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Wearable Art show coming to Gloucester September 29

Posted by  September 21, 2013 02:30 PM

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Beth Williams in her studio prepares jewelry for the show. Photo by Katherine Stephens

By Katherine Stephens, Gordon College News Service

A wedding dress created from recycled boat sails and two dresses made of flowers are just a few of over 30 wearable art looks on the runway for the Celebrate Wearable Art Show on September 29. 

Hosted by the Society for Encouragement of the Arts (seARTS) at the Cruiseport Gloucester, attendees can indulge in high tea, enjoy a serenade from the Beverly High School Jazz Quintet, and see original, wearable art from local Cape Ann Artisans. The event brings Boston Fashion Week to the North Shore for the day.B

“We have everything from Manchester High School students—making bath mat dresses with teacher, Marion Powers—to the sculpture class at Montserrat, to a professor at Endicott, to a couture designer from New York with her full collection,” said Jacqueline Michelle Ganim-DeFalco, chair of the board for seARTS. “It’s the kind of event that will engage the community creatively on many different levels.”

WOW—New Zealand’s annual World of WearableArt (WOW) Awards Show—inspired seARTS to begin its own seven year ago. Cape Ann’s 13-year-old arts-based organization hosted its first Celebrate Wearable Art show in 2011 at the Bass Rocks Golf Club, where they sold out. The show is the only fundraiser hosted by seARTS, and all proceeds go to the organization. This year, the runway is back with more ticket sales—over 300—priced at $100, a larger location and more designers to showcase their work.

“This event is a great opportunity for young artists or even for people like me. You know, you have a dream, and then you can do it; it’s just possible,” said Frieda Grotjahn, 52, who has owned her East Gloucester store Again & Again for the past eight years. “Otherwise you try to go to Boston for something like this, but it’s right here.”

This year, Grotjahn is bringing something new to the runway: her Grace Kelly-inspired wedding dress made out of recycled spinnaker boat sails.

“We had a template of one of her dresses, and I got the idea for the flower petals on the dress from a German magazine,” said Grotjahn. Altogether, it took about 15 hours to make the dress according to Pam Lally, Grotjahn’s right hand woman during the design and sewing process.

Tote bags from the same sail material are Grotjahn’s specialty, but this year she and her team of five part-time employees wanted to try something new with the wedding dress. They also created two flower girl dresses and bouquets to accompany the dress on the runway.

“This show focuses attention on the community of artists here that aren’t necessarily painters, or traditional artists,” said Beth Williams, owner of Beth Williams Studio and an advisor and business mentor to seARTS. “There is a huge community of craft artists in this area, and when you can focus attention on a group like this, it’s a great thing.”

Williams, 59, has created handmade art glass jewelry in her Gloucester studio for 18 years. She created a light up necklace for the 2011 show, and will have a vendor’s table during the event this year. Half of her business is special orders. Many of her customers will bring in jewelry they have inherited but think the style is out of date, and Williams restrings and redesigns it.

“It’s fun to come to work everyday. It’s like Christmas every morning,” said Williams.

SeARTS hopes to make the unique wearable art event bi-annual.

“The glitz and the glamour make it fun to come, but it’s not really that kind of runway show,” said Ganim-DeFalco “We want people to see where the artist gets their inspiration from, and what materials they use. It’s about embracing and engaging the artists.”

When: Sunday, September 29 from 2 pm to 6 pm
Wearable Art Marketplace 2-4 pm; High Tea and Runway Show 4-6 pm
Where: Cruiseport Gloucester, 6 Rowe Square, Gloucester, Massachusetts
How much: $100 per person. Advance purchase only.

For more information: call seARTS at 978-281-1222, email, or visit

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and the Gordon College News Service.

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