Enter the Foyer Gallery in September and you might recall a well-known phrase, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”
The Wizard of Oz is the classic story of a young Dorothy and her dog Toto being whisked away in a tornado. Everything they had been searching for they can find within themselves just like local artists Karen Yaremkewich and Kylie O’Grady, who have paired up to explore this timeless theme by using remnants, scraps or odds and ends to create enlightening, artful pieces.
Contemporary handmade assemblages take you on an extraordinary journey to the strange “Land of Oz,” complete with the Emerald City, wicked witches, scarecrows, and bricks from the yellow road.
Yaremkewich comes from generations of textile artists and dressmakers. She first learned to sew from her Oma (grandma) who created everything from repurposed materials. Back then old things were taken apart and sewn into something new again, which is exactly what Yaremkewich does now — upcycle.
“I consider myself an eco-artist because I run a zero-waste business. Like my grandmother, every little bit gets used up,” she says.
With a huge passion for costume making and a love of fairytales and classic movies, Yaremkewich creates denim “art wear” jackets, deconstructed linen coats or dyed and upcycled thrift shop wedding dresses. She admits that some of her more elaborate mashed-up garments are challenging and take months to complete.
“I will get an idea or a vision, then I need to find the pieces to complete it. The Upcycled Dorothy Wedding Gown was made from a silk cocktail dress that I found in April at a bridal event,” she says.
Yaremkewich used the sample dress as a foundation and then collected vintage lace, embroidered table linens and men’s blue checked button-up shirts to add augmented layers.
Yaremkewich is honoured to be currently making performance wear for fiddler Jocelyn Pettit and for the future she has her sights on doing runway gowns and stage wear for theatre and film. Yaremkewich is also an Artist in Residence at Squamish Rebuild, our local second-hand building supply depot, showcasing “Mosaic Fusions” featured in the Squamish Artcrawl, with an open studio on Sept. 21 and 22.
Visit her online store at http://www.etsy.com/shop/enduredesigns
Self-taught, frenzied and experimental, Kylie O’Grady has been doing art forever. She admits, “I simply design beautiful pieces I would want to hang on my own walls.”
In the current series her creative process presents textural, delicately layered watercolour petal cutouts embedded in smooth resin and mounted on board or within recycled drawers. O’Grady explores the subtle variation of colours in each piece with a relationship that ties into their playful theme such as the flowing path of warm, golden petals symbolizing an interpretive “Yellow Brick Road.”
O’Grady uses her manic desire to explore different avenues and methods. Her work has evolved with her passions for crafting and outlandish hair art. Constantly growing, O’Grady is ready to move on to her next artistic endeavour, with plans to work bigger within a new medium for her — stainless steel.
Contact her at email@example.com
“Remnants of the Emerald City,” featuring the artwork of Karen Yaremkewich and Kylie O’Grady, is on display at the Library Foyer Gallery until Sept. 30. You are invited to their lighthearted artist’s reception on Tuesday (Sept. 10) from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gallery.
Toby Jaxon is curator of the Library Foyer Gallery. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org