Wearable Art Show Season

October 17, 2015
by Mary Hertert
  • Wearable Art Show Season Mary Hertert Color Creek Fiber Art Unique Custom Fiber Art

Wearable Art Garments

It’s an amazing time of the year as I get ready to show my wearable art garments on a couple of stages and relive an earlier show through video. What I have discovered in this journey towards creating daily art to wear is that there are two types of “creative processes” for me. The first, and how I started, was in creating garments that I call my runway garments. These are my “unwearable wearable art” garments. Creating this type of garment doesn’t involve precise sewing, finished edges or tags and allows me unbridled freedom of imagination and creativity that doesn’t occur when I am making something for the retail market. My Unwearable-Wearable Art is my show-off work with a chance to play without rules or expectations.

Last March 15, my garments – mostly the wearable kind, made it to Carbondale, CO for their Green is the New Black – Underground a wearable art show for designers. The results were a decidedly young feel – cut leather and dark, edgy looks. Underground meant designer garments thrust into rebellion, anti-establishment milieu through dance, music and performance. Although my garments would not necessarily say “dark and edgy” – the staging gave them that feel. Watch for yourself in this delightful video from the show.


In designing runway garments, I don’t necessarily go with the theme of the show. I’m happy to have my eclectic pieces walk to their own drumbeat and come alive because there is a story I want to tell. The Day Dreamer series walked the Alaska Fiber Festival Runway in 2010. Three capes and hats transported the wearer into dream universes. It made me laugh to think of a woman sitting in her cubicle with Head in a Cloud or Blowing Bubbles surrounding her. The middle piece – Soaking up Sunbeams was my personal favorite.

Runway garments are not sacred either. When a garment has had its run then it is recycled into something else. Wasp bride has had 4 “morphings” from garment to statue, to bumble bee, back to sculpture before returning to the runway for her (almost) final walk. She has walked the runway a couple more times but now her day is done and the silk fiber will be deconstructed and formed into something else.

2010 The Wasp Bride - Anchorage, AK

Just for the record – I don’t really know how to sew – at least I don’t know how to cut straight or sew straight. I do what I affectionately call – Stitch Sculpting. Each of the Dreamer series garments were created on a bed of chicken wire and the fabric hand stitched and heat distressed into shape. These pieces have each become wall art or other sculpture when their day was done.

2010 Head in a Cloud-Daydream series - Anchorage 2010 Soaking up Sunbeams-Daydream series - Anchorage, AK 2010 Blowing Bubbles - Daydreamer series Anchorage AKOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMary1-sm    

My Projects

I am also a project person. I prefer to have a challenge to work towards whether it be a performance costume or an installation garment. Clothed in the Colors of the Ancients was a garment made specifically for installation along with a Navajo Rug show. It was important to me that whatever I made honored the integrity of the rugs themselves. Clothed was dyed with the plants from the desert – sage, Utah juniper, 3-leafed sumac and rabbit brush. The fabric, wool and silk noil were handstitched and distressed to make the garment look old. The underdress was my Grandmother’s and I rusted it to match the coat. This garment was never actually made to be worn although it has walked in 3 runway shows as well as featured in our local Grand Valley Magazine.

Clothed in the Colors of the Ancients was created for Spin Knit, Stitch as show at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts in Grand Junction CO. Dyed with organic plants collected from the desert embellished and stitched with yucca. Colors of the Ancients as featured by GV Magazine of Grand Junction CO. Photograph by Chad Mahlum    

My wrap up this year included Poe on the Fringe – a local production of dancers and my garments featured in Prospero’s Promenade, Masque of the Red Death and next week’s Artwear Fashion Week in Ft Collins at the Lincoln Center.

Tango Walking Pose-2 smallUnraveled Walking small-2

Without my Unwearable-Wearable Art, I would not have my retail line of clothing. The first pushes the envelope on skill and construction so that I can push my own imagination and design. The retail clothing also carries with it that same creative spirit in the design of the fabric itself. My sewing goes to other people so that they can apply the art skills they know so well. That way, the work is the best it can be but it also does not replicate anyone else. That is truly what drives me.    

15-Butterfly Cape side                   


Special thanks to:


Chad Mahlum, www.thelifestylephotographystudio.com/,

Vera Mulder, http://herestoallaboutfruita.blogspot.com/ ,

Dave Wadsworth, https://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_wadsworth/

Grand Valley Magazine, http://www.grandvalleymagazine.com/  



Roasted espresso & subs, Grand Junction: http://www.roastedespresso.com/

Willow Creek Herbs & Teas, GJ: Model and location Willow Creek Herbs and Teas – Facebook

Michelle McDowell: Vivid Inspirations, model and graphic designer, https://www.facebook.com/vividinspirations  


And lots of models with a lot of patience! Can’t thank you gals enough.


Mary Hertert has owned and operated Color Creek Fiber Art since 1997 in Anchorage, Alaska before moving it to Grand Junction. She is an all-around outdoors gal hiking, boating, or just plain looking at everything from rocks to trees to water. Mary has traveled the world and lived in some pretty exotic places before coming back to the U.S.