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IOWA: “Prairie Dress”

The Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center in Toddville, IA graciously agreed to host the Iowa dress project, “Prairie Dress”. They are working hard to convert their acquired land back to the natural prairie that once covered Iowa.

We needed to secure a permit to allow us to cut the prairie grasses. Here are Craig and Felicia collecting material.

Here Cynthia and Paloma are weaving grass into the wire armature for the dress. I found volunteers to help with the project through a local art gallery and also by searching online.

The completed “Prairie Dress”

I thought it was fitting with the nature of this Great Plains state to keep Iowa’s dress low to the ground.

This project would not have been possible without my awesome volunteers, who spent a day with me under the hot sun, attacked by ticks and mosquitos, to make “Prairie Dress” happen. From left: Leif Zalewski, Felicia Taylor (hair and make-up), Craig Volesky, Stewart McCoy (holding the wire dress form), Cynthia Wittstruck, and Paloma Jamal Scheck.

Iowa is in America’s heartland, the great prairie lands that became the farming breadbasket for the United States. I found out during my work on “Prairie Dress” that the natural environment of Iowa has been reduced to 1/10 of 1% to make room for farming and housing. In other words, if Iowa was a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, only one piece would be undeveloped nature.



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