'How does your garment grow?' | Fargo artist creates wearable art with plant materialsFARGO - Nature has long inspired fashion, but Stevie Famulari has taken it a step further. The Fargo artist started developing the idea three years ago with a question: “What if our clothing grew, changed, and even flowered?”
By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM
If you go
What: “The Green Line Series”
When: Through May 28
Where: Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave. N., Fargo
Info: Artist Stevie Famulari will give a public lecture from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 10 at the Plains.
Contact: Call (701) 232-3821 or email email@example.com.
Plains Art Museum online: www.plainsart.org
FARGO - Nature has long inspired fashion, but Stevie Famulari has taken it a step further.
The Fargo artist started developing the idea three years ago with a question: “What if our clothing grew, changed, and even flowered?”
Famulari, an assistant professor of landscape architecture at North Dakota State University, seeded heavy-duty fabric with herbs, flowers and other greenery to create “plant clothes.”
The native New Yorker drew from her experience in art, fashion, food and landscape architecture to create “The Green Line Series,” an environmental art installation.
The exhibit will be on display at the Plains Art Museum through May 28, along with 100 small seed bags available for the public to take with them.
The project required time, technique and technology to come together. Famulari carries a notebook filled with pages of sketches, dimensions, samples and photos.
Famulari made adjustments to her creations as the plant materials she used evolved. “Plants will grow when they want to grow,” she says.
Laid flat at Shotwell Floral in south Fargo, the pieces look like grassy snow angels.
With some assembly, they’ll become an opera gown, an asymmetrical gown, a lawn coat, a wedding gown and a “lace” gown.
The five living garments are lined with waterproof material so they can be worn by models.
The opera gown’s first flower bloomed just before Christmas, but in January, many of the violas, cosmos and zinnias adorning the dress died.
“Over the wintertime, I actually had to come in here and cut all the heads off of these in order to force them to grow outward,” Famulari says. “I felt like Morticia Addams.”
The environmental artist chose plants with light root systems that would remain intact through vertical draping. “If you pick up the fabric, you just see the roots,” she says.
The asymmetrical gown is a wearable herb garden sprouted with basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, tarragon, sage and fescue. “You can actually taste it right now,” she says.
If you saw what looked like a mossy overcoat walking down First Avenue recently, it was likely Famulari’s intern carrying the lawn coat to the museum on her back.
Since its inception, the wedding gown has become a corseted top paired with a full skirt and 8-foot train. “We’re feeding it vitamins and nutrients galore,” she says.
Famulari attached ivy and butzii plants to a woman’s slip to create the lace dress. “It appears as if she’s almost nude except for plants,” she says.
In all her work, Famulari aims to expand the definitions of art, fashion, food and landscape architecture. “I want the boundaries changed,” she says.
She has competed on “Food Network Challenge” several times, her chocolate dress was featured on “Oprah,” and she created local buzz when she spray-painted the snow in her Fargo front yard pink.
“Greenery is not just the thing that’s outside in the yard, it’s not just a plant. There are other ways you can grow plant material,” Famulari says.