Venta Rutkauskas and her daughter

Venta Rutkauskas and her daughter

Fashion forward with a twist

Fashion trends come and go but clothing takes on a whole new meaning with the Station House Gallery’s April show What to Wear?

By Gaeil Farrar

and Monica Lamb-Yorski

Fashion trends come and go but clothing takes on a whole new meaning with the Station House Gallery’s April show What to Wear?

The sub-line says it all — “Where Art, Fashion and Stories Collide.”

Liliana Dragowska, Beth Holden, Jane Wellburn, and special guests Leah Selk and Stephanie Bird have staged an exhibition to rival any avant guard New York or London catwalk.

Some of the pieces are obviously not wearable but from the eclectic shoes and boots hanging from the ceiling to the kindling (yes wood) jacket, funky felted dresses, a VHS recording tape hat, to the flower-shirred, shower-curtain skirt flowing into a bodice made of wasp nest fibre and cardboard, this is one unique show.

The age old question of what to wear inspired these local artists to look for answers that challenge comfort levels and spark creativity exercised in all sorts of mediums — installations, felting, sewing, glass work, stencilling, photography, up-cycling, social commentary, sound, and even poetry.

From renovating thrift store finds to experimenting with original garment design through sewing, felting, and costume making this exhibition brings the artistic talents together of these women together in one space, exploring their diverse voices, opinions and flavours, their statement says.

“With each step of the clothing life cycle potential environmental and occupational hazards are being created,” their statement says.

“Maybe we should look to the dumps as our new shopping malls and slow the effects down!”

Each of the participating artist has been exploring art in fashion and design for a number of years.

Dragowska’s preferred medium is wool most often in the form of felting.

“The one thing that is predictable is that wool breaths, it’s anti-microbial, it’s water repellent, it’s light and it had a memory to assist with holding its shape,” Dragowska says in her biography.

“Almost as if it has a life of its own.”

Dragowska invites visitors to not only have a look at the works displayed but touch and feel the many textures and designs in each piece.

Beth Holden features contemporary art works and installations in this show among them her kindling-inspired jacket.

“I thought, well I light a fire everyday,” Holden said during the opening of the show earlier this month. “I make kindling like it’s nobody’s business.”

Painting, drawing and mosaic making have been Holden’s main artistic interests but she is always keen to push boundaries.

Jane Wellburn started sewing in her teens creating classic pieces such as the hair scrunchie (it was the 90s), the pin cushion, and the stuffed two-dimensional duck.

This show has provided an opportunity to connect the simple skills of sewing with the fascinating complexity of human life.

“I was thinking about fabric, repurposing and how we categorize fabric or not-fabric,” Wellburn said. “You will see a tarp even. I was trying to repurpose and use things differently.”

Selk reflects fashion in her photography.

She holds a diploma in visual arts from Camosun College Victoria and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University in Montréal and is currently co-ordinator of the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society.

“The photos are another stage,” Selk said.

“It’s been interesting to watch how the process unfolds. Watching them create the pieces and the photos are another aspect and my interpretation of the pieces.”

Stephanie Bird’s poetry, vintage doll collection and hand-made dresses add a special heritage flavour to the show.

Bird learned a myriad of homesteading skills including how to sew and knit at the elbow of her paternal grandmother in Hants County, N.S.

Her collection in this show is a compilation of her own knitted dolls and samples from the surviving collection that was knitted and sewn by her grandmother for Bird’s childhood dolls.

These pieces are symbols of maternal love, but also symbols of how crafts and skills that have survived generations have new value in our changing world where (almost) anything can be purchased, and may have increasing importance again in the future.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Members of the Tl’etinqox First Nations are awaiting word of when they will receive their second dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
‘We need the second round’: Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse questions vaccine roll-out

It’s been 42 days since Tl’etinqox First Nation members received their first dose of Moderna

A drive-thru restaurant and beer and wine store is being proposed by Broadway Landco Management Ltd. for the former Chemo RV site at 1704 Broadway Ave. South. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Drive-thru restaurant, beer and wine store proposed for Williams Lake

Owners of property at 1704 Broadway Ave. South have applied for a zoning amendment

Avalanche Canada has issued a special avalanche warning for the Cariboo Mountains effective through the weekend. (Wes Gregg photo)
The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Most Read