March 13, 2018

“Silk Journey”, by Christine Gauthier-Kelley | On Growing and Becoming an Artist

“Surrender” on Silk

Approaching “Silk Journey” Art Exhibition: Opening March 16 at Manchester Historical Museum – a post by Christine Gauthier-Kelley

Here we go again…..up the learning curve, or shall I say up the growing curve! My first solo full-museum exhibition of my hand-painted silks is about to launch – but this time it’s all my paintings and wall décor and all my wearable designs, hundred plus pieces! I’ve done lots and lots of shows and sent work to far-away places for exhibits and runway shows, but this is a full museum, solo art exhibition challenge. It’s my first big solo show. It’s at this time that I reflect on the forces that came before in my life that make me embrace the challenge and “Go, Dog, Go” with full confidence that I can pull it off. I’m thinking that artists have an unrecognized and difficult journey; our work has to develops artistically and change as our lives change, and we also have to keep that other side of the brain sharp and honed and ready to meet the challenges of getting our work into the world for others to share. It’s a two-fold journey with many twists, turns and obstacles to overcome.

“Love not Burden” on silk

Developing as an artist, my journey began when I was a child and one of my favorite games was to lay in the grass and cloud gaze to see what I could see. When I look back I might have predicted I would love painting images of our universe and designing wearable art; I used to raid the cedar closet (and upset many) to see what finds were there to cut up and re-configure to a new design of my own! Through the many years and other careers, I never stopped creating because of the sense of connection and wholeness it provides. My drive to work as an artist was always to arrive to a place of depth and transcendence that I could reach through my art experience. But there were always the tedious “thinking” details of medium and technique, subject, executing skills, and thinking about the outcome. And then I met Silk, the ultimate artistic experience for me. I became as free as the dye’s liquidity as it meanders where it will, flowing across the silk, and becoming one with the silk. It is ….In-the-moment…….Accepting what is…….Allowing the flow…….Go where it goes…….Freeing up from the outcome. I love this most unpredictable art form. Every piece is an experience that only gets better by letting the piece lead me as it creates itself. I see now that all the years and many mediums of the past were my “practice”. The art form itself centered me, challenged me, then freed and moved me forward artistically.

Moving my work out into the world, I’m thinking of my “other career” professional education at Northeastern University that kept throwing me into safe but pretty uncomfortable new medical practice areas, preparing me so well that I carried the Code Call Beeper a year out of nursing school. And I thank my boss David for standing me up in front of a national NIH Research Steering Committee in Bethesda MD to give a lecture to seasoned and world-renowned M.D.s, building my confidence with an audience. I’m thanking Steve who stood me in front of major pharmaceutical industry executives and told me I could best sell them our clinical research services. And Joe who sent me around the world to new corporate offices to fix and unify his company operations so it could grow as one, not 10 companies.

“Mermaid” on the runway at CWAIV by Christine Gauthier-Kelley

Yes, all that came before my silk art career, but it was seARTS and the Wearable Art Group that gave me the opportunity to bare my soul and display my entire artistic self that I’d kept on the side, in the closet, my little secret all those other years. Here I stand, a full-time artist, with this new big personal Mount Everest in front of me. But this one is so very different, because when we are Artists, our product is a bit of our innermost being and soul that we manifest, bringing it to others to share. For me my art was never about a product….it is about creation, manifestation, inspiration, the feeling of touching the very spirit of myself and others.

So I’m about to bare it all, telling my art story through my work from the time of my teen years until now. I would not have done more work to prepare even if I’d been at the MFA, because all those people in my past taught me to do it to world class perfection. In this moment when I’m pretty much “ready” to install in 2 days I want to acknowledge and thank seARTS & the Wearable Art group.  I can still remember the first time I sought to be an exhibitor and runway artist for the CWA II Fashion Show.  Chair Jacqueline Ganim-DeFalco said “Chris if you are going to do this you really need to work on a good display and have inventory. You’ll be beside the best”. I worked day and night to create to fill my display. With success under my belt I started applying for and submitting to venues, challenge after challenge, it’s gone well and my work is now international. I could just say, “good for me”, but I’m putting the Cape Ann Wearable Art initiative and seARTS on my thank you list, because they did for me just what the Mission says, encouraged me and gave me opportunities to put myself out there, to up my game, to broaden my audience, and now to stand here, unafraid to bare my soul and show it all to the world. Thank you!   More info here: Silk Journey

December 20, 2017

Celebrate Wearable Art IV: Highlights Slideshow

Enjoy these colorful highlights of each look in October’s Celebrate Wearable Art IV Runway event!  Many thanks to our talented script-writer, Maureen Aylward for these detailed and important descriptions of each work of art.  For a full set of photos, please visit Clark Linehan’s Flickr account. Here you will see 393 wonderful photos by Clark.   To see us in print, check out the Winter 2017 Issue of Cape Ann Magazine!


October 30, 2017

Jen Greeke| Inspiration & Experience creating “Paved Paradise”

Paved Paradise shared “Best of Show” honors in the 2017 CWAIV Runway Event

PAVED PARADISE represents for the designer the realities of the world and is a reflection of how she sees herself.  People and nature are echoed in the hard outer shell of the jacket and the multi-colored textured pants that focus on the wonderful “mess” we discover when we boldly take down our barriers.


“I have been participating in the seARTS wearable art shows since they started, but I usually submitted my fashion work, which is one type of wearable art. This year I wanted to do something different, a real wearable art piece. I was a bit lost on what to do, but after seeing the World of Wearable Art exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum I was excited to really challenge myself.

 I’ve always considered myself an artist and then a fashion/costume designer. The process of designing and making my Paved Paradise piece was very personal and slow, each section was inspired by how I felt that day. I knew what I wanted to say, but just how it was going to look in the end was a very stressful question mark. I knew I wanted to speak about myself and what I felt about the world in general. This beautiful mess we are and the lengths we to go cover it up with barriers and convention.  Taking this leap by devoting so much time and effort into this piece helped me realize so much about myself.  It helped me hash out what excited me about fashion design.  I found a love for wearable art and am so excited to start the next piece.  I recommend every type of artist try it out.  You might be surprised!”



October 2, 2017

Celebrate Wearable Art IV: Awards Announcement

Celebrate Wearable Art IV: Awards Announcement

Our very thoughtful judging panel has their work cut out for them at yesterday’s event.  The work took Celebrate Wearable Art to yet another level of artistry and creativity.  Thank you to ALL the artists on the runway and the Marketplace for your dedication and presentation.

Here are the winning looks, descriptions, and accompanying photos.


The seARTS Best in Show – Sponsored by J. Barrett & Co.

Awarded to the Artist with the design considered by the judges to be the most exceptional overall.

Two looks were chose for Best of Show

Jennifer Greeke:

PAVED PARADISE represents for the designer the realities of the world and is a reflection of how she sees herself.  People and nature are echoed in the hard outer shell of the jacket and the multi-colored textured pants that focus on the wonderful “mess” we discover when we boldly take down our barriers.

Eileen Mueller:

Garden GLOW is a layered gown with a hand-painted garden overlay. Awash in beauty, the dress designed by Eileen Mueller creates an alluring and luminous garden in organza and silk.


Coastal Inspiration Award Awarded to the Artist with the design considered by the judges to be the most inspired for its movement, form, and texture of the coastline – Sponsored by Flagship Motorcars of Lynnfield|Mercedes-Benz

Camilla MacFadyen – Winner

Lanesville artist, Camilla MacFadyen offers four looks from her latest collection inspired by the technical drawings of Ernst Haeckle, a 19th-century German biologist, who drew single cell sea organisms and marine life.  Camilla’s looks are simple, lovely, and understated, infused with extraordinary artistic vision.

The ocean blue Hydra Coat is made of hemp and imprinted with the artist’s signature seaweed print. The exquisite embroidery is a Haeckel sea organism.  Custom glass button by Beth Williams. The dress worn under the coat is linen and embroidered with a now extinct marine organism.

The Red Algae Flapper Dress reminds us of the ever-present changing nature of the ocean and the realization that even the molecular can be manifested into fashion.

Marine Protozoa Tunic is modeled after a traditional Japanese work apron. Note the simplicity of the shape matched with profound color, design, and handwork. Necklace by sea glass artist Jacqueline Ganim-Defalco.

Just for fun, the last look, Sun and Sea Tunic, is printed with bamboo and lightly beaded for sparkle.


Sonja Grondstra – Honorable Mention

Ocean Angel is a stunning original work of art by jewelry artist Sonja Grondstra: Three types of seaweed, dipped in rubber and then cast in silver, adorn the organza train designed by Amanda Mujica. A beach glass and silver belt, seaweed necklace and earing set, and sea glass ring complete the look. Our model, Sandra Kalambayi is originally from the Congo. Last year Sandra, her mother, and nine siblings fled from Uganda. The family resettled in Lowell thanks to the International Institute of Lowell, the oldest resettlement agency in Massachusetts.


Eco – Upcycled Award – Sponsored by the Common Crow Natural Market

Awarded to the Artist with the design considered by the judges to be most innovative and made from “green friendly” materials that would otherwise be discarded.

Barbara Poole – Winner

It’s felt artist Barbara Poole’s “Ode to Basquiat [Baskia],” dedicated to and inspired by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat [Baskia]. Using vintage, damaged garments, Poole hand-felted this distinct look and hat.

The Coat is a deconstructed vintage 80s leather coat. The back and sleeves restructured with hand-made felted merino wool, silk, cotton, and machine embroidery.

The Hat is hand-felted using a traditional wet felting technique called Nuno.The Dress, entitled “Grab This,” is a seamless reversible dress in red and black, hand-felted using the Nuno technique.

Susan Maserek-Wilson – Honorable Mention

Dark Roast is a 99% recycled, reused, post-consumer waste jacket made from mylar coffee bags and other materials that would otherwise be in a landfill.

·       Mylar coffee bags are quilted, sewn, and painted into a leather-like motorcycle jacket and matching over-the-knee boots that lace all the way up the back.

·       The jacket’s back panel is silver mylar coffee packaging featuring an original embossed alcohol painting of a canna plant.


Architectural Award – Sponsored by Epstein-Joslin Architects and the Hamilton Group

Awarded to the Artist with the design considered by the judges to be the most inspired by the concept of wearable sculpture incorporating structure, shape, and form

Pavlina Gilson- Winner

Modern sensibility clearly shines in these two looks from her latest collection. The statement wool black and white coat with hand-sewn couching was inspired by a medieval castle.

Gilson’s playful polka dot dress is a throw-back to the 1950s style and evokes swing, fun, and sweetness.

Sage Floral Studio – Honorable Mention

Sage Floral Studios’ look is an elegant monochromatic scheme of fresh florals. Winter white oak leaves and hanging amaranths are fashioned into this whimsical gown. The sprightly floral necklace makes this piece fit for fairy tale nuptials!


Student Innovation Award – Sponsored by Bank Gloucester

This award crosses all categories and is awarded to a student Artist with the design considered by the judges to be the most exceptional.

Queen Allotey-Pappoe MassArt student.

“Midnight Blue” from Queen Allotey-Pappoe, is a fantasy evening dress made from braided hair craft materials and tinsel pipe cleaners. The design incorporates West African hair-braiding and weaving techniques – an art form passed down from mother to daughter over generations.

The dress is designed to mimic ocean waves alight with shimmer on a moonlit night.  Queen designs children’s wear as here modeled by the adorable Genesis.

Alexandra Faszewski – Honorable Mention –Lasell College

The Onigiri [o-nigiri] Dress is influenced by Japanese culture and fashion. Alexandra Faszweski designed this linen dress based on onigiri [o-nigiri], a triangular rice ball that she often ate while in Japan.


Honorable Mention Winners Sponsored as a whole by the Beauport Hotel  Many thanks to our incredible judging panel!


September 26, 2017

Celebrate Wearable Art IV: A Runway Full of Surprises, Delights, & Wardrobe “Must Haves!”

Celebrate Wearable Art IV: A Runway Full of Surprises, Delights, & Wardrobe “Must Haves!”

The Celebrate Wearable Art runway is a highly imaginative place.  Artists conceive their pieces and then start to work for two full years – most do not reach completion until a few days before rehearsal.  Even most of us “insiders” are completely surprised the day of the show.   This is one of those rare occasions where you can “dream something up just for the sake of dreaming it up” in the words of our Chief Curator, Martha Sutyak.

Models and Artists gather at the Charles Fine Art Gallery to prepare for the Auction photo shoot!

But there’s so much more to the story.  In fact, so many unfold through the creation of a piece of wearable art.  The luminescence cast by CWAIV lasts for two years…or more.  Many who loved the show in 2015 were ready and waiting for 2017!   Whether it’s your first time or 4th, you will see that there are hundreds, possibly thousands of volunteer hours from people working behind the scenes that come together to create this extravaganza!

We invite you to experience the beauty, the fun, the wonderful room full of people dedicated to raising the bar for their “craft” whatever it may be and those who support and wear “us.”   Here are some snippets to entice you…..direct from the artists’ applications!

  • This is a mythical, fantasy evening dress made from braided hair, craft foam and tinsel pipe cleaners….this piece exhibits the mystery of nature by the use of braid patterns and tinsel to mimic the waves and shimmer of the ocean on a moonlit night.
  • Our piece will be a casual evening dress. Form fitted, classical lines of mixed materials: primarily wire, polymers and natural fibers. The intent of this art piece will convey the expression of her secrets and be comfortably worn, day or night.
  • My look is called Obsolescence. I’ve become fascinated with things that aren’t used any more….
  • I am continually inspired by Cape Ann, its history, personality, and beauty. I intend to make a small collection that can portray this, while still capturing a modern ready to wear aesthetic.
  • This piece is an homage to the women of the 50’s who dressed to entertain in their home….. When you look at it, you will see it looks like lace!  [but it’s far from it….]
  • My idea is inspired by Venus on the Half Shell……
  • My garment will be made from luxurious Hand-painted Silks, depicting actual locations in space, and much more…
  • My entry will speak to The layers of me and to the nature of the world… people and nature alike……
  • The gown will reflect my idea about the inequality of power and money in the world…..
  • I create red carpet, bridal and runway fashion from recycled and unusual materials…
  • I am creating a garden themed ball gown….
  • Menswear!  Some of it restyled shirts with artful inserts of different textiles.   Most of it interesting clothes for men to embrace…..
Jen Greeke watching as her piece for the auction gets photographed for the Gloucester Daily Times.

This show is never the same from one event to the next.  This year’s special feature is a Silent Auction that will feature up to pieces that which will be modeled during the Marketplace hours 2-3:45PM.   The entries are from Jen Greeke, Christine Gauthier Kelley, Allison Charles, Barbara Poole, and more to come!  Check them out in Thursday’s Gloucester Daily Times!