Artist Cybele Moon partnered with The Trailer Trash Project to offer her Earth Day art installation in Santa Clarita, CA.
Some artists choose paint as their medium. Others choose stone or metal. Cybele Moon chose fabric–or perhaps it chose her. “My mother used to weave and make her own clothes. One of my grandmothers worked in a bobbin factory, and she sewed at home. My other grandmother would crochet and do cross-stitch,” explained the Cal Arts grad student who was a professional costume designer before deciding to go back to school to get an MFA.
Textiles are intertwined with her family tree. “Even my grandfather had a connection to fabric. He came to this country at the turn of the century from Slovakia. He made looms and wove rag rugs in the 1930’s and ‘40’s.”
Cybele spends most of her time at Cal Arts working behind the scenes, designing costumes for dance and theatrical productions. Before graduating she wanted to create some of her own textile art and share it with the Santa Clarita community on Earth Day.
The result: a textile installation resembling dripping vines, dyed in the soft blue and green colors of spring. The work was fashioned from recycled T-shirts donated by CalArts students, faculty and staff.
“Fabric is my medium. I can dye it, paint it and manipulate it,” she said. She is particularly fond of the challenges presented by recycled fabrics. “I can take a piece of clothing, cut open the seams and make something else.”
Cybele’s Earth Day offering demonstrates her dual passion for ecology and art. “We waste and throw away so many things. I wanted to show that you can take a common T-shirt and transform it into something completely different – like a piece of art.”
Drawing on her skills as a costume designer Cybele, along with Jessica Ramsey and Emily Moran, two Cal Arts BFA students in costume design, conducted a workshop for kids demonstrating how to transform used T-shirts into trendy scarves, vests, tank tops and other items of clothing.
With graduation coming up, Cybele’s thoughts have turned to the future. Her dream? To live some place where she can have a huge garden and chickens. Her career goal is to be
costume design professor and to continue working professionally as a costume designer. She will also continue to explore her own textile art.
The experience on Earth Day in Santa Clarita has inspired her to try to take on more collaborative community projects in the future, especially those geared for children.
Her off-campus art project comes at a time when she and other Cal Arts students are working at a hectic pace, trying to finish up the school year.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into or how it would turn out,” she explained on evening before the event, her hands covered with thick rubber gloves while she prepped another batch of T-shirts for dying. “It was a challenge to see if I could do it, to get all those people to donate T-shirts. But I just kept on trying.”
Sam’s vintage trailer provided a framework for Cybele’s piece, giving the trailer’s metal exterior a soft, whimsical look. It could be the beginning of a colorful, art-inspired and Earth-friendly spring.
For more on Cybele Moon, click here for her web site.