Works by five textile artists unveiled last week in Sechelt provide a beguiling rebuke to frenzied and short-lived cycles of commercial fashion.
The Slow Fashion + Climate Action exhibition opened at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre with a crowded public reception on April 21. The show, presented in collaboration with the FibreWorks Society of Madeira Park, features garments and other textiles created by Amber Freidman, Ann Harmer, Catherine Nicholls, Natalie Grambow and Sandy Buck.
“Seeing the quality that up-cycled and repurposed materials can reach has been insane for me,” said Emily Picard, the Arts Council’s design and communications assistant — and curator of the show. Picard formerly participated in a program that paired Sunshine Coast textile artists with young designers to explore techniques that breathe new life into old clothes.
“We saw little examples of tips and tricks in the class,” added Picard, “and here [in the exhibition] you can see how small things add up, and the level of style that it adds up to.”
Picard worked alongside FibreWorks executive director Alexis Bach to interpret and display the featured pieces.
For contributor Catherine Nicholls, the reuse of woven materials is charged with historical power. She uses traditional mending techniques — known as Boro, Kantha and Sashiko — to combine layers of reclaimed fabrics.
“When you’re an 18th century fisherman, you don’t have access to a change of clothes or to a Helly Hansen outlet,” said Nicholls. “You come home with a hole in your elbow and you need it mended. Over the years, through such practical mending, the things that women do became artwork and it’s just evolved. You find a way to do it artfully, using stitches used over generations, which