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Vanessa Randall of Wayne made her prom dress out of 3,000 gum wrappers.
WAYNE — Walking into the gym on prom night with a girl on his arm draped in a chewing-gum-wrapper dress was definitely different.
Max Pistner, a Maranacook Community High School senior, said he thought it was "very cool" that his girlfriend, Vanessa Randall, made her prom dress out of 3,000 gum wrappers.
Randall, a 17-year-old senior from Wayne, started collecting Wrigley gum wrappers three years ago to make the dress. Friends, relatives and co-workers saved wrappers for her.
Pistner, who lives in Manchester, said he was just glad she got the dress done in time. She started sewing it together only a week before their recent prom.
Randall said she reinforced the dress with duct tape inside along the edges and used elastic braids around the straps and collar and in between some of the chains down the back so she could easily slip into the dress.
She came up with the design after drawing sketches all year.
"I came up with how it was going to look like the week before the prom," she said. "The theme of the prom was Japanese, so I was inspired by that in making the collar and flower pattern around the middle and back."
Her father, David Randall, an artist and sculptor, said his daughter got the idea from an article she read about a Lewiston girl who made her prom dress out of Starburst candy wrappers.
"We had that newspaper article on the refrigerator. That was the inspiration for it," he said. "Vanessa wanted to do something different and came up with the gum wrappers. She was really enthusiastic about the whole thing. My only concern was that she wasn't going to get it done in time, but she kept at it."
"She has a lot of creative energy and uses it in a great artistic way," said her mother, Ellen Randall. "She is following her dad's footsteps in creating art."
She said her daughter enrolled in a yearlong internship program in Germany, where she hopes to study art. Last summer, she studied fashion design under the auspices of the Early College program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Vanessa said she will continue to fold gum wrappers into chains and turn them into her own designs, possibly one day to profit from her work.
"I have some extra that I was thinking of making corsages out of and accessories like purses," she said. "I might be able to sell them on the Internet."
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