The Wearable Art Extravaganza in Juneau, Alaska is winter’s favorite art project! There are several cities across the State that host a Wearable Art Show including Ketchikan, Sitka, and Anchorage. Juneau’s show (in my biased opinion) is one of the best! Although Ketchikan’s show doesn’t mess around, they were the first to host the show in the state so it’s only natural that they storm the runway with some of the most creative pieces you’ve ever seen!
I have participated in the show twice now, it is an incredibly time consuming, creative, and amazing experience to be involved in. The artists are dedicated to their pieces and some have gone on to compete at other shows across the country, and a few that have even placed internationally! Just to be in the same show as some of these artists is very exciting and exhilarating!
Technicolor was the theme in 2014 that inspired the first piece. I had sketched up an idea that involved old school technology mixed with bright colors. After realizing the amount of work involved, I wasted no time in asking one of my best friends, Veronica Lietz, to help build the dress. It was great, we worked well together and brain stormed the best way to construct the dress, and letting our imaginations flow we created a piece that was unlike anything anyone had ever seen, and it was truly a masterpiece.
For the bodice, we used magazine clippings, clipping everything from gems, to nail polish, anything that was extremely girly and fabulous, we clipped and formed a mosaic of these clippings for the corset-styled top of the dress.
The bottom was made with floppy disks! Not the new and improved ones, I’m talking ones from the late 80’s. They proved to be a great medium since they were flexible and could be molded and shifted around to create a layered skirt. Some disks were painted, others glittered, one or two with magazine clippings, and a few that were left black. I attempted to bid the disks on Ebay but was beat out one three different occasions! I ended up ordering new ones off of Amazon, I laugh every time I think of this, seriously though, who needs floppy disks in this day in age?!
After two month’s worth of work the dress was completed and stormed the runway with the song, I Love It by Icona Pop which got the crowd to their feet with their lyrics singing, “I crashed my car into the bridge, I watched, I let it burn” and “You're from the 70's, but I'm a 90's bitch.” A great pump up song that people could sing back to, and boy did it work! I modeled the dress and being up on stage and watching the crowd come to their feet and cheer as I pulled gold glitter out of my bra and threw it like a mad woman was truly an unforgettable experience. We did not place that year, but we did make a name for ourselves. We met some wonderful people involved in the show’s production and it’s a real honor to be a part of something so beautiful and extravagant.
Juxtaposition, the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect was the theme for 2016. This time around Veronica and I decided to create two pieces so that we could each model our own designs on the runway. Our inspiration came from drinking coffee and beach combing the shores of Southeast Alaska. We both have a great love for the sea and coffee, so our vision came naturally.
The top bodice was constructed of spray painted shells that we had collected from Sunshine Cove in Juneau. She had a deep v neckline, and gorgeous mosaic. Her colors were gold, silver, and black. The bottom of the skirt was the most intricate and time consuming part of the entire piece, spending days on end. She used several hundred coffee filters that she spray painted, rolled up, and sewed to a fishing net that was wrapped like a short bubble skirt. Veronica must have gone through over a hundred cans of spray paint in the making of her skirt taking WAY more time then she originally anticipated! But ohhh so worth it in the end!
I used a vintage fishing net as the main body of the dress and had several intricate statement pieces that brought the outfit to life. The crown was the jewel of the outfit, constructed entirely of shells, made with shells collected from the Juneau area as well. I sprinkled a few pearls in there to give it that extra mermaid-like feature. I also created a belt with similar shell mosaic style, and an armband. The back of the dress was made with strings of pearls hanging at different lengths to create movement and elegance.
We took to the runway with a song called, How Deep is Your Love by Calvin Harris. A song with a great tempo and ocean inspired lyrics that evoked movement onstage as well as our deep love for our designs.
We did not place in 2016 either, but were completely unaffected by it since the experience is what we were chasing. A creative outlet that is inspired by fashion, beaches, mermaids, and coffee – our total dream!
2017 is the year of the Renaissance theme. We are not participating, yet we have of course reserved front row seats! This year was too much, with creating the Resolute I had limited time and with every project if we can’t commit 100% it isn’t worth it. Each dress reflects talent that cannot be anything less than our absolute best. So for this year we are sitting it out, I’ll let my new business grow, and perhaps next year we’ll take another stab at it!
For those who have attended, what's the most memorable piece? Your favorite theme to date?