Sixteen creative kids attended an intensive, two-week Fashion Camp at the Ogden Museum to learn how to use recycled materials to make artistic, out-of-the-box costumes inspired by the museum’s artworks.
As a finale, campers showed off their creations in a runway and dance performance in the stately Patrick Taylor Library before an audience of admiring friends and family.
Taught by Alison Parker, founder of ricRACK, a costume recycling nonprofit, and Liese Weber, a dance instructor, the summer camp program explored fashion history, including aspects of style, silhouette, texture, line, repetition and color with an emphasis on repurposing existing materials and working with found objects. They also learned costume-making techniques using gel glue, dyes, fabric paints and a sewing machine.
Initially, campers studied six selected paintings, channeling “their own interpretations of the works into their designs,” said Ellen Balkin, Ogden’s education coordinator.
After expressing their personal reactions to each piece of art, the children translated those feelings into their own costume designs.
“They learned that every brush stroke or color or detail an artist adds is a choice that helps them tell their story to the audience,” Parker said.
“They sketched mostly the human figure and practiced getting the proportions of the figure correct. We asked them to incorporate some of the themes of the paintings — repetitiveness, bold colors or textures — into their fashion designs,” she added.
The show began with campers swathed in repurposed batik and dye pillowcases doing an Isadora Duncan-like dance to mellifluous music inspired by Will Henry Stevens’ paintings of the Mississippi River.
Tango music and bullfighting flourishes were evident in “Magnolia,” featuring capes fashioned from repurposed skirts and inspired by the artwork of Jack Niven.
Designs created with stencils and paint mimicked patterns and winged shapes of pelicans from watercolors by naturalist painter Walter Anderson.
The children were tasked to choreograph moves that could complement the fashions. They also needed to cooperate, share ideas and strike a model’s pose.
“I learned how to make different things out of things that are old,” said Harper Staton-Todaro, whose dress was adorned with paint, ribbon and felt.
Harper pulled her grandfather from the audience to strut with an umbrella in the second-line parade ending the show.
Her parents, Allison Staton and Craig Todaro, were visiting from Dedham, Massachusetts, so their sons Wyatt and Foster could attend the three-week Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Jazz Camp.
“New Orleans in the summer is the best-kept secret,” Staton remarked.
Other campers included Grace Rose Bauer, Lily Beadle, Corinne Bowen, Emery Doga, Sofia Griffin, Kyrielle Grillier, Jeremy Grimes Jr., Sophie Haab, Lynn Mary Hammel, Ani Mitchell, Malaya Mitchell, Delia Pirtle, Nehemiah Prater, Sadie Silverman and Isabella Wollfarth.