Eco Trash Couture
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Over a year ago I asked my cousin, Grant, and my friend, Michele, who are both police officers, if they would save “police tape” from crime scenes for me. Within about 6 months I received big tangles of yellow tape, some with stories I did not want hear. I also began gathering “caution tape” from less dramatic locations on the side of the road. A big pile of bright yellow plastic sat in my studio like a bunch of spaghetti for another year before two perfect dresses presented themselves to me.
The first was The Caution Dress. I was scheduled to give a TED talk in Albuquerque, and needed something memorable to wear. Because of the message of my talk, buying a new outfit was definitely out of the question! What should someone who designs clothing from trash wear when she is being asked to talk about what she does?Well, something made from garbage seemed pretty obvious! Further, I wanted my visual image to be a quick summary of my talk regarding my concerns about the effects that humans are having on the earth. A dress made from caution tape seemed like the obvious answer! View my TED talk and read my blog post about the experience here.
The second dress, it is called Crime Scene. It is made from police tape that reads: “Crime Scene Do Not Enter”. At first I thought it would be an edgy and fun garment, but soon I realized that this piece is very serious… for me it’s the most provocative work of art that I have ever created. It is about many forms and levels of violence: It is about sexual abuse. It is about the destructive effects of the fashion industry on the people who grow, sew and model clothing as well as those of us who are made to feel inadequate in numerous ways so as to “feed” the industry with consumers. It is about the destruction we have done to the body of mother earth. It is about the over 200 toxic chemicals deposited in each of our bodies from our poisoning of the earth.
No, this did not end up being a fun dress. But like many of my pieces it is deceptive. From afar people may find it to be an appealing design, and only upon closer inspection will they discover some of the deeper meanings.
Crime Scene, The Caution Dress and Eco-Flamenco, which I made this fall in Grand Rapids, will join the rest of my 18 garments on exhibit in the Atlanta Airport (International Concourse E) in about 2 weeks. They will be showcased through May of 2012 in a new case that the Airport has just built in the entrance to the concourse, at the top of the escalator.
As the year comes to a close I want to thank all of you who have supported me in many ways as I installed my exhibition in the Atlanta Airport, presented my TED talk, created new garments in Evanston, IL and Grand Rapids (Eco-Flamenco), and gave numerous workshops around the country. It was a busy year, and I could not have done it without the help and support of so many of you! I look forward to an equally, exciting year in 2012! Stay tuned….