Spring fashion with a twist

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Vonda Hooper (left) artist Gwen Egg with outfits made by made by embroidering and re-shaping potting mix bags

Vonda Hooper (left) artist Gwen Egg with outfits made by made by embroidering and re-shaping potting mix bags

Milk bottle tops and cartons, plastic bags, plastic wrapping, plastic strapping, paper, cardboard aluminum and wood – items we discard every day. We might put some in a recycling bin and pat ourselves on the back for being so green. But, how often do our thoughts go from recycle to reuse?

At the five southern sites of aged care provider Uniting AgeWell in Tasmania, residents have been busy once a week since May using their imagination and craft skills to create some unique pieces of wearable art, which were unveiled at a fashion parade on 11 October.

The Fascinating Fashions project was co-ordinated by artists Robyn Carney, Gwen Egg and Shirley Johnson.

Fascinating Fashions – an idea born out of the organisation’s desire to be proactive in its recycling, reusing and reducing protocols – connects the arts and health sectors. It provides significant health and social benefits to participants.

“One of most significant outcomes is the incredible lift in the self-esteem of the participants,” Ms Carney said.

“The pride and sense of self-worth that is generated in participants when they see the public enjoying their creations is inspiring.

“Fascinating Fashions provides an opportunity to give tangible value to the residents’ lives and to their sense of fun. By working as a group to overcome challenges and turning imagination into reality we create a powerful structure that promotes wellness in every sense.”

It has not been a women-only event, with about 10 men actively involved. Ms Carney admitted she was surprised by some of the creations.

“I have been absolutely astounded and delighted,” she said.

Fascinating Fashions is expected to continue next year and Ms Carney said she hoped to be able to involve local schoolchildren to work alongside residents in creating garments.

“There has been some interest from schools and I think that would create a very good connection.”

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