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This artist makes used plastic so pretty, people want to wear it

Tabitha Ott’s wearable art will be on display Oct. 21 at Tapp’s Arts Center in “Fresh Plastic,” an art and fashion show with a dance party to follow.
Tabitha Ott’s wearable art will be on display Oct. 21 at Tapp’s Arts Center in “Fresh Plastic,” an art and fashion show with a dance party to follow. provided photo

It’s easy to love fresh produce, a fresh breeze or fresh laundry, but fresh plastic? The answer might surprise you.

Several months in the making, “Fresh Plastic” is the name of artist Tabitha Ott’s upcoming multimedia event taking place on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Tapp’s Art Center. The title refers to Ott’s wearable art – each piece is fashioned from repurposed plastic – that forms the basis of the show. “We use plastic containers to keep things fresh, so I got to thinking about a fresh perspective on what we do with that plastic when we’re done with it,” she said. “From there, it became all about changing viewpoints on what jewelry and wearable art can be.”

Tabitha Ott presents her monochromatic wearable art primarily made from discarded, re-purposed plastic in “Fresh Plastic.” Tabitha Ott provided photo

Ott’s work is unique in that each piece is not an assemblage of recycled bits. Instead, she painstakingly deconstructs found elements to create something entirely new.

“You often can’t tell by looking at it was it was,” she explains. “And that’s sort of the point. By transforming the original material into something completely different, you begin to challenge material stereotypes.”

Ott, who has been making wearable art for about 10 years, originally envisioned “Fresh Plastic” as a showcase for her work. But it was when she decided that she’d rather have the pieces worn than displayed that what was going to be a traditional art show was transformed a fashion show complete with designer clothing, a runway, lights and music. After the 45-minute show, the space will become a dance party with three out-of-town DJs spinning high-energy tunes.

The fashion show will feature three Columbia-area clothing designers: Anton & Maxine, Blue Tile and SODA Clothing Company. DJs Believe, Spicy Brown and longchild will keep the dance floor full.

Caitlin Bright, executive director of Tapp’s Art Center, couldn’t be more delighted about the show. “Tapp’s has become quite a melting pot of creative activity, so when Tabitha came to us with this high-art fashion jewelry concept, we were all in,” she said. “She has organized a new experience incorporating her art jewelry, emerging fashion designers and up and coming musicians and has fostered a visual and aural enchantment for her viewers. We are really excited about it.”

If you go

Tabitha Ott presents “Fresh Plastic,” an art and fashion show + dance party

WHEN: 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.

WHERE: Tapp’s Arts Center, 1644 Main St.

TICKETS: $10 in advance; $15 at the door.

INFO: www.tappsartscenter.com