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“ReDress: Upcycled Runway by Nancy Judd” is currently on display through April 9 in the Artesia Historical Museum’s new Art Center, and everyone is invited to be impressed, amazed and inspired!

The exhibit features 18 high-fashion outfits made from recycled materials such as tires, phone books, plastic bags, rusty nails, soda cans, an old parachute, and even broken glass. Creator Nancy Judd considers herself an artist and environmental educator, not a fashion designer, and she hopes these outfits will inspire everyone to consider ways that we can all reduce our waste and consider the impact our actions have on our planet.

Nancy’s first trash fashions were created for her teddy bear using scraps of cloth and ribbon when she was a small child. She became interested in recycling in college and was the Recycling Coordinator for Santa Fe for many years, starting the “Recycle Santa Fe Art and Trash Fashion Contest” during her time there. Nancy currently lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she pursues recycled fashion full-time (www.recyclerunway.com).

But about those FABULOUS outfits: the only new materials used in them are thread, zippers and adhesives — everything else is recycled! Several were commissioned by such corporations as Toyota, Target, Delta Airlines, and Coca-Cola.

The beautiful, shimmering red evening gown, upon closer examination, is made from upholstery scraps and glass bits. The little black cocktail dresses are trimmed with soda can cutouts and rusty nails. The adorable fiesta outfit is made from Target bags and displays. The bathing beauty outfit is trimmed with detergent bottle bits, and the cowgirl outfit is woven from old phone books. Intrigued yet? There’s more, including a flamenco gown and even a southern belle hoopskirt.

As a tie-in with this exhibit, the museum is partnering with the Artesia Public Library for a series of Recycled Workshops: Jewelry from Plastics for children (3:30 p.m. Feb. 2); Jewelry from Hardware for teens and adults (6 p.m. Feb. 9); and Altered T-Shirts for teens (3:30 p.m. Feb. 16). All workshops will be held at the library — call Erin Loveland at the library, 746-8515, or me at the museum, 748-2390, for more information.

The exhibit is open during regular museum hours: 9 a.m. – noon and 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays. For all group tours, please call ahead to set up a time — after-hours tours are also available. School groups are welcome, and lesson plans to go along with the exhibit are available — just call me at the museum, 748-2390.

Professional traveling exhibits like this are very expensive — this one cost $26,000 — and we want to thank the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center Foundation, Artesia Lodger’s Tax Advisory Board, and A Cowgirl’s Closet for their support. Please contact the museum if you are interested in helping to sponsor this exhibit or future traveling exhibits. This exhibition has been organized by Nancy Judd and is circulating through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions.

Don’t forget Artesia Clean & Beautiful’s Eddy County Recycled Art Show March 17 through April 1 at the Artesia Public Library. Who knows? You may get some great ideas from this exhibit!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Nancy Dunn is the manager of the Artesia Historical Museum and Art Center. Contact her at 748-2390.)