Remember how wearing your pajamas all day, everyday became a thing during the coronavirus pandemic for many people stuck at home whether they are working or not?
This sartorial state inspired the theme of a design competition called “The Cocoon Cloak” sponsored by artist and fashion jewelry designer Judith Hendler in partnership with the Huntington Beach Art Center. Hendler, who is very environmentally conscious and incorporates used materials into his own artwork, demanded that the coats be made using only recyclable materials.
Creations by participants from two categories – community college students and members of the Art Centre’s Artists Council – are on display at the Art Center in a show that ends on Saturday, June 12.
“Cocoon Cloak” has proven to be a hit among people who do not typically frequent the Art Center, drawn by curiosity about how the designers have managed to reuse and recycle common everyday materials.
âThe show caught the attention of a non-traditional audience,â said Kate Hoffman, executive director of the Art Center.
Non-traditional? People who are not art collectors or regulars in the art community, she explained.
“Like, normal people.”
Judging by comments from visitors to the Huntington Beach Art Center, including passersby drawn to a banner outside advertising the show, the skill, ingenuity and imagination put into making the 24 The capes on display are more relevant than trying to figure out a work of abstract art. They also like that the exhibit features the work of community college students.
âPeople can relate to that,â said Hendler, who lives in Huntington Beach, during a visit last week to the art center. “It’s not intimidating.”
Unlike, say, abstract art.
âIt’s very popular,â Hendler added. “Amaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiai`
Yet capes are works of art, made from all kinds of fabrics and materials at hand: terrycloth towels, silk sarees, doilies, cotton work pants, old sweaters.
COVID-19, said Hendler, made us more resourceful: âIt opened up a whole new world of what I can do with what’s around me. “
Late night idea
Hendler sponsored a similar design competition last year, its inaugural effort to celebrate the overlooked talent of students in the community college system. Hendler, who turns 80 this summer, fondly remembers his studies at Los Angeles City College from a young age. She later became known for the iconic great jewelry she created from used airplane acrylic materials.
But a planned exhibition of last year’s student creations as part of the Art Centre’s 25th anniversary could not take place due to the statewide COVID-19 shutdown. The current exhibition at the Art Center, which reopened earlier this year, includes seven pieces from the 2020 competition.
There’s also a small niche in the gallery where a few of Hendler’s necklaces are locked away – like other examples of how recycled materials can be used to create art and fashion. Pairs of Hendler earrings can also be purchased, along with “Cocoon Cloak” buttons, to raise funds for the art center. Some of the unisex capes from the 2021 contest are also on sale by the designers.
The students who created the capes attended community colleges in Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego counties.
The spark for “Cocoon Cloak” came to Hendler, like many of his ideas, around 2 am. ring. So she searched for a faded lavender bed sheet among the used materials she keeps in the house and sewed the prototype for the contest.
Her cape is also in the exhibit, but Hendler wants attention to be drawn to the work of designers like Eleyna Gomez, a Saddleback College student who won first place in the student competition, an honor that included a check for $ 300. $ provided by Hendler. Second and third place winners – Loren Blackwood from Orange Coast College and Sofia Carrillo from Palomar College – also received cash prizes.
The winners in the category of Art Center Council members: first, Christie Grimstad; second, Patricia McKenna; third, Janet Johnson.
‘Surrounded by seam’
Gomez, who lives in Mission Viejo, takes styling classes at night. She has been there for over five years, working toward Saddleback’s Certificate in Advanced Fashion Design and Garment Manufacturing. She hopes to finish in 2023. It takes that long because Gomez, 40, works full time during the day – as a chemist for a pharmaceutical company.
A Canadian immigrant, Gomez’s parents are from the Philippines and focused on scientific careers for their two daughters. (Gomez’s sister is a biologist who runs clinical trials.) But growing up, Gomez said she was âsurrounded by seamsâ – her mother and grandmother were both seamstresses. As a child, Gomez helped tear the seams, but did not learn to sew.
Gomez moved to Orange County in 2009. She decided to take sewing lessons, at her mother’s suggestion, after an attempt to learn to do certain things over the phone did not work. Gomez had inherited the 1970s Singer sewing machine from her grandmother, but she now uses a Husqvarna Viking, bought from a local store where repairs can be easily done.
For his recycled material, Gomez turned to the âbig stashâ of promotional t-shirts given to him by a cousin, hip-hop DJ Rhettmatic (real name Nazareth Nirza), who runs the Beat Junkie Institute of Sound in Glendale. These colorful shirts had what Gomez describes as âamazing graffiti prints and really cool graphicsâ which she cut and fashioned into an abstract checkered houndstooth pattern. She lined the inside with end-of-roll fabric and cut the cape from gold bias tape “to bring the hip-hop feel.”
She titled her cape “Tees of Hip-Hop and Houndstooth”.
Although she has no plans to quit her profession, aware of her mother’s voice deep in her mind, winning the “Cocoon Cloak” competition and two campus awards for her designs inspired Gomez to go to Paris. for a course. in embroidery and pearls.
A quote from Gomez adorns the wall above his cape at the Art Center: “Versatile, durable and flying – the design and construction of this cape happily reminded me of where I was and how far I am.” go. “
If you are going to
- When: Tuesday to Thursday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 12 pm-6pm; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., with a closing celebration of the exhibition from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Where: Huntington Beach Art Center, 538 Main St., Huntington Beach
- Info: 714-374-1650 or huntingtonbeachartcenter.org.