Niagara Gazette

Features

February 17, 2013

WEARABLE ART: NACC artist's unique designs to be featured in fashion show Thursday

Niagara Gazette — A couple of years ago, Mary Grace Ohrum made a dress out of coffee filters. It is one of her favorites. 

This year, she’s made one out of ripped and twisted plastic bags which she spray-painted in shades of the colors of the ocean. And the one she’s putting together in her studio at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center is made from shiny gift bags she bought at a local dollar store. The whole dress will cost her about twenty bucks.

There’s a couple of reasons for her unusual choice of materials. The first is that, despite drawing and making her own dresses since she was small, she hates to sew. Her newest creations are stapled, pasted and taped.

The second is that this young painter is not designing these dresses for herself. Despite the fact that they definitely are wearable, they are actually works of art causing a stir on catwalks at some of the most cutting edge fashion shows in the region. As soon as she finishes the gift bag dress, she’s starting on a bubble wrap and sheet music creation for an upcoming show of “Wearable Art,” being planned for Wine on Third. The event, being held on Thursday, will feature her work and that of six other designers, including one making a name for herself in Buffalo with her duct tape creations, Lisa Crapsi.

Ohrum, who calls herself Mary Grace O, began oil painting when she was 13 in a Niagara Falls program called Art Wheels held inside the former Convention Center. Tthe artist has gained a respectable reputation for her work as a painter and Her NACC studio is lined with her vivid, colorful canvases.  But, she gets a whole different feeling when she watches a model come down the runway wearing one of her dresses.

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