How I Made Nyctea Scandiaca (Snowy Owl) Wearable Art

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Snowy Owl

With all of the wintry weather and beautiful snow we have been getting in February, it has made me want to share this design I created a few years ago. This was my first attempt a wearable art and creating an avant-garde piece. The entire dress is made from paper, mostly reused items and natural elements I gathered from the woods. Looking at my Snowy Owl design now, I am still amazed that I was able to create something so fantastical.

I was asked by a clothing designer to create a wearable art sculpture for an upcoming contest. She needed an example of a design that was a combination of fashion and art. I don’t usually make things look this abstract so it was very challenging and a lot of fun to go crazy with my creativity. The mannequin I used is 7 feet tall and a little intimidating. After working on her in the wee hours of the night, I thought I saw her blinking. I am happy with the way she came out though even though she did scare me at times. She almost has a woodland, fantasy, Elven princess look about her very Middle Earth.

snowy owl
Image by Michel van der Vegt from Pixabay

My inspiration was drawn from the beautiful blue-eyed snowy owl perched on frozen tree limbs. I wanted to capture the imaginary of snow drifts, icy branches and the majestic night bird.

I decided to make my wearable art design completely out of paper and natural elements. I like using unconventional materials to create my designs. I think it adds interest especially when it is a wearable piece.


The dress was made from white tissue paper that I crinkled and painted to give it an icy look. I painted branches I found in the woods white frost to accent her dress. I cut feathers from wrapping paper to attach to the branches to simulate the frozen tree limbs.

The feathers for the mask were created from holiday wrapping paper and I added chandelier beads to the twigs to add more of a frozen feeling. I love how the branches have curly grapevine accents.

eggI wanted to put a nest on her head just because I thought it would be an interesting touch. I used chandelier crystals to hang from her icy snowdrift headpiece to give the illusion of icicles.

snow-owl-faceI made tiny feathers out of wrapping paper to create the textured snow owl mask.

feathersI embellished the bottom of the dress with feathers and shapes decorated with iridescent cellophane to make it look more like she is standing in an icy terrain.

Snow-HeadMy snow owl princess has been made her way around Maryland promoting the contest. She spent months at the Colombia Mall in Howard County Maryland.

snowy owl

Here I am fixing a few of the hand-cut leaves and branches that were disrupted in the move to her temporary stay at the mall. She now resides in a wearable art museum.

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1 Response

  1. lisa says:

    So beautiful! You are so talented and amazing. Can’t wait to see your next project.

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