Uncommon Thread gives aspiring designers ‘Carte Blanche’ to create fashion statements

The dress with the 2,000 plates won.

That’s right. Plates. Two thousand tiny plates crafted by Kate Mayne’s hand.

Her three months of work paid off when she took the top prize at the fifth Uncommon Thread Wearable Art Show whose runway spanned the galleries of the LSU Museum of Art on Oct. 19.

The show featured 25 entries by artists from Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Vermont, Iowa, Arizona and New York.

“This is a national show,” said Erin Rolfs, show coordinator and a board member for CultureCandy, which sponsors it.

This year, the artists were challenged with a “Carte Blanche” theme to construct a garment that addresses “the sculptural, narrative and/or technical possibilities of wearable art while working primarily with the color white.”

“We think of carte blanche like a blank check,” Rolfs said. “They can do anything with it they want.”

And the contestants did, depicting everything from space to birds to piles of money in their designs.

“Project Runway All Stars” champ Anthony Ryan Auld was the night’s judge.

“I’ll be looking at each design from both a fashion and an artistic sense,” he said. “I’ll look to see if it’s constructed well and how the styling and makeup match the design. Artistically, I want to see how it fits this moment. It should be something creative. It’s like watching a couture show.”

And in the end, it was Mayne’s design that met Auld’s criteria.

The Chalmette native and LSU graduate used paper clay — clay mixed with paper fibers and fired in a kiln — to make the plates wearable and yet not too heavy.

“It’s light, but it’s still a strong clay,” Mayne said. “In that sense, I was going after functionality more than beauty.”

She received a $1,000 prize and a chance to advance to an international show.

Before that, Mayne’s priority is a show featuring artwork by Baton Rouge General Medical Center’s chemotherapy patients. The show opens on Nov. 2 in the Shaw Center for the Arts.

“I’m a volunteer with the program,” Mayne said. “Artwork is a way to lift up the patients. It gives them something to think about while they’re taking chemotherapy.”

Her winning “2000” design from this show also will be on display during Baton Rouge General’s show.

Mayne, who works at Whole Foods, is applying to graduate schools with art therapy programs.