Tennessee artist Lisa Norris cuts, layers and arranges paper from vintage sewing patterns to make her fashion-smart collages.
Artist: The Chattanooga native grew up watching her father, a self-taught artist, drawing. She often sat for portraits. In high school, a teacher urged her to consider art school.
After high school, Norris worked and built her art portfolio while attending the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. She then headed off to Parsons School of Design in New York City, where in 1992, Norris received a BFA in painting and sculpture.
Norris returned to her hometown to make art and work at the Gannon Art Center, continuing her training in custom picture framing, fine art restoration, antique frame restoration and installations.
From 2001 to 2007, Norris wholesaled her handmade blank books, scrapbooks and journals. Clients included Anthropologie stores, museums and numerous fine craft stores nationwide. Her work also found its way into Oscar Party gift baskets
In 2008, Norris switched gears and started exhibiting her one-of-a-kind dress pattern collages, which she started making in 1999.
Company/studio: Made by One Girl is based in Chattanooga, where Norris has a home studio. In May, Norris set up another art studio at ClearStory Arts, which hosts artists’ studios, plus a gallery and community workspace. The building was home to a yarn dyeing factory in the early 20th century. Norris recently found out that her grandfather had once worked there.
Art & materials: Collages using vintage dress pattern paper to illustrate girls’ and ladies’ dresses, men’s wear, lingerie, stuffed animals and fashion accessories ($250 to $4,000).
What’s popular: 1950s party dresses.
Other favorites: Menswear.
- Starts with a pencil drawing on either paper or canvas.
- Cuts, tears, layers, arranges and pastes the tissue-thin sewing instructions to construct her image. The various lines and words printed on the sewing patterns (seam allowance” or “shorten hem here” inspire their placement.
- To finish a piece, often draws or paints embroidery designs as if the images were standing in front of wallpaper
- Antique malls and museums.
- Line drawing.
- Fashion illustrations from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Fun or special commission: Collages of 1970’s prom dresses for a mother who made the dresses for her two daughters. Sometimes, Norris is sent the actual pattern pieces for a commission.
Recent honors: Third place in 2-D and 3-D mixed media at Summerfair Arts Festival in Cincinnati.
Where to buy: etsy.com/shop/madebyonegirl or at outdoor art festivals.
What’s next: Exhibiting at arts festivals, including:
- Woodland Art Fair, Lexington, KY. Aug. 19-20.
- Louis Art Fair, Clayton, MO. Sept. 8-10.
- Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show, Philadelphia, PA. Sept. 15-17.
- James Court Art Fair, Louisville, KY. Oct. 6-8.
- Three Rivers Art Featival, Covington, LA. Nov.11-12.
- Facebook: Made by one girl
- Instagram: @madebyonegirl