A middle-aged woman with short gray hair and glasses stands in a workshop. She ties an apron around her waist. She pulls plastic gloves onto her hands. On screen text. Wende Cudmore. Alumni Spotlight.
[ Music ] >> I am from a small town outside of Buffalo, New York.
In a photo, Wende poses wearing a cap and gown as she kneels next to an older woman in a wheelchair.
I graduated IUS in 2013.
Going to college was a long-time goal of mine.
I was scared to death when I went to school.
Going back when I graduated from high school, I didn't like school.
I wasn't interested in school.
And my counselor pretty much told me, you know, you're not college material.
So I had that in my head for many years.
And so when I decided that I was going to prove this counselor wrong and prove it to myself that, you know, I could do this if I wanted to.
And so that's how I started wanting and then going to school.
And IOS, the moment I walked in there, it was where I needed to be.
Wende lays out a square of white fabric onto a table. Later, she places two square boards of wood sandwiching a piece of fabric onto a stack of other boards already positioned beneath a wooden press.
And working in the print print shop, I also took paper making classes.
And through paper making -- which is also a process of pressing fibers -- I started working with fresh fruits and vegetables, and I would pulp them and make them into paper.
And then being inquisitive as to how I could push that even further, I continued and found a small article on pressing fruits and vegetables.
She slides blocks of wood over the wooden boards. She cranks the handle at the top of the press, lowering the press onto the boards.
I couldn't find much information on it.
But what I found, I took and then took that to a different level, where it works for me.
Photos show Wende working with different textiles.
My experience at IUS was really uplifting and a really great experience.
I learned a lot.
I loved working with younger students.
They inspired me as well.
My mentor, Brian Jones, he was my professor in printmaking.
He allowed me to push the fruits and vegetables idea.
And at times he didn't know what I was doing, but he trusted that I knew what I was doing.
Abstract hats made of pressed materials adorn the tops of mannequin heads. In the workshop, Wende holds up a small green piece of paper made of pressed vegetable rounds.
I have great memories of IUS and wonderful experiences there.
On screen text. Since graduation, Wende has been creating beautiful works of art in the form of clothing made of pressed fruits and vegetables.
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Using a slotted spatula, Wende removes rounds of cut vegetables from a small tub full of blue dye. At a workstation, she layers the dyed vegetables onto a large square of fabric patterned with circles.
My process and how I preserve clothing -- because the clothing is actually made out of pressed fruits and vegetables, there's a lot of process to this to bring it to a point where it is wearable and that it's not going to fall apart or mold or anything of that sort.
Projects I'm working on right now, about three different projects.
But the most important one right now, which starts in the fall, is I have been working the last seven years for KMAC Couture, Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts.
They do a runway show every April for their fundraiser.
And so I've been honored enough to have my garments shown in the show.
Photos tacked to a wall show models on a runway wearing colorful, flowing garments. Another photo shows Wende fitting an intricate headpiece onto a model's head. Long leaves dyed deep purple, green, and blue stick up like a mohawk. Lighter green rounds run along the side of the leaves.
What I enjoy most about making the clothing is, number one, the process.
A large square of white fabric lays on a table. Colorful pressed vegetable rounds are arranged into the image of a sun on the fabric. Wende removes a round and runs a brush over the back of the round before pressing it back onto the fabric.
Although in the beginning, the process can be a little tedious and boring, because of having to be on top of the pressings.
Pressing fruits and vegetables, you must change them twice a day in the press in order for them to start drying or to the point where I can sculpt them or mold them.
Wende places wax paper over some of the rounds on the fabric and runs a roller over the wax paper.
So that part, the process part, and then seeing the end result.
She holds up a skirt. Pressed square strips of blue and magenta extend from the waist to the the mid-length of the skirt. The bottom half of the garment is covered in orange rounds. later, she holds up a long strip of white fabric. Vibrant, differently-sized circles of blue, orange, and green pattern the fabric.
I think the end result just excites me, and then I want to do something more.
I would like to expand my work.
I have these ideas of these pieces being in museums.
They're uniquely made.
They're one-of-a-kind pieces that I don't know of any other artist that's doing it at this degree.
Wende holds part of a colorful dress on a mannequin. Reminiscent of stained glass, the dress is covered in colorful squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles. A similarly colorful wide-brimmed hat sits on the mannequin's head.
Of course, I would like to sell some of it.
But I also would like some of the proceeds to go to organizations that help with homeless or the people that need food and stuff like that.
Wende smiles in front of a large work table.
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On screen text. Indiana University, Southeast. I U S dot E D U.