Milk cartons, paint sample cards and wood veneer: None of these sound like something you would wear (at least not in public), but three local artists managed to turn these materials into winning dresses in the Wearable Art Extravaganza, held Saturday and Sunday at Centennial Hall.
More than 30 artists participated in last weekend's contest, the 10th annual, and the winners were announced Monday.
The People's Choice Award went to "Wallflower," a gown made from paint sample cards, satin, tulle, chicken wire, batting and cotton muslin, designed by artist Lauralye Miko and modeled by Amy George.
Miko, who also entered a piece made from x-ray film called "Sweet Transparencies," credited her model's stage presence with helping her win - George danced and sashayed down the catwalk, looking like she was having a great time.
"If I had a different model it might not have had the same impact," she said.
Miko, a recent UAS graduate who now works for the housing department, said she loves having a chance to flex her creative muscle through the Wearable Art contest. And although this dress proved difficult to execute - at one point she set it aside for a month because she was so frustrated - in the end, she was pleased with the result.
"It came out better than I expected," she said.
Second place honors went to "Milk Maid," a dress made of plastic milk cartons designed by Kathy Karchner. Like Miko's piece, Karchner's dress has a lot of swish when worn on the catwalk, in this case by Karchner herself. The artist said this was achieved by attaching each element individually with dental floss to a layer of screen underneath.
Karchner said she wasn't sure where the inspiration for the milk carton dress came from, but that she remembers being impressed by a dress she saw at Wearable Art a few years ago made from Empire plastic bags. The idea that the artist took something she already had lying around to create her piece really resonated with her.
"Milk Maid" was her first-ever entry, and coming in second was a pleasant surprise, she said.
"It was a surprise, it was fun and I'm happy to have had my 20 seconds of glory," she said.
Third place went to "Wooden Warrior," a wood dress designed by long-time participant and frequent award-winner David Walker. Elizabeth Davis was the model.
Last year, Walker's entry, "Lady of the Wood," a wooden replica of a 17th century ballgown, won first place in Saturday's show and went on to win the top award at the World of WearableArt show in Wellington, New Zealand.
For more photos, visit www.juneauempire.com.
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