PORT TOWNSEND — Natalie Grant, 18, merely wanted the experience of presenting her artwork to an audience. This would be her first foray into the Student Wearable Art Show; she had no expectations.
So yes, Grant was “really blown away,” in her breathless words, upon landing first prize and a cool $100 Saturday afternoon. Her piece, titled “Extinction Rebellion,” dazzled the judges with its simple delivery of a complex issue: the power of women, through the ages, to transcend those who would oppress them.
Grant’s wearable sculpture, a suit of armor made from big plastic jars, was among 13 entries to glide across the stage of Key City Public Theatre downtown. The student event is a kind of teaser for the annual Port Townsend Wearable Art Show, aka “the big show,” to mark its 10th anniversary May 9 at Fort Worden’s McCurdy Pavilion. Proceeds from the event, which brings in dozens of wearable sculptures from across the country, benefit the Jefferson County Fund for Women and Girls.
For the student show, youngsters from Quilcene School and Port Townsend High School, with art teachers Michele Soderstrom and Camille Hildebrandt and PT Artscape mentor Margie McDonald, turn recycled materials and fabrics into full-length artistic statements. The designers — or their friends and siblings — model the work under the bright lights.
The $50 second-place winner Saturday was Quilcene’s Caden Grant, 14, and his piece “Unseen Beauty.” A flexible sculpture of cloth and rings, it encased the artist completely.
Holding his $50 prize money, Caden (no relation to Natalie Grant) said he plans to paint “Unseen” in bright colors for the May event.
He’s an old hand by now: Last year, competing with the field of adult artists, he won the Port Townsend Wearable Art Show’s $300 prize for best use of materials for his piece titled “Ocean Deep.”
Another Quilcene student, 15-year-old Eryn Munn, took the $25 third prize for “Apogee Perigee,” her wearable creation depicting the cycles of the moon.
“Your performance was soft and elegant,” said Kelly Matlock, who alongside Jeanne Toal judged the student show.
“You really conveyed what we get from the moon.”
The young artist-model teams also included Shelly Winn and Grace Forsell, Miley Winn and Adriana Clark, Anna Munn and Lucy Kithcart, Cristal Gomez Cervantes and Halie Jones, Teagan and Sierra Greunke, Izzy Wardleigh, Shawnie Wanosick, Joe Boatman, Zach Maynard and Emily Kilgore, and Emma McAdam, Gillian McCracken and Chloe Smith. Nadia Fisch, Madison Boyd and Ethan Erickson-Cael modeled their own art.
Preparations for the May show are ramping up, with a call for models and other volunteers out now. More about the event, which has a matinee and an evening performance, is found at www.PTWearableart.com and at the Jefferson County Community Foundation at 360-385-1729.