Military Veterans Turn Old Uniforms Into Art
RALEIGH, N.C. (November 5, 2010) - "I sweat in this," former soldier Nathaly Hill said with pride as she cut up her old uniform during The Combat Paper Project at Wake Tech's Northern Wake Campus. The unique week-long workshop allows veterans to turn their old war uniforms and other clothing of personal significance into works of art. The Fine Arts Department brought the national, traveling project to Wake Tech to expose students to a technique they wouldn't normally get to see. "It's about bringing in hands-on practices to the classroom," said art instructor Ann Marie Kennedy.
Throughout the week, more than two dozen veterans and their family members cut up fatigues and uniforms, and used a portable pulping machine to turn them into sheets of paper. The paper was then personalized with words, colors and images and turned into artwork, books and journals.
"It's awesome what we are able to create with the paper," says Combat Paper Project facilitator and former marine, Donna Perdue. She says instead of ending up in a storage box or at the Salvation Army, the old uniforms are transformed into special mementos. Although the workshop can be difficult for participants, Perdue says it can also be therapeutic. "Now they can see their old uniforms in a better place- that's the beauty for the veteran."
Wake Tech student Megan Wood, a former marine and Iraq War veteran, admits it wasn't easy to cut up her uniform. "I actually became a little emotional just because the uniform had been with me and gone through so much." In the end, Wood says the process was a positive one. "I'm taking something old and giving it new life."