BC Emery Photography had a dress-making party and took their newspaper dress fabrication skills to the limit with two creations, modeled by local girls.
Newspaper smudges and duct-tape fixes aside, Brad and Courtney Emery’s recent newsprint prom dress experiment was a success. They are the owners of a fairly new photography business, BC Emery Photography, in Pratt.
“We wanted to do something creative and fun to bring attention to our photography business,” Courtney Emery said. “I had seen this idea on Pinterest (online craft ideas) and thought it would be fun to try.”
Emery, who has never been a seamstress or fashionista before in her life, called her former Pratt High School art teacher, Keri Thieme, for suggestions on how she might create prom dresses out of newspapers for a photo shoot. She had plenty of newspapers, past issues picked up free courtesy of The Pratt Tribune.
“Mrs. Thieme had all kinds of suggestions of what we could do,” Emery said. “Then she told me I should try to get ahold of Jenson Maydew, who recently graduated from college with a degree in art therapy and was back in town. She loved the idea and helped us run with it.”
Mayday enlisted her younger sister, Kierson Maydew and her friend, Rheagan Hoover, to serve as dress models, and the planning and papering began.
“I know that sometimes things you see on Pinterest can turn out really bad when you try them at home,” Emery said. “But this was so much fun and it actually turned out really good. I was worried to start with though.”
When Emery’s dress models showed up at her home in Pratt last Wednesday, Hoover was on crutches with her ankle taped. She had injured herself in a softball game the evening before. Emery knew the girls would have to stand for a long time in order for the “dressmakers” to get their jobs done and wondered how this would be possible.
“She was like, ‘No worries, I got this. I can balance on one foot,’ as she hobbled in,” Emery said. “She was a real trooper and did just fine.”
It took three hours to create the dresses. Emery said they considered putting lace-up ties in the backs, but cast that idea aside as it would have added more hours onto construction time. Their goal was to simply build the dress on the model and go straight into the photography shoot from there. These were not to be dresses that could be worn more than one time.
“We had to be real careful about drinking anything or spilling water on them,” Emery said. “One of the girls was snacking while we were building and the crumbs that went down the dress just had to stay there.”
Jenson Maydew and Courtney Emery used hot glue guns and a lot of duct tape to put together their photo-shoot quality newspaper dresses. Brad Emery was assigned accessory duty and he created little paper roses for decorations and outfitted hair pieces and the shoes to match the newsprint dresses.
“We had the girls wear tight-fitting garments underneath and we just started gluing pages onto them,” Emery said. “I thought it was so cool that, in the end, you could see the page about Greenbacks ready for state on Kierson when the dress was done.”
It was almost as if the dresses could be customized to fit the girl’s personalities and accomplishments.
Helping customize hairstyles that matched their dresses was recent St. John High School graduate Leslie Ramirez. She did hair and makeup for the photo shoot that added to the final spectacular effect.
“She is so creative,” said Emery. “It was just amazing what she did.”
Ramirez plans to attend cosmetology school in Dodge City this fall.
When the dresses and hairstyles were complete, Brad Emery created a set for the photo shoot and went to work taking pictures. The hardest part of the project was getting one of the dresses with multiple newspaper skirt ruffles compressed enough to get through the door from the kitchen to the garage where the pictures were taken.
“We had a few pieces fall out and had to keep duct-taping them back in,” Courtney Emery said. “All in all it was a success. We posted it on social media and got lot of shares and comments.”
The purpose of the photo shoot was to advertise a young photography business, but Emery said they had so much fun creating the newspaper dresses that they just might do it again in the future.
“I’ve already seen some more ideas that I’d like to try putting together,” she said. “We would like to get some more people involved. It was a lot of fun.”
BC Emery Photography has been located in Pratt for one year and the couple hopes to build additional studio space on their home in the future. For now, Brad Emery is the main photographer and Courtney Emery is an English teacher in St. John. They said their recent photo shoot success could not have been possible without the great attitude and willingness of their models, Maydew and Hoover, and the creative genius of Jenson Maydew and Ramirez. And they said they have plenty of newspapers left over for the next time they decide to try making more prom dresses from newsprint.