The Collin Room at Placitas Community Library is not very large. On the Monday morning this show was hung, the room was jammed with people who swarmed in with bundles and boxes of work that had been waiting in local artists’ sewing rooms for the better part of a year, in some cases, to find their way into this room. Now in its 15th year, the annual art show in the Collin Room was at capacity.
A World of Wearable Art is at its root a fundraiser for the library. Sixteen artists, primarily from Sandoval County, show hundreds of original works. Last year’s show raised over $2,000 for the small library. It is a laudable sum, but not particularly unusual as small-town library fundraisers go. What is unusual is the volume of the particular kind of work being shown and sold there, wearable art. How does a small community just north of Albuquerque produce so many talented artists engaged in making work of this type?
Wearable art doesn’t get a fair shake in the art world and is just too weird for your average sewing circle. It’s not quite fashion, but is far less static than visual art or sculpture, requiring input from the wearer. These works are one-offs for showoffs. They are an artistic statement for those who want to stand out. Ranging in style from rugged to refined, these works are a particularly good antidote to the ubiquitous holiday party’s ugly Christmas sweater. They are works of art that reflect the wearers’ originality and good taste while distinguishing themselves from the crowd. Whereas ugly Christmas sweaters only serve to confirm the clownish character of the wearer.
A World of Wearable Art opened on Tuesday, Dec. 3 and will remain throughout the month, but I caution that it operates more like a sale than an art show. By this I mean people are buying what they like, taking it off the wall and taking it home with them. It is a constantly shrinking show of original, one-of-a-kind works. Best to see it while you can.