‘CraftBoston: Pins + Needles’ brings art and fashion online

Tamara Belinda, Parasols, Crown Inspired Collection COURTESY PHOTO

More than 70 artists reimagine classic accessories in the “CraftBoston: Pins + Needles” exhibit, which runs online from March 4 through April 17.

Judged by award-winning textile artist Queen Allotey-Pappoe, the show takes an artistic look at everyday fashion items like pins, scarves, brooches and other sartorial accent items.

Paulina Fuenzalida-Guzman, “Black Flower” brooch PHOTO: PAULINA FUENZALIDA-GUZMAN,

“We’re coming out of an interesting era, with over two years of everyone trying to find and situate themselves in the midst of upheaval and a new, more online existence,” Allotey-Pappoe says. “The focus of this exhibition – wearable art – is inherently intimate and personal, and my real challenge was to highlight how we can translate that intimacy into the digital world.”

Born in Ghana, Allotey-Pappoe now runs her sustainable fashion label Queen Adeline by Lowell. Here she reflects on how fashion translates into the small rectangular screen of a Zoom meeting. What has been used in the workplace for decades for business signage and connectivity now lies almost blank in the blue light of a computer screen.

Steve Alexis, “Mica Studs” earrings COURTESY PHOTO

African-American artist Tamara Belinda presents her Crown Collection, a series of jackets, parasols, masks and balaclavas in vibrant colors and patterns. Wraparound hoods include a satin-lined hood designed to fit comfortably and preserve black hairstyles, combined with a fleece wrap element for winter warmth. The piece of scarf also drapes over the face, serving as a face mask.

“Each design expresses the commitment to protect the crown in physical, mental or spiritual aspects; to supplement mind growth, share unusual information, and inspire new perspectives using knowledge from diverse sources,” Belinda says in an artist statement.

Steve Alexis, artist and MFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, makes earrings and other accessories in stone, metal and thermoplastic. His abstract works are eye-catching and emotionally charged. The stone series features shimmering stones like silver sparkle and black obsidian inside colored thermoplastic casings. Here, a dynamic between internal and external pressures is explored both in terms of materials and in the experiences of the wearer and the artist.

Devyn Vasquez, “Gemma Earrings” PHOTO: BRADY CONNELLY

In “CraftBoston: Pins + Needles,” fashion and art converge to rediscover a sense of identity through art and style in a world where our runway is often the length of our living rooms.

Allotey-Pappoe says, “We are now so used to seeing ourselves on a computer screen, and these artworks can help us show off by adding some joy and vibrancy to our basic work clothes.”

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