The Chester County Art Association in West Chester, Pennsylvania recently sponsored a Cardboard Challenge where the only rule was that each piece had to be constructed from cardboard. After a recent trip to Mexico, where gorgeous male peacocks turned in circles fanning their feathers, I knew that my entry would be a male peacock dress.

I created "Pretty Boy" with the goal of promoting equality and getting productive conversations started. #weallrisetogether

Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
Fitting "Pretty Boy" on the dress form.
I invited a friend, who is a drag queen, to model the dress during the opening. Amie Vanite came over for two fittings and I used her measurements to make the dress.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
First step was to scavenge a refrigerator box from a local appliance store.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
Next, I cut out individual peacock feathers, painting each one.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
I punched holes in each feather using an awl then stitched them together.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
Each feather was handknotted. Lots of blisters.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
I held up the skirt to see how it looked.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
Figuring out the bust of the dress was most challenging.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
I used tissue paper to make a pattern.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
And added darts - to a cardboard dress. Crazy, I know.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
Here is an in progress shot.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
Sparkly blue glitter was added to each bodice feather.
Pretty Boy recycled cardboard challenge peacock dress by Merrill Weber
"Pretty Boy" in the Hutson Gallery of the Chester County Art Association.
I added a train to the skirt, then attached the skirt to the bodice. I made glittery buttons with elastic closures that went all the way down the back of the dress. 

"Pretty boy" took approximately two months to create from start to finish.