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Dedication Dress for D. E. Benton Water Treatment Plant

May 12, 2010

This weekend last year, The Bain Project featured artists with various installations in the ruins of E. B. Bain WTP. The City of Raleigh built the second plant, E. M. Johnson, that opened in 1967. Today, the third water treatment plant in Raleigh, D. E. Benton WTP, opened in Garner. My husband was instrumental in getting this plant up and running. The dedication ceremony was today, and life should be getting back to routine again. At least the spouses got acknowledged by one of many speakers!

I wanted to design a dress to commemorate the new water treatment plant and to incorporate elements of the particular type of treatment used. From the City of Raleigh website:

The process will begin with adding ozone to the raw water and will end with ultraviolet disinfection and chloramination. Suspended solids will be coagulated with ferric sulfate, settled in a solids contact clarifier, and gravity fed through a two-stage filtration system. The filtered water will then be disinfected with both ultraviolet light and chloramines before it is stored in a 5-million gallon, on-site storage reservoir. From the storage reservoir, water will be pumped directly to customers in Raleigh and Garner.

After I tried to decipher what that paragraph actually said, I wanted to find out what the molecular structures of some of these chemicals to see if they had potential for me to flip horizontally and vertically to create patterns or art forms. For example, ozone placed mirror image look like birds flapping their wings. I wanted those designs in or on a dress of wave and sea-themed fabric in my stash.

Now you try. Think of the ink blot tests, freshman engineering tests, or IQ problems. Here is permanganate:

Here is another one, ferric sulfate:

And ozone:

I made a bodice using an already-existing dress, and used ribbons that tied because I didn’t want to mess with buttonholes or snap tape. SO lazy. Then I designed my molecular structure patterns, the light blue background and darker blue ink color, and placement options all in PowerPoint. I then print out that one slide on special fabric that has paper attached to the back so it can go through a bubble jet printer.

I decided to use the permanganate design on the waistband and the ferric sulfate as 2 small waves on the skirt. I can’t believe I actually finished it the day before an event rather than finishing it on the way to the event!

It barely fit in the bodice because I didn’t really measure or leave room for seam allowance. Whoops! I guess I do still have some procrastination or sloppy techniques to abolish. The dress was a hit at the dedication!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    May 12, 2010 6:28 pm

    LOVE this dress! It’s gorgeous. Would love to hear more about the special paper / fabric you put in your printer.

  2. Christina permalink
    May 12, 2010 6:55 pm

    LOVE it! Would like to hear more about that special paper / fabric that can go in the printer.

  3. May 13, 2010 8:19 am

    That is AWESOME! I want a grown-up version.

  4. May 15, 2010 8:30 pm

    I love this so much! Plus you successfully answered how I can try to make shirts for my boys without the typical dinosaur/car/plane stuff on it.

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