Garments Transformed

January 10 – March 10 2019
Curated by Cheri Kopp and Elaine Girard

Participating Artists:
Elaine Girard, Cheri Kopp, Barbara Ramsey, Diane Williams



For Olivia 2018
Elaine Girard Port Ludlow

After my brother passed away, suddenly at the age of 53, I offered to make a quilt for his youngest daughter out of one of his shirts.  At that time, she could not comprehend anyone cutting into any of his clothing.

Months later, she gave me a shirt she'd selected for me to use to make a quilt for her. The shirt material was used to make the quilt top. Wanting to have it comforting for her, I decided to use the shoulder of the shirt as part of the backing in order for her to be able to "put her head on his shoulder."  

Lyle, Cheri, Lynn and Norma at Lynn’s vet school graduation (1988)

Vintage Family Jeans 1999
Cheri Kopp   Port Townsend

From the label:  “To Lynn – Merry Christmas!

I keep everything -
   too much I’m told!
Paper, bows, ribbon and string,
   these jeans of old…
from our Mom and Lyle,
   and you and me.
I’ve known for a while
   A quilt they’d be!”

Postscript: Our mother Norma died in 1998, while I was working on this quilt. When my sister Lynn died in 2018, my brother, Lyle, found this quilt in her personal effects and returned it to me.

The artist, as a young woman, wearing the in-process pants from the ensemble.

Jacket 1971-1978
Barbara Ramsey Port Townsend

This jacket started out sometime in the 1960s with a solid denim exterior and a warm wool lining. By the time it was handed down to me in 1971, the outside was torn and the lining shredded, but I was cold and knew how to sew so I got to work.

I started patching it with fabric scraps, old ties, worn out socks, recycled shirts, etc. The more I patched it, the warmer it became. The warmer it became, the more I wore it. The more I wore it, the more patching it needed. Finally it developed so many layers that it became more of a carapace than a coat and I retired it to the back of my closet.

E, pre-G front
(photos by Mark Frey)

E, pre-G 2010
Cheri Kopp   Port Townsend
NFS (commissions accepted)

When my ex-husband came out, and moved out, he left most of his t-shirts and sweatshirts behind. This quilt is my homage to being true to one’s self, and represents the life of Ernie, pre-Gay.

The front captures his interests from high school through his early 30s. Seattle history abounds: our dearly departed Sonics, the regional tech industry and businesses gobbled up by others.          

True to my tendency to use everything, the back was pieced from the leftover shirts. Though I resisted, the fabric demanded a colorful flow.

Diane surrounded by Venice pals, clockwise, starting at bottom left, Lewin, Buck, Henry and Steve.

Jeans mid 1980s, and beyond
Diane Williams    Port Angeles

In the mid-80s my friend, Steve Ward, hobbled into Small World Books in Venice Beach where I worked and gave me these jeans. He said he thought I could wear them.

I saw Steve once more before he died of AIDS.

In Steve’s memory, I mend and re-mend these jeans hoping he will like the flowers and autumn leaves. Keeping his light shining through the liminal space of door and window, remembering.

North Beach State Park, Quimper Peninsula, Washington

One of several study photos taken for the design of this quilt.

Saved From The Sea 2015
Cheri Kopp   Port Townsend

Beach-found garments were disassembled, combined with old t-shirts and my late sister-in-law’s first communion veil, pieced and quilted to create the base image.

Embellishments add texture, dimension and story, inviting closer inspection to discover many treasures*  I've saved from the Salish Sea.

*Treasures is our household euphemism for the materials I collect, save and inventory for future art projects. Every beach walk yields more in the form of kelp, shells, glass and other bits of trash.

To promote awareness of American over-consumption, our materials were t-shirts purchased at the Goodwill bulk store in South Seattle.

My haul after an hour of pulling? A virtual rainbow of possibilities.

I don’t mean to be so predictable, it just happens.

Cowl 2012
Cheri Kopp   Port Townsend

While attending a cowl-making workshop led by Mandy Greer, most participants were using fun and interesting color combinations.

I forced myself to move away from the crutch of my beloved color flows. The resulting giant scarf, in shades of red, was knit from "yarn" made by twisting strips of used t-shirts.

Backpack circa 1978
Cheri Kopp   Port Townsend

Before it was fashionable to do so, I was “upcycling” trash into new creations, including this backpack made from my old denim jeans.

Complete with zippered main compartment, patch pocket, and padded shoulder straps, this was the only backpack I carried through 5½ years of college – undergrad and grad school.

Perhaps, 40 years after it was made, it should be patched and put back into service?

Yoga Bag circa 2000
Cheri Kopp   Port Townsend

Too cheap to buy a bag that wasn’t quite what I wanted, I made my own, altering a pair of old jeans, removing one leg, adding belt loops to the bottom of the remaining for ventilation, and fashioning an old woven belt into an over-the shoulder handle that also cinched the top of the bag closed.

I remember those jeans well – they were all the fashion in my youth – Sedgefield brand – what was I thinking, putting that big arc across my butt!