ACAD students showcase unique designs

Clocks, gears and bicycle reflectors aren’t things you would normally see incorporated into a suit or dress, but for a group of students at the Alberta College of Art and Design, that’s the whole point.

Sixteen artists presented their latest wearable art collection to the public at the ACAD campus.

“Wearable art is unconventional,” said Katie Nielsen, a third-year jewelry student and organizer of the event.

 “It’s where we take everyday objects and incorporate them into modern designs. We’re really taking art in a whole new direction.”

The wearable art gallery depicted the students’ creativity, where their inspiration could come from anything.

Artists invest enormous energy

Nielsen said she spent a total of 80 hours getting her clothing garments ready for the show.

“It all starts with an idea,” she said. “Then you have to draft sketches, find out where Katie Nielsen’s collection is titled: “Something old, something new, something gold, something blue.” Nielsen said she spent over 80 hours putting everything together.

Photo by Matthew Hayhurstyou’re going to get your materials from, order them, wait impatiently for them to arrive and then work tirelessly to get everything right.”

From hand-rolling individual flowers to installing a working electric clock and flickering Christmas lights, Nielsen admitted that sometimes the crazier the outfit is, the crazier she becomes.

“Artists are very different. We see things in a strange way,” she laughed. “Crazy artists we are!”

Jennifer Shea, a third-year student in the sculpting program at ACAD, had two pieces of work on display.

“They’re part of a collection called ‘We Remember,’” she said.

“The inspiration for them comes from the military. My husband was in the military, and their service means a lot to our country.”

The two dresses were created with a Remembrance Day theme. She said the whole idea was to honour the soldiers who sacrificed themselves for our country.

Jennifer Shea spent over 200 hours working on her collection titled “We Remember.” The collection was designed as a tribute to Canadian military service members who fight hard for our country.

Photo by Matthew Hayhurst“Some of them gave the ultimate sacrifice,” she said. “It’s really a memorial to a lot of people who I have never met.”

Shea said she spent over 200 hours working to get her dresses to the point of completion.

“I individually burned each of the poppies on the back of the dress. That alone took me two months to do.”

Even though she spent sleepless nights working on her clothing collection, she said it was more than worth it to have her work displayed where people could see them.

“It’s very nerve-racking. I’ve never done this before,” she said. ‘But I am very happy with the praise I have been getting. It’s been a lot of hard work, so it’s nice to see that people like what I have done.”

ACAD instructor proud of student achievements

“We have students from various departments presenting their work,” said Dee Fontans, an instructor at ACAD.

“The body is the canvas, and the idea is to encourage the students to follow their interests and to be as creative as they want.”

The wearable art gallery was inspired by Art AWEARness, a charity fundraiser in which the same students presented their latest creations in a formal runway-style show.

“After we wrapped up the show, Katie came to me and asked if we could do an encore gallery so the students could present their work,” Fontans said.

“I told her ‘if you organize and plan it, then let’s do it!’ So a week later, here we are.”

In such a short timespan, Nielsen said it was difficult to get everything organized.

“The last week has been organized chaos. I’m exhausted,” she said.

“But right now my head is in the clouds. It means so much that we can display our work to the public and just see what they think of what we’ve been working so hard to create.”

mhayhurst@cjournal.ca