DUNEDIN, Fla. — Demeree Barth is making a crab purse in the sewing suite of her Seminole home.
“I’ve never made a handbag before, so this year, I thought it’d be kinda cool to try,” Barth explained.
The fashion designer is getting ready for her seventh appearance in the Dunedin Fine Arts Center’s marquis event — Wearable Art.
Wearable Art, before and after parties all kick off at Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.
It’s a forward-looking fashion event — the clothing is unexpected — even outlandish!
And so are the materials — from animal bones to dryer ducts.
“I like that it is theatrical and colorful, and you can go wild. It doesn’t have to make sense,” she said. Sort of like the parameters of her other job — elementary school art teacher — teaching ages five to 10.
“Yes, the best age!” said Barth. “They are so free and creative and great — they have the craziest questions. It’s awesome.”
She floats between these two worlds of infinite possibility and wonder.
And Barth creates a kind of post-apocalyptic punk rock outfit.
“It’s a combination of things,” said Barth. “Some are found objects,” she said, gesturing to a dress shoulder, “this is a knee pad from the army surplus store.”
Barth says she loves a deconstructed, asymmetrical look. She belongs to a wearable art collective — their theme this year is “Ocean Oddities.”
So it only makes sense that her barnacle encrusted dress was begging for a crustacean accessory.
Barth actually keeps a display room of “artfit” accessories, as she calls them.
And she wears fashion well — in fact, she models her own creations.
“For my 40th birthday we were invited to show at New York Fashion week,” said Barth, of the collective.
But before New York, she walked in the Dunedin Fine Arts Center.
Floating between two worlds — a designer who models feels this unique, immediate audience reaction to her work.
“I was so happy they liked the outfits, and they wanted to take a closer look at my artwork,” she explained. “The greatest compliment to any artist is they want to come and interact and be a part of it.”