Back after a two-year hiatus, Wearable Arts once again amazed viewers with fiber art from the fabulous to the frivolous. Even the concept of “fiber” got stretched, with artists creating outfits out of marine debris, cereal box liners, metal cookware and coffee bags. Two shows were held last Saturday at Land’s End Resort.
“Innovation and craftsmanship on anything that’s basically walkable and wearable,” is how Bunnell Streets Arts Director Asia Freeman described the show.
Works could be finely detailed and tailored, like Risa Jackinsky’s “Sea Dreams” dress or Ann Lillian Schell’s “Passionate About Fabric” dress and her “Holiday Bolero.” Designers who have come to define what could be called Homer style — playful and feminine clothes that look good even with XtraTufs — had several pieces, such as Jen King’s zip skirts, Linda Skeleton’s “Wilma” skirts and tops, and Kari Multz’s No Apology dresses and skirts.
Homer’s knitting community also was well represented, with hand-knit outfits by Beth Carroll, Ginger Van Wagoner, Carrie Reed, and others.
Multz, who also owns The Fringe, a shop in the basement of Bunnell that sells recycled clothing as well as her own original creations, coordinated this year’s show with fellow fiber artist Lynne Burt. They also helped found the Homer Fiber Arts Collective, the group that ran Wearable Arts since 1990. Wearable Arts started in 1983 and has been run usually every other year. The collective also has helped support fiber artists in developing countries, such as the Mapusha weavers in South Africa. This year’s theme was Show Off!
“It had a lot of really nice wearable pieces, but a lot of tongue-in-cheek pieces, too,” Multz said. “It was a fun show.”
For 2013, Wearable Arts made the transition to being run as a Bunnell Street Arts Center program. The goal is to use funds raised through past and future Wearable Arts events to fund not just the show, but fiber arts workshops and visiting artists as well as special projects, Freeman said.
“This money can be set aside for fiber-related artists,” Multz said. “They can use it to bring somebody here to do workshops. I hope eventually to develop some sort of scholarship we can give away.”
Multz said she sees fiber arts as part of what’s coming to be called “the slow clothing movement,” a reaction to cheap, throwaway clothing made by underpaid and exploited workers in developing countries.
“People aren’t being trained here to sew. When you grew up, your grandmother taught you to sew,” she said. “You didn’t have cheap, disposable clothing.”
This year’s show added some elements that improved it, Multz said. Past emcee Ann-Margret Wimmerstedt returned, but with the addition of color commentator Michael Walsh and emcee Sydney Paulino, a high school student. Paulino joined fellow high school student Hannah Baird, who modeled.
“They are two high school students I have watched in my own shop,” Multz said “I loved bringing them into the show.”
Multz also credited make up artist Maura Brenin with making the models stand out.
“Everybody looked way more sophisticated and polished,” she said.
One future wearable art project Freeman said she is exploring an idea suggested by Anchorage fiber artist Keren Lowell — something like Project Runway, where artists would come to Homer and go to thrift and fabric stores and spend the weekend in teams creating outfits.
For a slideshow of Wearable Arts: Show Off!, visit the Homer News Spotted gallery at http://spotted.homernews.com/galleries/317273/
Michael Armstrong can be reached at
Disclaimer: Armstrong had a work in Wearable Arts, “R,” a hard hat decorated with marine debris toys found on local beaches.