The last batch of students to graduate from Selkirk College’s two-year Kootenay Studio Arts program are putting the final touches on an exhibition of their work at Nelson Touchstones.
Eighteen graduates are included in the show. They come from four studio concentrations: clay, fibre, jewelery/small object design and metal work.
Curator Deborah Loxam-Kohl has been working with the students to get their work ready for the gallery.
“A lot of work goes into displaying the items for public viewing and creating a context for your work,” says Loxam-Kohl, who herself is an alumna of the KSA program.
She visited the students’ studios earlier in the year to get them thinking about the exhibit and has been on site at Touchstones all week, offering feedback and suggestions, as the students set up their displays.
Eleanor Stewart, a jewelery grad, created a silver tiara with interchangeable attachments for each season . Her work is exhibited on moss-covered platters, some of which are covered by glass domes.
“My jewelery is inspired by the fauna and flora in the natural environment. I wanted to display it like a living thing,” Stewart explains.
Some of the larger pieces are hung on the walls or placed on podiums. The exhibit spills out of Gallery B, down the hallway and into the lobby.
One of the first pieces you’ll see walking into the show is Olivia Mansveld’s elaborate human anatomy costumes.
One piece represents the heart and circulatory system; another the brain and circulatory system; and a third the lungs.
“I’m interested in the relationship between garments and the human body,” she explains.
The students were given one day per week of class time in their final semester to work on their final projects, but many slaved away at them on evenings and weekends to get them ready for the show. Mansveld says she spent more than 100 hours drafting the patterns, hand printing fabric and constructing the outfits.
“I basically lived at the studio,” she laughs. “I feel fortunate to have made it into the program before it was cut back to one year. In first year you’re just learning skills; in second year, pouring yourself into a single project, you really feel like an artist.”
The KSA Graduate Exhibition opens at Touchstones Nelson on Saturday and runs until June 2. The opening reception is Friday, April 26 from 7 to 9 p.m.