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Monday, March 20, 2000

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
"American Androgyne" by Ellen Hirshberg is one of the lint-
based artworks on display at Four Calling Birds gift
boutique and gallery.

Masters of the lint trap
follow their fuzzy logic

By Rod Ohira


From a distance, the white dress on the mannequin looks like it's made of fur.

But the same material Wendy Kim Meisser used to create the dress was also used by Puanani Higgins and Grant Kagimoto to make a pot of soup and small battleship, respectively.

Their works are part of the "Clothes Dryer Lint Show" art exhibit at Four Calling Birds, a second-floor gift boutique and gallery at 619 Kapahulu Ave.

This is artistic stuff, all made out of fluff.

"I've never worked with lint before," said Meisser, a clothing designer and Four Calling Birds co-owner.

"You have to be very careful with lint because there's nothing binding it. And if it gets wet, it dissolves."

Meisser laughed when asked if her work, which she calls "Dress for Less," is for sale. "The mannequin is worth a lot more than the dress," Meisser said.

The two dozen works on exhibit are notable for their creativity and many have titles like Higgins' "Lintil Soup" and Kagimoto's "Naval Lint."

Meisser and her business partners, Raymond Yamachika and Laura Chong, were brainstorming about ideas for an exhibit when Yamachika suggested using lint.

"He felt it was something accessible to everyone," Meisser said. "We checked out lint from the laundry and found it comes in sheets and had a texture to it."

Just the idea of working with lint encourages creativity, Meisser added.

"I think when you give artists a common element to work with, you're going to be surprised with what they come up with," she said.

With assistance from friends, Four Calling Birds received two bags of lint from United Laundry Services Inc., owned by first lady Vicky Cayetano, for artists to use.

Meisser needed less than half a bag for her dress.

"It didn't take long to do but it really looks like something you could wear," she said. "I just stuck lint on the mannequin."

Allyn Bromley, Don Dugal, Ellen Hirshberg of Maine, Levina Gerristen of South Carolina and Courtney Morihiro are among the two dozen artists who contributed works to the exhibit.

Morihiro -- a 23-year-old University of Hawaii art major from Wailuku, who already has earned a chemistry degree -- created an intriguing display of three lint books, entitled "Shirt Stories."

The fictitious publishing company for the lint books is "Permanent Press," she said.

The detail work of the book collection, which is not for sale, is amazing. The stories are handwritten and original, and all have laundry themes.

"I do them as a hobby and I've actually got a little library of 10 books," said Morihiro, who plans to join her family's business, Tropical Apiary Products of Maui, as a beekeeper after she gets her art degree this year.

Morihiro uses plastic Zip disc cases as covers for her books. The stories are written on paper covered with lint.

Four Calling Birds, which first exhibited the works of scrap-metal artist Marshall Fergerstrom last April, is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no admission charge to view the exhibit, which runs through April 29.

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