Celebrating Earth Day in Style

Fashioning self and the environment

Earth Day, which was first conceived back in 1970, was intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the environment, but for most people, environmentalism was for only for flower-children-turned-tree-huggers. However, as time evolved and the awareness increased concerning the plight of our planet, many sectors--like the art and fashion community--have created their own special niche in helping preserve our fragile environment.

To celebrate Earth Day 2011, environmental fiber artist Abigail Doan and the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn have joined forces to present an art and fashion open house on Friday, April 22nd. At the fete, local artists and sustainable fashion designers will showcase their fiber, textile, and green design projects, as well as offer activities related to slow fashion strategies and environmental outreach.

Doan, recognized for her recycled fiber forms, has teamed with Bulgarian textile artist Ceca Georgieva, who has worked with nature themes for the past twenty years. The two artists, among the many participants, will explore and provide commentary of how art and fashion organically interact with the environment.

The event boasts a who’s who of environmentally activist artists and designers who are heavily involved in creating installations with recycled material and fashion made from organic materials, natural dyes and other earth-friendly strategies and solutions. Among those attending Fashioning Self and the Environment and whose work will be featured include:

Hungarian-born and Brooklyn-based Edina Edina Tokodi of Mosstika has received international recognition for her moss graphics and greening strategies in urban spaces. Part whimsical, part subversive, and always a surprise in terms of bold placement, Mosstika’s interventions encourage us to think outside the box in terms of greening our vistas and pathways. A recent Time Out New York issue featured Tokodi’s affixed, but still growing moss-shaped animals to scaffolding, fire hydrants, utility poles and other surfaces. The point of eco-art? To address urban dwellers relationship with nature, which Tokodi said, “This is the most interaction they’ll get.” On display will her moss graphics and she will discuss greening strategies in urban spaces and encourage viewers to think outside the box in terms of greening our cities vistas and pathways.

Conceptual sculptor Zoe Sheehan Saldana uses everyday materials to create a dialogue regarding our habits of consumption, adornment practices, and definitions of functionality. She will present her milkweed-filled ‘Life Jackets’ and also show guests how to make DIY flotation belts as an example of the crossover between contemporary textiles and environmental adaptation.

As a sculptor, educator, and sustainable textile expert, Rachel Miller bridges a variety of disciplines to tell a story that is rich in texture, pattern, and ecological awareness. Her work focuses on environmental patterns and how they interconnect with our own patterns of growth, departure, and ongoing rejuvenation. As an expression of ‘fashioning self and the environment’, Rachel will share videos from of her performance work as well as organic sculpture.

Environmental artist Eve Mosher and fiber installation artist Renata Mann have teamed up to debut (Intra)structures for Earth Day 2011. This collaboration features a ‘textile based plant growth system utilizing and embracing existing architecture in the city as well as the architecture of our lives.’ Seeding the City will also be shared with visitors.

Brooklyn-based artist and activist Tali Weinberg creates installations and outreach projects informed by her work in human rights and fair trade advocacy, community organizing, and grassroots development. She is a current artist in residence at the Textile Arts Center, where she is helping to establish their new natural plant dye project in a shared community garden.

Brooklyn-based designer Titania Inglis is one of the most thoughtful and talented designers on the sustainable fashion scene. Her methods demonstrate state-of-the art experimental design concepts and a production strategy geared to minimize waste and needless consumption. Titania will share designs from her latest collection as well as examples of zero-waste patterning and a-to-z draping.

Give away gifts for the event will include five copies of natural dye expert and slow fashion advocate Sasha Duerr’s book, The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes. There will also be organic treats and chilled refreshments from local sponsors.

For further information, please contact Abigail Doan, artist and curator for ‘Fashioning Self and the Environment’, via e-mail: abigaildoan@mac.com. The Textile Arts Center is located at 505 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, New York See travel directions here: http://www.textileartscenter.com/hours_directions



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