An online zine from Arts Writer, Ashley J.

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Accidental Collector. A Guide to Wearable Art

Wellington, New Zealand’s World of Wearable Art Show, a sculptural design competition founded in the late 80’s by sculptor & arts entrepreneur Dame Suzie Moncrieff, crept into this writers’ consciousness right around the time of NEXT LEVEL, another wearable art event at Dallas’ WAAS Gallery where, in collaboration with PussyPowerhouse (described as a community of people who are joining forces to celebrate women’s power.) collaborative works of artists making strides in both design & performance could come alive.

Photo Credit: C. Minor Christensen

Photo Credit: C. Minor Christensen

While NEXT LEVEL is a considerably different sort of gallery show for Dallas, WOW is a longtime New Zealand tradition with a dedicated museum where meticulously crafted garments coming from designers working all over the world, can be seen throughout the year, leading up to the next WOW Art Show.

Both events represent a sort of openness to what else art can be, to blurred lines, to an interdisciplinary & multifaceted approach. Both events have brought a collection of earrings made by artists with notable pratices into a new context.

That of a collection. Curated & owned by an accidental collector.

This is an examination of that collection, & the artists behind it.

  • Tignon, a show by Dallas Biennial Artist Chesley Antoinette, introduced Dallas art lovers to the Tignon Law, by re-contextualizing and recreating, imagery of black women with hair coverings in late 18th century Louisiana.

Pictured: Earrings by Chesley Antoinette.

Pictured: Earrings by Chesley Antoinette.

Racial mixing & a population of upwardly mobile black women (building blocks for the unique history & cultural identities associated with the state today) came to the attention of Charles III, King during Spain’s rule of Louisiana.

Seeing this as a problem to be solved, & a perversion of public order & moral standards, Charles III’s appointed colonial Governor, Don Esteban Miro, saw reducing the attractiveness of these women as the solution. No more would elaborate hairstyles adorned with jewels & feathers attract the attention of white men or create competition for white women, instead, the 1786 Edict of Good Government, or the Tignon Law, would be enacted, “prohibiting Creole women of color from displaying excessive attention to dress”. The law impacted black women from all social statuses & backgrounds - Creole or not, & aimed to eliminate distinctions creating a unanimous underclass of unattractive untouchables.

The same feathers & jewels used as accouterment in the hair became accessories for the tignons, or head wraps, the women were required to wear, initiating the creation of a new sort of fashionable mode of creative expression.

This Broadly Article By Writer Jameelah Nasheed Is Great Follow Up Reading.

In addition to the recreation of imagery, the handcrafting of a series of elaborate turbans served as a visual link between the story being told & the artist telling it.

Pictured: Earrings by Sasha Fishman.

Pictured: Earrings by Sasha Fishman.

The Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen will soon welcome Fishman, who hopes to move her practice into a more sustainable space through activity such as the centers’ ceramics mold making course. This pursuit is made possible through a grant issued by the Dallas Museum of Art.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Fishman, along with Texas artists including tin Rodriguez, Rachel Wilkins, Seth Murchison, & Brooke Johnson, are currently preparing for a January exhibit titled Oozy Rat in A Sanitary Zoo, examining relationships between humans & nature, & what those relationships reveal about ourselves. Taking genetic modification, ecology - both natural & unnatural, pets, & the simulation of nature & study of natural sciences into account, the works are sure to be catalysts for a range of conversation.

You can support Oozy Rat in A Sanitary Zoo through contributing to the projects’ HornRaiser, a crowdfunding platform specifically for the projects of UT students.

  • Personal trauma & a journey towards healing told &, in a way, facilitated through literature, is making a difference in the lives of women in New Orleans, Dallas, & Belize, thanks to the mission of artist Margret Hulse.

Pictured: Crescent Moon Earring from the MPulse Studio  Creole Collection .

Pictured: Crescent Moon Earring from the MPulse Studio Creole Collection.

Profiled by a Dallas news outlet for her Love Necklace campaign, a one for one giving program with empowerment & empathy at the helm, Margret speaks of her work in jewelry design, specifically the design of her Love Necklace, as a way to increase the feeling of love, both for herself in a time when she didn’t feel it, & for the women in shelters including the Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas, SAFE Alliance in Austin, Women & Children’s Center in NO, & Haven House in Belize City, who receive a necklace as a symbolic representation that they are loved, for each one purchased.

A novelized telling of her own journey from darkness to healing was published this year (2018), & watercolor paintings in a signature style, depicting imagery tied to the artist' New Orleans & Texas roots as well as her passion for island settings, are additional elements of the telling of a singular, evolving story, being told through multiple artistic mediums.

Powerful, is a feeling that comes to mind while wearing her Creole Collection Crescent Moon earring, a statement piece crafted by the hand of an artist embodying the wonderful human capacity to take ownership of the past in effort to consciously create the future.

All photos for this piece were taken at various spots around Downtown Dallas’ Adolphus, including the City Hall Bistro bar, the French Room bar, & the area near a closed Commerce, where I’d hoped to find prints by Dallas based artist, Sebastian.

The deep metallic lip color was provided by 91 Cosmetics, an independent beauty brand based in Houston, & founded on passion.

See the entire 91 Cosmetics range here, through the official web presence for the indie beauty brand.

& catch the next WOW if you’ll be in NZ!


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