Penny Gosselin adjusts a recycled gauze dress in the window of the former knitting store in Campbell River, B.C. on June 23, 2020. Photo by Marissa Tiel – Campbell River Mirror

Patron of the Arts hosts hat-building contest in Campbell River

Group is looking for hats made from recycled or upcycled materials and will display them downtown

Campbell River’s Patron of the Arts Society has issued a challenge tailor-made for milliners.

Heading Out In Our Hats asks community members to create a unique hat or headpiece using recycled or upcycled materials.

Suzanne Clemens, who is spearheading POTA initiatives in the downtown core, said the name of the project stems from the community moving out of the quarantine phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Two months is a long time for people to just sort of sit around,” she says, “and you know, maybe they become a lot more creative, maybe they’d like to tell us what happened in their quarantine time, or just the imagination that was spurred on through isolation.”

It’s completely free to take part in the competition and prizes will be awarded for a bunch of categories including children (one to seven), youth (eight to 15), adult (16 plus) and other groups.

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The hats will be displayed throughout the downtown core in shop windows for the latter half of June with winners chosen by July 29.

Hats can be dropped off at the former location of Ultimate Boutique Store, at 975 Shoppers Row between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on July 8, July 11, or July 15.

POTA said hats will be on display by July 17, at the latest.

The contest is also trying to encourage people to explore downtown.

The prizes won’t be monetary, rather gift certificates for local businesses in Campbell River.

POTA president Penny Gosselin said another aspect of the contest is to promote businesses alongside the arts in Campbell River.

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Last year, the nonprofit arts group that falls under the umbrella of Campbell River Arts Council, held its first-ever wearable art show. They were planning another for this year, but have rescheduled it until spring 2021.

But a display window, prepared in the space on Shoppers Row that used to house the Needle & Arts Centre, is showcasing some of the artists’ work from last year and inspiring new creative Campbell Riverites to take part.

Gosselin said that while she and Clemens were setting the space up – with a ton of support from nearby businesses – many passersby stopped to admire the work.

“We’ve had lots of people drop by,” she says. “‘Oh, you mean I could make something like that?’ So hopefully we get a whole bunch of new ones.”

RELATED: Wearable art fashion show a hit in Campbell River

The event is one of the major fundraisers for the group, which then finances art opportunities in the community. For example, the Super Heroes Drama Camps are sponsored by POTA to the tune of $1,000 that goes toward mentorship.

The hats will go up for sale with funds shared between participants and POTA.

In the meantime, you can get inspired by the outfits: Tami Bennett used leftover gauze, plaster and cotton batting to create a flowy dress; Mona Craig used beer tabs to create a shiny dress; Amy Louise’s nature-inspired creation is on display as well, made using egg cartons; the Queen of Hearts creation was made for less than $20 by Charlotte Deptford.

The creations will go be auctioned soon. Details will be released on POTA’s Facebook page.


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