a dressing the future

a dressing the future

a dressing the future

nicole dextras

march 20 - april 16, 2024

craft council of bc

artist statement

As a textile artist my practice has revolved around wearable art and sustainable fashion, with a particular focus on innovative materials that prompt us to move away from fossil fuel fabrics such as polyester and to instead foster ecological solutions.

The installation of handmade garments in the Craft Council of BC Gallery window consists of a Jacket and a Vest created for my short film, Chronos, time of sand along with the Forest Warrior Tailleur outfit. These are a few of the costumes from my ongoing series A Dressing the Future. In my work use basic textile techniques such as weaving, sewing and cordage making to fashion leaves, barks and fruit peels into wearable pieces. My material process is fueled by my imagination and curiosity, which has guided my years of investigation and research in my studio practice.

The Chronos garments were made specifically with the desert in mind since the main character is the lone survivor of a catastrophic drought. They rely on desert plants for food and also to weave and dye their innovative protective clothing. For instance, I used Yucca fibre from plants in my garden and nearby abandoned lots to weave parts of the costume. Yucca is from the Agave family and its long coarse fibres were once used by many First Nation tribes, especially in the south to make cordage and rope before the advent of plastic. The rest of the weaving was done with of hand spun fibres from ethical suppliers, such as Abaca (banana fibre) and Kibiso, which is discarded in the silk making process.

The third piece, The Forest Warrior Tailleur is primarily woven from Willow bark from the Salix genus, which I grow in my garden in the city. Forest Warrior was originally developed as a performance piece for a character towing their own garden and rescuing abandoned trees in the urban environment. It is currently getting a makeover for the Fashion Revolution Week presentation at Ocean Artworks here on Granville Island. On April 6, Forest Warrior will roam the island and engage with the public about sustainable fashion and greenwashing, after which the full garment will be on display in this window.

I am currently working on The Algae Project, a yearlong research project aimed at developing a viable fabric like material out of seaweed that can be used to create sculptures and wearable art. This project is generously supported by the Surface Design Association and The BC Arts Council. Follow my experiments and results on social media @ndextras on Facebook and Instagram.

artist bio

Vancouver based artist Nicole Dextras creates environmental art that roots nature into our everyday urban experience. She works across diverse mediums, blending textile arts, natural materials, performance, photography and film, to create ephemeral installations and social interventions.

Her artistic commitment to ecology is based in her dedication to using only low impact and sustainable materials such as bark, seaweed and fruit peels in her wearable art.

Dextras has exhibited her work in Canada, the USA and in Asia. Her most recent solo exhibition A Dressing the Future, the eco-fiction of Nicole Dextras was held at the Huston Center for Contemporary Craft in Texas in May 2022. Other notable group exhibitions include: Courants vert, at Espace Fondation EDF in Paris, Modest Forms of Biocultural Hope at the Western Gallery WWU, in Bellingham USA and Hybris at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Léon in Spain.