Megan Mackenzie Jones has designed Freedom (show by Danielle Cameron)

WAG waves goodbye to change, returns to roots

Looking to sell out once again, the Wearable Art Gallery returns to its old venue and spring showtime.

  • Thu Mar 24th, 2011 5:00pm
  • News

The antler lapels and fury hoods may not scream recyclable, but for Megan Mackenzie Jones the discard remnants used to make these pieces are just the reusable materials she needed to land a spot in this year’s Wearable Art Gala.

The Alternator Gallery for Contemporary Art is attracting attention far and wide for the event this year, which is running with a recycling theme.

Mackenzie and her models, for example, are driving in from Alberta to be in the generally local show.

“I found the application online and I figured it was an open call for anywhere,” she said.

The young artist is a recent graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design and assembled the pieces for the school’s wearable art show last year. By the end of next month she will have added another seven models to the ensemble she’s showing in Kelowna and will debut the new work at Toronto’s Alternative Art and Fashion Week.

“I graduated in jewelry and metals, so this isn’t necessarily my field. It’s just really my hobby,” she said.

All the same, the flora/fauna nature theme to her wearable art spins nicely into the earthy feel of the jewelry line she plans to launch this spring; shows like the Wearable Art Gala will help get her name out there before the pieces are revealed.

Spending the last two years collecting the feathers, antlers and scraps of lace she needed to build her pieces, MacKenzie said it was pretty nice to see it all come together.

Reasha Wolfe has already watched her work come to life on the Kelowna stage.

Last year she brought Ancient Goddess Within up from Penticton and said she learned a lot from the experience—both what to do and what not to do.

“I basically wanted to participate this year because I learned so much last year that I felt I wanted to give it another go,” she said, noting one key lesson was to choose her models carefully.

Known for making big statements with her work, Wolfe said she decided to take a step back for her own mental health and go with a simple escapism theme. Fans of her work will be treated to a dragon made of tetra packs and three fairies pulled together with plastic grocery bags and newspaper clippings.

With the recycling theme and focus on nature, it is perhaps apropos that WAG 2011 is returning to its own roots this year as well, going back to the Mary Irwin Theatre, where it had previously sold out, and sticking with its original spring timetable.

A disappointing turnout last year got the organizers rethinking everything from the venue to the participants, event coordinator Monica McCosh said.

By moving the show back to the spring from last year’s summer showing, the gallery will be able to reconnect with the university crowd and draw on the work of students who made pieces in school, rather than aiming strictly for professional artists.

UBCO Professor Michael V. Smith, who also launches a book this spring, will act as master of ceremonies and the university’s creative and critical studies department is sponsoring a People’s Choice Award with a cash prize of $500.

Other prize sponsors include Urban Harvest’s $200 cash award; an Opus Framing & Arts Supplies package; Ballet Kelowna & the Kelowna Art Gallery’s “Arts” package; and Rollingdale Winery & Mosaic Books donating door prizes. The Wearable Art Gala runs Saturday, Apr. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Tickets are available at www.selectyourtickets.com.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com