Besse steps out of her comfort zone with latest art endeavor

Senior Nan Besse hasn’t normally been one to stray from her love of drawing – the intricate art of putting pen to paper. However, for her current project in Honors Art Seminar, she has completely flipped the script, taking on the daunting task of creating a handmade, life-size dress. “Even my art teachers were kind of surprised… but it was a nice change,” Besse said.

She tends to follow a pattern of creating darker, heavier, and almost morbid drawings, but is now trying to “make something that’s really light and can evoke feelings of positivity.” This sense of lightness is displayed through the light orange, yellow, red, and pink in the dress. Besse said, “I always think of it like the color of a nectarine or a sunset, and those things make me really happy.”

The process of finishing this project is long and tedious and Besse has a ways to go, as she hand-paints each piece of tissue paper used on the dress. Built on the base of a white shirt, the paper is folded to create different textures, appearing to be almost ruffled, before being taped onto the form. This experience has undeniably forced Besse to have patience. “I’m always used to just sitting down, opening a sketchbook, and then drawing and being able to put it away,” she said. “This [project] is a multi-step process, it takes time.”

Many of her classmates’ pieces have some sort of statement or deeper meaning behind them. However, Besse said, “mine doesn’t really reflect that, it’s more just sort of a simple feeling that you’re trying to capture.” Regardless, Besse’s dress still encapsulates the sense of positivity she was hoping to portray. She looks forward to continuing this unique project into the remainder of the semester.