A unique kind of display is coming to the Parkside Gallery on Oct. 19.
Instead of paintings on display, the artwork will instead come in the form of clothing — wearable designs from natural fibres.
Claudia Ring, Kathy Mouat and Trish Chung are working together on the exhibit, each displaying a different type of wearable art.
Ring works in felt, creating skirts and jackets from unspun wool as well as “upcycled” designs she’s added her own flair to.
She’ll be putting her Canada series on display, a series of felted clothing she designed in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary to represent the country, representing the forces water, mountains and fire.
Chung’s pieces are made using raw wool and come in a paleo style, that she coaxed into the clothing’s shapes.
Mouat handspins her wool, which she knits into sweaters and vests as well as the softest of slippers.
All three use only natural fibres in their art.
“I think the process makes it unique in that I know the authenticity of the fibre, where I know it from the beginning of the fibre to the final product. My jeans or other textiles we dont really know that about and yet it’s something we wear all the time,” says Chung.
“We spend a lot of time on fashion but maybe just on the way it looks, not on how it was made or where it was from.”
For Ring, she says that wearing handmade clothing brings security.
Growing up with a dysfunctional mother, a dress that her grandmother made her brought comfort on her first day of school.
“I felt secure, I felt good because that was my grandmother’s stability, and since then that was like a protection,” she says. “Since then I’ve played with making my own clothes.”
For Mouat, working with wool is something that she says she simply cannot stop.
“I just have to do it. Forty-two years ago I saw a lady spinning wool and I thought that’s what I’m supposed to do. I haven’t stopped.”
They all agree that working with wool forces them to be creative and ingenious, sometimes getting very different results from similar starting points. But that’s part of the process, they say.
“We must all really like the process because you don’t felt or spin unless you really enjoy doing it, because the final product can be really unpredictable,” says Chung.
“I don’t want it to be consistent all the time I want it to be different,” says Mouat.
The show at Parkside is designed to be “magical” showing off their clothing from all angles in the gallery for visitors to meander through.
Part of the magic stems from the life the pieces will have after the show.
“It’s usable. You don’t just hang it on a wall and walk away,” says Muoat.
“Just seeing something you’ve made on a person is really a thrill,” says Chung.
The show will run at the Parkside Art Gallery from Oct. 19 to Nov. 11. The ladies will host an opening reception throughout the day on Thursday Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.