Sunday, September 01, 2019

ecoFAB Trash Couture Runway Show

(Above:  My three garments made from recycled materials before they strutted down the runway at last night's ecoFAB Trash Couture Trashion Show.  From left to right: Sierra Hampton in The Red Carpet Dress, Lucretia Mack in The Class of 1949, and Claire Richards Rapp in You Are My Sunshine.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

For months I've been waiting to see my creations in front of a sold-out crowd at the ecoFAB Trash Couture Trashion Show held at the Tapp's Art Center here in Columbia.  Last night was the night!  It was a grand time helping bring awareness to post consumer waste, our collective/planetary need to "reduce, reuse, recycle",  and the notion of using things at least one-more-time before letting them go to a landfill.

 (Above:  Lucretia Mack wearing The Class of 1949.)

I've blogged about most of my garments as they were made.  CLICK HERE for an early post in which I share the method used to make a rather durable garment out of vintage yearbook photos. At that time, it honestly never occurred to me that all the faces belonged to white people.  It didn't occur to my friend Sierra when she initially posed wearing the dress.  We were both rather into the creative process ... me stitching and Sierra posing.  Then, I received comments asking if I were making some sort of white supremacist statement.  I was shocked ... until I realized how very easy it was to turn this garment into a really important social declaration by adding a "Black Lives Matter" fan.  I am most honored that my friend Lucretia modeled for me.  Lucretia is older than me (though she hardly looks it ... in fact, she looks exactly like she did twenty years ago when I first met her!)  Lucretia remembers segregated schools and the difficulties during that era, both nationally and personally. 

 (Above:  Sierra Hampton wearing The Red Carpet Dress.)

I made most of The Red Carpet Dress while at the Osage Arts Community as an artist-in-residence.  I blogged about it HERE and photographed another one of the artists, Zophia McDougal, wearing the boa HERE.  Yet all the hand stitched floral embellishments and the necklace were added after I returned to Columbia.  Although I have three trash bags filled with artificial flowers (just the fabric ... already dissected, washed, and rinsed), I decided to visit a local cemetery to see if I could score a nice collection of "red ones".  I did this because I wanted to use some of the flowers "whole", not dissected.

 (Above:  A portable dumpster at the cemetery.)

I figured that around the end of April, the dumpster might have plenty of old Christmas arrangements inside it.

(Above:  My cargo van with the red flowers from the cemetery dumpster.)

I guessed right!  The photo above shows quite a nice stash of red blossoms.  There were even two stocks of glittery silver twig embellishments that were turned into Sierra's necklace.  Everything was nicely washed before I used stitched it in place!

 (Above:  Claire Richards Rapp wearing You Are My Sunshine.)

Months ago, I had no intention of making a third dress but that changed when Steve and I went to Lucretia and Steven's wedding vow renewal ceremony.  Though legally married for just over ten years, this couple wanted a real celebration and especially a spiritual commitment before God and friends. 

 (Above:  Lucretia and Steven after their wedding vow renewal ceremony.)

The entire event was ethereal, blessed, and more than a little beautiful.

How could I let go to waste the floral interfacing that served as an aisle or the seemingly miles of tulle decorating the seating area?  When everyone went inside for the reception, I found the wedding planner and asked what was to become of this material.  The answer was as expected; it was headed for a landfill.  I asked for it instead and it all went into my cargo van.

 (Above:  Recycled Bridal Party, 2011.  Blogged with plenty of images HERE.)

Even while putting the tulle and aisle interfacing into my van, I knew I wanted to use some of the leftover pieces from my Recycled Bridal Party that appeared in the 2011 Runaway Runway event.  The Main of Honor's plastic skirt was already embellished with yellow flowers.  The caution tape was already washed, ironed (on the very lowest setting, of course!), and gathered into ruffles.  The white flowers along the bride's skirt could be cut into a nice, long ribbon of flowers.  The flower girl dress was made to be very, very flexible in size.

(Above:  You Are My Sunshine in progress.)

It didn't take long to fashion the aisle's interfacing into an outer skirt with puffy tulle at the hemline.  At first I thought the white flowers would make a scarf, but they ended up on the board rimmed hat.  What I needed, however, were more yellow flowers.  This time I didn't need "whole" ones.

(Above:  Sorting through one of the bags of artificial cemetery flowers.)

I sorted through two of the three bags of already dissected, washed, and rinsed petals to find more than enough to complete the dress and to embellish the hat.

(Above:  You Are My Sunshine, hat.)

My stash of neglect yarn found at yard sales and auctions included enough yellow to make cording and the top of the hat.  The board rim was a flawed piece of mat board.  Tulle was used for the ties.  The dress came together very quickly and was lots of fun to make.

 (Above:  Lucretia at ecoFAB Trash Couture.)

Last night's runway event was also lots of fun.  Each model walked through the crowd slowly, turning on three different marks.  There's a video being made too!

 (Above:  Sierra Hampton at ecoFAB Trash Couture.)

There were also professional photographers shooting during the show ...

... but also before the show.  Each modeled garment had several minutes in front of the camera with a black back drop.  I'm sure ecoFAB will be sharing images soon.  I did manage to acquire some beforehand ... like the one of Claire Richards Rapp above by Mike Lewis.

After the show, the audience got to mingle with the models and designers.  Lots of photos were taken and everyone was so interested in the unique materials and construction methods.

(Above:  Sierra Hampton wearing The Red Carpet Dress standing with my coordinated 2D piece, A Night on the Runway [digital art in a bottle cap embellished frame] and my 3D coordinated artwork, Red: A Biomorphic Abstraction [fiber ... more carpet from the 2018 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show].)

Even though the show is over, some of the garments will be available for viewing in the twelve storefront windows at the Tapp's Art Center here in Columbia.  Designers were asked to create 2D and 3D coordinated artwork for this window installation opportunity.  This artwork was on view last night inside Tapp's.

(Above:  Three niches with my coordinating artwork.)

This is what most of my work looked like.  Missing is A Picture of a Plant which was hanging on another wall across from these three niches.  It will all be moved into the large, corner window at Main and Blanding Streets on Tuesday.  I can't wait to recreate a unique environment for this!


Caryquilter said...

Thank you for sharing the story behind the three recycled garments. They are an inspiration, and so are you.

Christine said...

Wow! What an experience. I loved every minute of this post.

Christine said...

Wow! What an experience. I loved every minute of this post.

Ann Scott said...

Beautiful and fun post, thank you for sharing!

Meanqueen said...

I had to laugh at this post. I too raid the bins in our churchyard. It's amazing what people throw away, especially between January and April. I have thought about using the petals for art projects, but I usually stick the flowers in my own garden.