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Tag: Thrift Style

2017 Fall exhibitions only have weeks left…

“Deeper” and “broader” are words that come to mind when I think about Fall 2017 exhibitions and programs at the museum. They represent connections with K-State departments and Kansas communities that are deeper and broader than ever before.  From the residency activities of Ubiquitous artist Enrico Isamu Ōyama, to the youth and school programs in conjunction with Sayaka Ganz’s Reclaimed Creations, to the glimpse of our regional past in Thrift Styles, to the  Fronteras/Frontiers  exhibition’s ambitious community outreach – these artistic projects will touch many lives!

I hope you will visit the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art often during this busy fall to encounter the interesting sights created and ideas proposed by these exhibitions and related programs.  The museum aims to serve as a window to the world and to offer an invitation to think anew about this place, the Flint Hills and tall grass prairie of Kansas. We hope you agree that we are fulfilling our mission. Please join us in these adventures! And please note the listings of generous donors who make this work possible. They deserve our hearty and sincere thanks.

Linda Duke, Director

The Beach Museum of Art office and galleries will be closed November 23-25, 2017 and December 24, 2017 through January 1, 2018.

Sayaka Ganz: Reclaimed Creations

September 5 – December 9, 2017

In her sculpture, Sayaka Ganz uses reclaimed plastic objects such as discarded utensils as a painter uses brush strokes. She describes her style as “3D impressionism”: The recycled objects appear unified at a distance, but at close proximity, individual objects are discernable. Sculptures in this exhibition include animals in motion that are rich in color and energy. Ganz was born in Yokohama, Japan, and grew up living in Japan, Brazil, and Hong Kong. She holds a master of fine arts degree in sculpture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The Tour of “Sayaka Ganz: Reclaimed Creations” is produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., David J. Wagner, Ph.D., Curator/Tour Director.

Ubiquitous: Enrico Isamu Oyama

August 15 – December 23, 2017 

Enrico Isamu Ōyama represents a contemporary generation with a distinctly global perspective. Child of an Italian father and a Japanese mother, Ōyama grew up in Tokyo, Japan, lived for extended periods in North Italy, and has been working in New York since 2011. “Ubiquitous” surveys how Ōyama channeled his interests in Tokyo and American street cultures, Western abstract art, and Japanese calligraphy to create Quick Turn Structure (QTS), his signature expression. Appearing across a wide range of creative platforms, including painting, digital media, sound, and fashion, QTS gives visual form to the mixed-race, multicultural, transnational experiences of people in today’s world of fluid borders and interconnectivity.

Thrift Style

August 1 – December 16, 2017

The reuse of feed, flour, and sugar sacks in clothing and other household objects became popular during the mid-1920s. Businesses capitalized on interest by introducing bags with increasingly varied printed patterns. The sacks and other fabric scraps from manufacturers continued to serve thrifty home sewers during the Great Depression and into the 1960s. A collectors market for the bags and fabric remnants thrives today. This exhibition will explore the recycling of fabrics in clothing and quilts drawn from the collection of the Historic Costume and Textile Museum of Kansas State University. Varied feed bags from a 2016 gift to that museum will highlight the range of print motifs available to twentieth-century home sewers.

‘Thrift Style’ at Beach Museum of Art features feed sacks upcycled to home goods and apparel in first half of 20th century

The newest exhibition at Kansas State University’s Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art shows how Americans could make fashion — and more — by using bags.

“Thrift Style,” which runs Aug. 1-Dec. 16, explores how feed sacks were reused to make clothing and other household items, particularly during the Great Depression and World War II.

“This exhibition highlights how upcycling — recycling of a discarded item into a product of higher value — of these bags mutually benefited 20th-century consumers and commercial businesses,” said Marla Day, curator of the Historic Costume and Textile Museum, which is a part of the apparel, textiles, and interior design department in the university’s College of Human Ecology.

Members of the Rees family in 1949 beside the Rees’ Westside Farm Supply’s Plymouth pickup. From left are Richard D., Robert and Leonard Rees. Photo courtesy of Richard D. Rees.

The exhibition features items from the Historic Costume and Textile Museum that were donated by Richard D. Rees, whose family owned a farm supply store, Rees’ Westside Farm Supply, in Coffeyville. The store supplied many home seamstresses with a selection of patterned feed sacks in the 1940s and 1950s. Rees’ mother made items for the family’s home from feed sack material as well as clothing for the family. Rees went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kansas State University. He later began collecting vintage feed and flour sacks from Kansas mills and bag manufacturers for the Historic Costume and Textile Museum. The collection currently includes 125 sacks and several homemade garments made with sack fabric.

Day said manufacturers offered bags, typically made of cotton, in different colors, patterns and themes to attract customers, who would reuse the bags to make a variety of clothing items or practical items such as curtains, placemats, pillow cases and hand towels.

“Although feed-sack dresses were often made out of need, in the hands of a seamstress with an eye for design, they didn’t have to look that way,” Day said. “With a bright and stylish print, double collar, decorative buttons and matching waist belt, a child’s dress from a feed sack wasn’t that much different from dresses one could buy in a department store at the time.”

Reusing feed sacks for clothing also was pitched as patriotic.

“During World War II, civilian women were encouraged to make do with what was available since cotton and wool were needed for military uniforms,” Day said. “Dresses lost ruffles, pleats, hoods and all but one pocket so that precious fabric could be used more efficiently. Shirtwaist dresses become a simple yet fashionable style for all ages. Fabric scraps would then be made into accessories such as belts to get the most out of the sacks.”

Underwear also got the sack treatment. Among the items in the exhibition is a pair of cotton bloomers worn by Nelda Jean Koons that were made by her older sister, Velma, from a 100-pound sack of chicken feed. Nelda was the youngest of six children in a family that farmed during the Great Depression in a Dust Bowl-stricken area of the Midwest.

“Wearing bloomers made from plain feed sacks was a common practice for children and adults,” Day said.

The sacks on display in “Thrift Style” also include prints of popular stars of the era, such as the Hillbilly Boys, a Texas-Western swing band in the ’30s, and Red Ryder, Little Beaver and Yaqui Joe from Dell’s Red Ryder Comics series. Some of the sacks are whimsical, such as the exhibition’s yellow feed sack with a “raining cats and dogs” print. The feed sacks could become toys, too, as demonstrated by a bag from the Eagle Milling Co. in Edmond, Oklahoma, that features a two-sided cut-and-sew girl doll wearing a green dress.

“During the depths of the Great Depression, the mill made a bold decision to add this bonus to its product,” Day said. “The dolls were printed on several sizes of feed sacks. The first doll wore a white dress with red stripes; in later printings the dress is blue, purple, red, yellow or green.”

Other bags by manufacturers featured in the exhibit were made to be embroidered later as tea towels or featured patterns suitable for placemats or pillow cases. Books, such as “A Bag of Tricks for Home Sewing” by the Cotton Council, were also available to inspire home sewers on ways to turn the bags into useful items.

Along with the feed sacks, Rees has donated a large number of business office garments and accessories worn by his late wife, Janet, in the ’50s and ’60s; a nearly complete collection of Trans World Airlines flight attendant uniforms; and several designer fashions. His donations were made in honor of his parents, Leonard and Beatrice Rees, and his wife. Rees also has established an endowment with the Kansas State University Foundation benefiting the Historic Costume and Textile Museum.

The Beach Museum of Art, at 14th Street and Anderson Avenue, is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and free parking is available adjacent to the museum.