Trashy runway on drenched Friday

Published 8:42 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

Despite a limited turnout, artists young and old still got to flex their creativity with piles of “trash” at the Suffolk Public Library’s runway competition.

The “Teen Trashion Show” was held on Friday at the OnePast7 art studio on North Main Street. Teams had to turn trash, recyclables and various other donations into flashy fashionwear that would be judged by Suffolk Public Library’s Dionne Baker and Ashley Reed in a runway showing.

There were bags upon bags of materials, from fabrics and carboard to spoons, discarded CDs and records. Library custodial staff gathered some of the supplies. Others came from art teachers, and Wayne Jones with Keep Suffolk Beautiful dropped off a bunch of bottle caps.

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This competition was done in collaboration with the SPARC Initiative, which stands for “Suffolk’s Prime Arts, Retail and Culinary” Initiative.

“SPARC and its facilities are very intent on building good relationships with other organizations,” said Ed Beardsley, the initiative’s founder and owner of OnePast7. “Anything we can do that will make (Suffolk) a better place to live — with more options, more activities (and) more collaborations with new and existing organizations — that’s how we’re going to get things done.”

The turnout for the competition was limited — for the most part — to Chelsie Brown and her daughter Audrey Howell, 13. Apparently the rain on Friday had dampened everyone’s plans to attend.

“We had some kids who were going to walk down from (Morgan Memorial Library), but because it was raining, they didn’t want to walk,” Baker said.

But that didn’t stop a mother-daughter rivalry from livening up OnePast7. The ripping of tape and shuffle of cardboard broke the silence in the studio, with Audrey at one table and her mother at another.

“She’s going to start throwing elbows,” Reed said about Audrey’s determination to win.

Brown had heard about the competition from Linda Asbell, one of the women in Brown’s public art class across North Main Street. She thought her daughter would enjoy it, because the two of them are often creative at home, hence the banter.

“Usually when we’re doing crafts at home, I bounce ideas off of her, and she usually throws them back my way,” Brown said. “Then we create something.”

The creativity in the studio was infectious. Artists in the studio watched Brown and her daughter pick through the tables of trashy materials and got curious.

Brown’s daughters Maylani, 6, and Kaylin, 10, modeled her and Audrey’s creations. Kaylin showed off her mother’s fishing getup — complete with a vest, rod and a hat made by Brown’s husband.

Maylani got to be a “warrior princess” for her sister Audrey. The ensemble included a crown that flashed with pieces of broken CDs and a broken water gun. As the sole teenage competitor, Audrey won art supplies, books, candy and various other prizes.

She said her favorite part was figuring out the outfit.

“It took time to look at the components and complete it, and it was really fun,” she said.

Even Baker and Reed got in on the fun with a detailed library ensemble that consisted of a staff and shoulder-padded top littered with records and various hanging ornaments. Reed also made sure to include some of the rat stickers that the library saved from one of their story-time sessions.

She wanted to combine them with a taped-on computer mouse for a spot-on “Mouse Rat” reference from the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” and like the rest of the evening, she thought it was successful.

“It was really fun to see the unexpected and creative directions that everybody took,” she said.