaugh printed recycled fabric with quotes from Gertrude Stein, then asked 30 artists to make dresses from it.

Despite the semi-permanence of the dress forms and the frocks they present, the project is still a work in progress. If you pop in on a Saturday afternoon, you’re likely to see Rodabaugh herself making one last dress. The final gown will be revealed at the closing reception, an event that will include poetry by Lara Durback, Jennifer Manzano, and Erika Staiti.

+ The Dresses/Objects Project