The Butterfly Dress, by artist, Professor Sam Norgard, embodies the notion of beading for a purpose. This work brings Prof. Norgard’s private studio knowledge, technical know-how, and content investigation into a collaborative process. The piece is a result of a process among many women to support The Batey Girls; a group of women and girls at risk of sex trafficking and domestic violence, in the Dominican Republic.
Utilizing Prof. Norgard’s iconic wall mounted steel framed sculptural dress form, a foundation for the collaboration was created. Bead embroidery creates the bodice whilst a bouquet of French beaded components creates the “grass” skirt that is populated with numerous bead embroidered blue butterflies. SCAD students flew Prof. Norgard’s blue butterfly prototype to the Batey Girls in the Dominican Republic. The students taught Prof. Norgard’s process to the women. You now see these forms nestled in the skirt’s densely beaded forms created by members of the Coastal Bead Society and the Hilton Head Bead Society. The butterflies, made by women in the Batey, land on packets, made by women in the U.S. In the packets we find written dreams of the Batey women. A beautiful supportive vision reflecting “beading for a purpose.”