Nicole Dextras, Artist in Residence.
The Nomadik Harvest Dress
The McMichael welcomed Fashionality artist Nicole Dextras, who was in residency at the gallery until July 1, 2012. During her stay, Nicole completed one of her astonishing Weedrobes eco-dress-performance-sculptures. The "Nomadik Harvest Dress" was unveiled in a special performance at the McMichael's Canada Day ceremony. "Based on the design of a yurt for an urban forager lifestyle. The skirt makes a very comfortable tent and it's many pockets are handy for storing edible plants found in one's environment."
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Nicole Dextras (b. 1956) is a Vancouver-based environmental artist who works in a variety of media including sculpture, interactive public installation and photography. Focussing on ephemeral materials such as plants, flowers and ice, her work follows the passage of time and the changing of seasons. These can be expressed through the immediacy of performance, or captured in video or photography. Dextras is a graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art in Vancouver, where she has been a sessional teacher for the past eight years.
"The Nomadik Harvest Dress is a new wearable sculpture by artist Nicole Dextras. It was created during a two week residency at the McMichael Gallery, in conjunction with the Fashionality exhibition. The design is based on the structure of a yurt, which is made from bamboo and Willow branches. Instead of the usually felt covering of the Mongolian tradition, Dextras shrank and dyed 2nd hand wool sweaters stitched together to form a crazy quilt pattern. Many of the pockets found in the original garments remain, which then are filled with local plants found on the grounds of the McMichael. A wide variety of leaves, flowers and berries from plants such as Coltsfoot and Burdock where chosen for their edible and medicinal qualities.
This dress is part of the artist’s ongoing Weedrobes series, where garments are made from natural and organic materials that are eventually composted. This harvesting dress addresses issues of sustainability by facilitating an urban forager lifestyle. The large skirt easily converts into a shelter for sleeping and the entire structure can be dismantled and pulled on wheels for travel.
To top it all off, the wearer, Mlle Cornucopia, wears a headdress garnished with Crab Apples and Cattails informed from traditional Mongolian costume. The artist based the nomadic concept and the use of materials on her art installations in the Gobi Desert for the Mongolia 360 exhibition in 2010." - Nicole Dextras -
- Plant list:
Sumac: flower dried used a spice
- Red Currants: edible in summer
Make preserves and wine
- Gooseberry: Jams, jellies and deserts
- Yellow Birch: wood used to make popsicle sticks
- Coltsfoot: Leaf is burnt and the ash used as Salt. Also used as a cold syrup.
- Golden Rod: yellow flower makes a tea and whole plant used to make dye
- Queen Ann’s Lace: root eaten like a carrot. Black seeds of flower have a licorice/ peppery taste.
- Mullen: leaves used to made a tonic tea. Leaves can be compressed and used as a first aid treatment for inflamed or irritated skin.
- White Pine: Bark soaked in water acts as an anticeptic.
- Bloodroot: root drips red juice used as paint and dye. bloodroot extract include dental hygiene products
- Wild Strawberry: fruit eaten, used in jams. Laxative, diuretic, astringent
- Burdock: Starchy roots roasted as a vegetable. Young shoots used in salad
- Red Clover: flower eaten and made into tea.
- Eastern White Hemlock: Twigs with many needles used in tea. Bark poultice used for treating bleeding wounds.
- Raspberry: ebible
- Catnip: tea
- Grape Vine: berries eaten, made into wine
- Apple tree: fruit eaten, leaves and bark of the apple tree possess astringent properties
- Mountain Ash: edible berry
- Oak Tree: acorns eaten, bark astringent and antiseptic
- White Birch: Birch leaves are used to make a diuretic tea and extracts for dyes and cosmetics. Bark used for construction of strong, waterproof but lightweight canoes, bowls, and wigwams.