Wearable Art Club to hold first meeting

January 14, 2003

The Wearable Art Club will hold its first meeting today, at Seminole Sampler, a quilting supply store in Catonsville. Art to wear runs the gamut from clothes to jewelry and purses, crafted or decorated in creative ways. Techniques can include beading, dyeing, patchwork, free-motion embroidery, batik and collage.

Joan Fox, co-chairwoman of the club, became interested in wearable art about a year ago. She began by learning quilting, with an eye to making interesting clothes.

"I had this idea of using fabric as an artistic medium instead of paint, " she said. "Fabric has such lush deep color, and the texture ... Well, it turns out there's a whole industry out there of people who are doing this."

"It's the creativity that's involved in putting it together," added Fox, who is a free-lance writer who lives in Sewell's Orchard in east Columbia. "I'm a beginner, and what I've done so far is make vests. Sort of like a quilt with different shapes. ... I guess you could say it's patchwork. It's actually a geometric type of design."

Last fall, she traveled to the International Quilt Festival in Houston and was amazed. "It's a huge event," she said. "There are just so many people doing so many things with dyeing, fabric manipulation and collage and beads. It was such a feast for the senses to see what everybody's doing."

Fox would like to try batik, an Indonesian technique of drawing with melted wax on fabric to resist dye, thus forming a design.

"Batiks are my personal favorite," she said. "Getting into the dyeing is something that I'd like to try, but I haven't had the guts to do it. And that's one reason to get into the club."

Fox hopes members will show their work, share information and teach their less experienced colleagues the techniques they might have been afraid to try.

The club is "sort of a reincarnation and sort of a renewal," said Linda Schiffer, owner of Seminole Sampler. Formerly one of the activities offered by the shop, the club is being reorganized by Fox and co-chairwoman Deirdre Jackson, a custom tailor who lives in Glen Burnie.

"I feel like I'm really out of my league because I'm pretty much a beginner at this," Fox said. "But [Deirdre] made a very good point, which was everybody's bringing something different to the table."

Making ordinary things beautiful is important to Fox, who moved to Columbia four years ago with her husband, Barry, and sons David, 12, and Stephen, 9.

Fox worked full time until two or three years ago, when she resigned from a marketing job at the Columbia library to spend more time with her children.

"That's what's given me time and energy really to get involved in things like wearable art," she said. "It's really been expanding my life."

The Wearable Art Club will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at Seminole Sampler, 70 Mellor Ave.

Information: 410-309-4202.

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