A dress made with the help of marbles, clothes pins, and sheer creativity will be on display at a prestigious event in Hong Kong this month.
The University of the Fraser Valley’s Kim Kokaszka is the only Canadian student, and one of three in North America, selected to showcase a piece at the International Shibori Symposium held at Hong Kong Polytechnic University from Dec. 5 to Jan. 18, and travelling to Foshan ShiJing Yi Art Museum in February.
Kokaszka was chosen by an international jury that received more than 100 student entries.
Her garment was made with Shibori, an ancient Japanese technique in which cloth is manipulated and dyed to create unique patterns.
“I am just so shocked and surprised. It’s only just starting to sink in now,” said the Mission resident. “It’s what everyone hopes — to be recognized as an artist and designer.”
The events at the symposium are organized into five areas of focus: art and fashion, animal fibre, metallic, polymer tannins, and tradition. Each area will feature presentations, workshops and exhibitions.
The aim is to encourage the study, practice and innovation of Shibori and other similar textile art forms. This year’s theme is Technology Shaped by Creativity.
“This exhibition is an opportunity for scholars, designers, and artists to come together and share their work. It is truly an honour to be part of this symposium as it is a significant organization in the world of textiles,” said Deanna Devitt, UFV Fashion Design department head. “We are very proud of Kim as this is an enormous achievement.”
Kokaszka created the dress in a UFV surface design class as part of the textile option offered in the program.
Using a single piece of polyester, she twisted the cloth with clothes pegs, bound pieces of fabric around marbles with elastic bands, and added stitching. Then she dyed the fabric a light grey.
Instead of cutting the cloth —which Kokaszka couldn’t bring herself to do — she found an innovative way to fold and form the fabric into a design.
“I was completely in my glory and I loved the results,” said Kokaszka.
Her creativity garnered recognition not only from an international jury, but also from her instructors at UFV.
“As an artist she has endless creative energy,” said UFV surface design instructor Eleanor Hannan. “She has an open mindedness and a fearless approach to her work that lets the piece lead her into design decisions rather than forcing her own will. She absorbs techniques quickly and then puts them into practice in her own way.”
Kokaszka’s high calibre of talent also reflects positively on the university, added Devitt.
“It truly highlights our students’ skills and creativity to design and use textiles as both apparel and as art.”