Threads of History: Wearable Art


by New Day Producers

Posted on May 5, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 4 at 6:02 PM


Port Angeles, Wash., – Costume designers, fashion historians, fiber artists, sewing instructors and other “fashion anthropologists” from around the Puget Sound will soon journey to the Olympic Peninsula to present Threads of History, a historic “wearable art” exhibit intended to promote an understanding of the factors that have shaped everyday fashion over the centuries, and to raise awareness of costuming as an art form in and of itself, apart from the context of stage and screen.
Staged amongst six galleries that line Port Angeles’ downtown core, the free event, featuring 135 costumes from the Tudor, Elizabethan, Restoration, Regency, Victorian and Edwardian-Belle Epoch periods (through the 1920s), as well as specialty exhibits ranging from Asian-themed costumes to Steam Punk, a sub-genre of science fiction, will take place from Friday, May 7 – Sunday, May 9. A gala opening with costume artists in period attire, some made specifically for the Threads event, will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Project Runway and Launch My Line fans won’t want to miss the Costumers Death Match, scheduled at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Farmers Market in downtown Port Angeles. Two teams of guest costume artists will receive a tub filled with various odd and arcane items that they must use to design and build a winning costume in less than two hours, using duct tape and hot glue to secure their masterpieces. Required mystery items donated by the Farmers Market will add to the chaos. Winners will be determined by applause following a runway-style presentation.
The historic fashion weekend will also feature a series of free seminars on topics ranging from “A Visual History of Victorian Underwear and Underpinnings,” with coinciding trunk show, to “Accessorizing Your Historical Costume.” All seminars will take place on Saturday between Noon and 5 p.m. at Studio Bob on East Front Street.
According to Richard Stephens, actor, costume designer and orchestrator of the Threads of History event, “clothing is a direct commentary on our society -- our values, our fears and aspirations, our desires and more. We can determine a lot about different cultures through critical analysis of the clothing worn by people in all strata of society.”
“My hope in putting together this show,” Stephens continues, “is that people will gain a better understanding of why people dress the way they have throughout time, and a greater respect for the art of costuming. It is not merely a craft, but a dynamic form of sculpture that combines design, skill and material manipulation.”
A total of 23 costumers will participate in the exhibit, with 11 remaining on site throughout the weekend to answer visitors’ questions. Artists in attendance will include: Richard Stephens, Port Angeles; Lori Edwards, Seattle; Garth Stubbs, Shoreline; Margo Loes, Everett; Amanda Harris Forbes, Port Angeles; Alisa Green, Renton; Nina Fisher, Port Angeles; Belva Bodey, Port Angeles; Carmen Beaudry, Seattle; Tammie Dupuis, Silverdale; and Deb Strub, Gig Harbor.
The main gallery exhibit, a narrative of fashion from the middle ages through the early 20th century, can be viewed a second weekend, May 15-16, at Studio Bob.
For more information, contact Richard Stephens at or call 360.775.4991.
Threads of History Weekend Line-Up
Friday, May 7                        
5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Gala Opening

Venues: Studio Bob, Art Front Gallery, Waterfront Art Gallery, Landings Art Gallery, Port Angeles Fine Art Center, Cottage Queen

Costume artists in period attire, music and light refreshments. Public is encouraged to join in the spirit and attend in costume.
Saturday, May 8
Galleries Open
Studio Bob, 118 ½ E. Front Street (upstairs), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Display: A narrative of fashion history from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century
Art Front Gallery, 118 ½ E. Front Street, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Display: Steam Punk, a sub-genre of science fiction
Waterfront Art Gallery, 120 W. First Street, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Display: Wearable Art
Landings Art Gallery, 115 E. Railroad Ave., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Display: Ethnic Historic Fashion
Port Angeles Fine Art Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Display: Floral Gallery, historic fashion with floral highlights
Cottage Queen, 119 W. First Street, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Display: 1950s Desperate Housewives
Costumers Death Match
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Port Angeles Farmers Market
Corner of Front & Lincoln Streets

Team Glitz and Team Glamour will face off to see who can create the best fashion statement from an undisclosed variety of materials in less than 2 hours.
Photographers’ Art Walk
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Departing from the Landing Mall on Railroad Avenue, next to the ferry terminal.

Guided gallery tour; photographers invited to shoot the collection.
Free Fashion and Costuming Seminars
Studio Bob
118 ½ East Front Street

In the Artist Studio:
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.          Completing the Look – Accessorizing Your Historical Costume
                                    Presented by Garth Stubbs and Richard Stephens
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.            Re-Cutting Modern Suits into Victorian Styles
Presented by Amanda Harris Forbes and Alisa Green
2 p.m. – 3 p.m.            Dyeing, Ageing and Distressing Effects for Your Costume
Presented by Amanda Harris Forbes and Richard Stephens

In the Studio Bob Lounge:
12 p.m. – 1 p.m.          Seventy Years of Victorian Fashion – the Major Silhouettes
                                    Presented by Lori Edwards and Margo Loes
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.            A Visual History of Victorian Underwear & Underpinnings
Presented by Carmen Beaudry

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.            Soiled Doves – Working Girls of the Old West and What They Wore
                               Presented by Carmen Beaudry and Lori Edwards
4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.       European High Fashion of the 13th & 14th Century
Presented by Richard Stephens, Deb Strub, and Tammie Dupuis
Sunday, May 9          
Galleries Open
Studio Bob, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Art Front Gallery, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Waterfront Art Gallery, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Landings Art Gallery, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Port Angeles Fine Art Center, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cottage Queen, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 15, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. & Sunday, May 16, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Studio Bob
Main gallery exhibit, a narrative of fashion history from the Middle Ages through the early 20th century, open for viewing.
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