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I have had the honor of being invited to several artists residencies, lectures on my work and upcycled workshops so far this year. Here is an account of my recent activities!
(Additional photos of my adventures can be seen in the links below to my facebook page. While looking at the photos PLEASE DO ME THE FAVOR of “liking” my facebook PAGE (not just the photos), I am almost up to 1,000 likes– Thanks a bunch!)
University of Wisconsin in Madison – February 18 to 20, 2014
This visit was planned in conjunction with the next showing of my traveling exhibition ReDress: Upcycled Style at the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau Wisconsin, April 12-June 15. During my exhibition the museum will hold an upcycled fashion show featuring work created by UW-Madison Textile and Apparel Design students. In preparation for the fashion show in May, I spent 3 days on campus with the students. I gave several lectures sharing photos of my work; stories of my progression as an artist and environmental advocate; advice on being an entrepreneurial artist; and techniques, tools and safety tips for working with waste materials. I also spent two days in the studio with the students learning about their design ideas for their upcycled fashions and giving suggestions where I could.
Jennifer Angus, the Textile and Apparel Design Program Coordinator and Professor hosted my visit. Her work will also be featured at the Woodson Art Museum at the same time that ReDress will be there. It was a joy getting to know Jennifer and learn about her fascinating work creating elaborate patterns of meticulously pinned insects inspired by Victorian collections and textiles highlighting environmental issues – habitat loss and the importance of the insect world in an ecosystem’s health. Take a look at her intriguing work!
The UW- Madison is a very inspiring and progressive community; it was an honor to work with and get to know the faculty and students! See more photos of my time at the University. And thank you to my friend Heather Swan for hosting me in her lovely home!
Hatch Creative-reuse Art Festival in Champaign, Illinois – February 28 to March 1, 2014
I was invited to be the artist in residence for the second annual Hatch Art Festival that features a juried art show, trash fashion contest and art fair. My residency started off with a wonderful day at the Garden Hills Elementary School giving two assemblies to 5th and 6th graders. Teacher Magen Barber and I co-created a day-long project that consisted of working with 6 classes to create up-cycled “flags” with eco-pledges made by the students. See more photos of my day with the students.
That evening was the juried upcycled art show opening reception that featured two of my sculptures, the Aluminum Drop Dress and the Faux Fur Coat, along with many wonderful pieces from local artists. The local paper ran a story about my work and the festival that you can read here. As a side note, the reporter for this article, Melissa Merli, had interviewed me in Washington DC at President Obama’s first inauguration when I was showcasing the Change Couture Collection at the Green Inaugural Ball. What a coincidence! It was fun to share memories of that very special time that culminated in my piece, the Obamanos Coat, being accepted into the Smithsonian Museum’s permanent collection!
The next day I gave two workshops. In the morning we had a fun time transforming old worn T-shirts into scarves, dog toys, hats, etc! In the afternoon I worked with another group to create a backdrop for the trash fashion show from used coffee sleeves. That evening I gave a lecture about my work in the local library, followed by a delicious dinner with the very special people that organize and support this event.
The Hatch Art Festival and my residency were produced by The I.D.E.A. Store, a creative-reuse marketplace. If I were queen for the day I would decree that every city, town and village should have such a store. They accept items from homes and businesses that might otherwise be thrown away but can be reused by artists, seamstresses, tinkers and all other creative types. The energy in the store is all abuzz as people get excited and inspired by the multitude of well organized treasures rescued from the landfill. See photos of the store here.
It was a very full two days that left me energized from meeting so many wonderful, creative and fun people. And I must thank Shauna and Cliff Carey for hosting me the entire time in their beautiful home! View more photos from my Hatch Residency here.
Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond VA – March 4, 2014
I was invited to be a speaker in the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Chautauqua Lecture series. Chautauqua was an adult education movement in the United States, that first took place in New York in 1874. Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying that Chautauqua is “the most American thing in America”. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day. The Eastern Kentucky University Chautauqua Lectures are 10 years old and each year has a theme, this year it is: Beauty Matters. My lecture was called “Recycle Runway: Environmental Education through Beauty”. I discussed how the beauty and glamor of my upcycled fashion sculptures capture people’s attention, allowing me the opportunity to raise awareness about today’s pressing environmental challenges and hopefully inspire action. Read a lovely article about my talk here.
In conjunction with the lecture I also gave an up-cycled derby hat workshop with art students, professors and community members. I was amazed at the range of styles that participants made! On my way out of town my host Alice Jones showed me some of the beautiful horses that run in the Derby races. It was fun to see the expansive horse farms as my plane took off. I wish I could see some of the upcycled hats being worn at the derby events!! Hopefully some of the participants will send me photos, meanwhile here are some photos from the workshop!
Woodson Art Museum Exhibition and Artists Residency Wausau, Wisconsin – May 1 to 4, 2014
My next residency will take place in conjunction with my exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum. I will be giving several workshops and lectures as well as helping to organize and emcee the upcycled fashion show showcasing the UW Madison student work described above. Below is a flyer outlining all my activities during my upcoming residency, I’m very excited!
Thanks to everyone who made all these trips possible, I feel so fortunate to be doing this work and having the honor of meeting so many fantastic people!