Mission Statement

Raising awareness and educating the public through high fashion made from recyclable materials.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

AIM HIGH and SLICK at Artfully Reclaimed Show at MOCA in Novato

I was delighted to see friends, other Plexus Members, and the President of NCWCA, Priscilla Otani and her husband Mike Yokum, at the Opening at MOCA in Novato last Saturday.   The Show, juried by Jack Fisher, showcases artworks that take the 4 R's (recycle, reuse, reframe and repurpose) to a whole new level of excellent and innovative arts and crafts.  Several artworks from Plexus Members, including  "Remnants of my life 2009" and "Remnants of My Life 2010 by Juline, "Bootsweiser" by Stuart and "Toxic Habits" by Jennifer, along with "Slick" and "Aim High" by me, are on view through July 10.   Juline's artwork was featured in the Marin IJ last Thursday.  I hope you can make it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fwd: Upcoming Exhibition - Artfully Reclaimed and Spectrum

Hi All,

My artwork has really taken off with my Hot Off The Press series of wearable art made out of recycled plastic bags.   I hope to see you at the Opening this Saturday, May 28,  5-7 pm.



Begin forwarded message:

From: Marin Museum of Contemporary Art <scott@marinmoca.org>
Date: May 25, 2011 3:55:35 PM PDT
To: elisecheval@gmail.com
Subject: Upcoming Exhibition - Artfully Reclaimed and Spectrum
Reply-To: scott@marinmoca.org


Opening Saturday May 28, 2011

Reception: 5 - 7 pm

Exhibition Dates: May 28 through July 10, 2011

 artfully reclaimed image

Artists from across the country transform the appearance of materials once meant for discard, creating art from recycled and repurposed materials 


Juror: Jack Fischer of the Jack Fischer Gallery


Running concurrently in the Hamilton Gallery


Spectrum: Color as Expression and Form

spectrum image

Artists Lar Landa and Joseph Slusky

employ color as an important expressive element, creating works that are both celebratory and seductive.


Co- curator: William Torphy 



 About  MARINMuseumofContemporaryArt

 Located at the Novato Arts Center at Hamilton Field,

MarinMOCA is a vibrant arts organization providing the

community with an ongoing series of juried shows, regional

and national exhibitions, guest artist lectures, demonstrations,

workshops, classes, outings and critiques.


  Novato Arts Center at Hamilton Field, 500 Palm Drive, Novato, CA 94949

 Open to the public  Wednesday - Sunday, 11am - 4 pm

Come visit our Museum Store! 




and visit us on Facebook! 


Find us on Facebook 





This email was sent to elisecheval@gmail.com by scott@marinmoca.org |  
Marin Museum of Contemporary Art | 500 Palm Drive | Novato | CA | 94949

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Evite for Re:Value Show at Falkirk Show, June 17 through August 20.

Dear Art Lover,
Please find attached the Evite for the Plexus Art Group Re:Value show, featuring the art of 14 fantastic contemporary artists.  I hope my artwork, a 7 foot steel tower filled with audiocassette tapes, will take you on a nostalgic journey and my newest passion - wearable art made out of sewn and fused trash bags - will leave you in stitches! 
I look forward to seeing you at the Opening, June 17, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Annual Member's Exhibit at Marin Civic Center through July 15

Come to the Marin Civic Center and see the newest addition to my Re:FUSE collection.    

"Bubblelicious", 2011

Sewn and Fused Bubblewrap

This wearable party dress and hat is made out of pink Bubblewrap that I found on the way back from the vet in 2009 in San Francisco.  The structure of Bubblewrap, with air pockets, makes it great for protecting valuable goods during shipment.  But, this very same patented manufacturing process gives Bubblewrap a bad reputation in environmentally conscious folk's minds because it is NOT recyclable.  When I make a wearable piece from a material that is not recyclable, I achieve my goal to use fashion as a spokes piece for public education about the nature of plastic.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Women Rule at "A Sense of Place" Show at the ARC Gallery in San Francisco!

The Opening for "A Sense of Place" at the ARC Gallery in San Francisco took place in a well lit space with entertainment and refreshments.  I was delighted to see my eggshelled vinyl and Velcro dress, "Breaking Through", holding her own in the center of the gallery, under a "devore" umbrella called "The Sky is Falling", by Judy Shintani.  The pairing is perfect and suggested to visitors that the two pieces are a diptych by the same artist!  From the picture, you can see that Judy and I are coming from a similar place in terms of our thoughts and feelings about vulnerability and fragility in a world visited by disasters. 

I met Gaia Toscano, the hard-working intern at NCWCA, who designed and produced the catalogue for the show, when she came into my printmaking class at College of Marin looking to grow their membership.  Gaia was so helpful and generous in offering me an opportunity to be a part of NCWCA's member show at the ARC Gallery that I couldn't resist stepping up to the challenge to meet deadlines for submission of my artwork.  

I had a lot of fun talking to the artists and learning about their artwork.  Having a strong interest in digital painting, I was naturally drawn to Susan Liroff's piece, "Down the Road".  Susan is a master with Adobe Photoshoppe.

Anne Shulemberg's photocollage, "Skyline Reflections - Morning" reads like a self portrait.  Anne is a gentle soul, who took the opportunity to reflect on her move from Oakland for the theme of the show.

My girl, "Breaking Through", has taken my art on a journey these past few years.  She was labeled "Best Mention" by the juror in the "Take 2 Show" at the O'Hanlon Center For the Arts and noted in the Marin IJ in 2009 and was awarded a green "Best Mention" ribbon at the Marin County Fair in 2010.  Now, she is on view through May 21 at the ARC Gallery.  Moreover, the reception of my eggshelled vinyl and velcro wearable dress has encouraged me to create a full wedding dress for the upcoming MOCA show, "Shattered", to be juried by Kenneth Baker from the SF Chronicle.

Finally, my husband Georg's delight with Jain Hutzell's intricately beaded wearable art, "Inviolate",  is a testament to the joy and power women's art brings to us. 

Here is the best long view shot of the Gallery, as seen from the refreshments table, according to my husband who is more of a photographer than me.  Nevertheless, I will be posting more pictures of the show since I volunteered to photograph the artworks and the Closing panel discussion on May 21.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Elise in "Sew La-La"

I went to O'Hanlon Center For the Arts today and my friend Carolyn took my picture in my coffee suit!

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Re:FUSE" Upcycle Runway Show Coming in 2012!

I have been designing up a storm, drawing croquis on my iPad. For my recycle runway show, "Re:FUSE", slated for the Loft Gallery in 2012 at the O'Hanlon Center For The Arts, I am creating a collection of garments related to my favorite music icons. For this Project, I am starting with the famous white bell-bottom pants with orange gussets Elvis wore in his Vegas show, "That's The Way It is" in the early '70's. I have collected white recyclable garbage bags for the pants and high-collared fringed jacket and orange Home Depot bags for the gussets for several weeks now. Even though I have a soft spot for the King, I agree with the folks in my art group Plexus that the title "White Trash" will be perfect for this piece. I plan to show it at our upcoming show at Falkirk in San Rafael this summer. I also designed a sleek black body suit that reminds me of something Cat Woman wore on the Batman and Robin Show when I was a kid. For this outfit, I will use black construction trash bags and long zippers down the front Princess seams, back and sides. I happened upon a close-out sale at Ben Franklins Craft Store in Novato today. The zippers I envisioned for this garment are typically used in sleeping bags, but they will look tres chic in my new body suit made out of sewn and fused Husky trash bags. Given that my last garment, made from a vinyl banner printed with words and motifs related to coffee, is called "Wake UP Call", and that this new garment is distantly related to sleep, I ponder on the meaning of my body suit. I wonder if its wearer will wake up to the drastic and fantastic nature of plastic when she walks down the runway sweltering on the hottest day of the year?


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It Pays To Have an Editor in the Family

I asked my sister, Tamra Phelps, who is a book editor to look at the
piece I wrote and she offered up her editorial skills.

Elise Cheval Wins Whole Foods' Creative Reuse Contest

Elise Cheval entered Marin, California's Creative ReUse Contest
sponsored by Whole Foods Market. Susan Grelock, of the Mill Valley
Whole Foods store provided Cheval a myriad supply of small- and
medium-sized vinyl banners.

Cheval inspected and evaluated the banners for two days. She "slept
on" how the bits and pieces could best be utilized to emphasize the
motifs' designs. The two pieces Cheval selected was a 4' x 8' coffee
banner—this piece originally promoted a Whole Foods' 20 percent off
sale—and a double-sided 3' x 5' organic food banner, which was printed
with apples and cursive writing.

The largest banner contained images and a word related to coffee and
was made of printed vinyl. Fortunately for Cheval's creation, the
quantity of the coffee banner was limited and therefore stretched her
imagination. The organic food banner Grelock provided had a black back
and was also made of vinyl.

A quilter, Cheval, used her skill of creating fabric from bits and
pieces, a couple of Butterick® and McCalls® clothes patterns. She
strategically placed the large coffee motifs and black material to
integrate a jacket and skirt with a coordinating bag. Cheval's plan
was to top off the outfit with a hat, but she ran out of materials.
Please, if anyone has Whole Foods bags or banners, they would like to
donate to the cause, Cheval would happily take ownership.

Cheval jokes she underwent a warrior-like initiation to create the
garment. "Crumple" marks can be found on the vinyl, showing where the
garment was turned inside out four grueling times to create the
sleeves and collar; and, if one looks very carefully, tiny smears of
blood can be found. The bloodstains were caused by the multitude of
stabs received from the numerous pins and needles. Her cantankerous
twenty-year-old Viking 500 home sewing machine also reminded her of
the difficulty one has when working with three and four layers of

Throughout making the coffee suit, Cheval played with titles; one
"Wake-Up Call" spoke to the dual nature plastic and coffee has on our
planet and inhabitants and impact of their use. The metaphor of coffee
as a stimulant to "make us alert" cannot be ignored either. In the
end, she settled on another idea for a title, "Sew La-La."

When Cheval met folks at the Event who asked her how she "did it"
[created the outfit], she tells them she works very slowly, stays in
touch with Spirit, and is fully aware that anything could happen that
would effect the creative process. She also expressed, "I am a
Feldenkrais teacher. When you can't open the door, move the house!"

Sew La-La is a wearable, beautiful, and truly stunning outfit. The
final piece met Cheval's goals and the entrance criteria for the
Marin's Whole Foods Market Creative Reuse Contest. Cheval's told this
reporter that "while loading the garment in her car trunk, a woman who
had seen the suit hanging at the Event jumped out of her car
exclaiming, "WOW, I love your suit!" The driver was so excited to
speak with Cheval that she forgot to put her SUV into park. While
talking to Cheval the SUV was rolled towards the two women and a
parked car. Trying in vain to prevent the inevitable, Elizabeth
stepped on Cheval's foot. After impact and the determination that no
one was hurt, Cheval asked the man in the parked vehicle if he
sustained any injuries. His response was, "No. I was distracted by
your suit!" Soon he learned the reason Elizabeth's car hit his was
because she too was admiring the outfit. "So many stories go into the
making of a garment," exclaims Cheval.

Cheval's efforts paid off. Her endeavor received an award issued by
the president of the Whole Foods corporation called "Nickle for
Non-Profit Program." On June 1, Cheval's favorite non-profit
organization, The O'Hanlon Center for the Arts will receive a monetary
award from Whole Foods Market. Additionally, she has been invited to
wear the garment and perform her improvisational singing and plastic
story-telling about the product's drastic impact and fantastic nature
at the contest's Recognition Event at the Throckmorton heatre in Mill
Valley on June 1st.

Cheval's wish is that she had a video of the entire process, but being
under the gun to create her work, her focus was to finish the garment
by the contest's April 30th deadline. Cheval's dreams continue to come
true.  Judi Shils, Executive Director of "Teens Turning Green," has
asked her to work with her organization's kids to create a fashion
show, using, you guessed it, garments made out of trash. Keep your
eyes open Marin. There is a reusable fashion show on the horizon.

Author, Elise Cheval
Edited by Tamra Phelps

Elise in the NEWS!

I dropped off my eggshelled vinyl and Velcro dress at ARC gallery for
their show, "A Sense of Place", in San Francisco on Sunday!  As a new
member, the ladies were excited to hear
about my success in Whole Foods' Creative Re-Use Contest. Priscilla
asked me to send
them pics and a written story for their e-newsletter.   It's fun to
see my name and work in print! What a great springboard upon which
to build new relationships at ARC!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sew La-La at Whole Foods' Creative Re-Use Contest

SPECIAL PRIZE for "Sew La-La" from Whole Foods' Creative Re-Use Contest

I worked harder than I ever have for a week, after picking up vinyl banners from Susan Grelock at Whole Foods in Mill Valley last Saturday, on a " trashy" suit that gave me and my 20 year old Viking 500 sewing machine a real run for my money. I prayed every time I heard the motor balk over 3 and 4 layers of vinyl that Spirit would allow me to finish my wearable ensemble by this morning. I had my heart set on winning a monetary award for my favorite non-profit organization, the O'Hanlon Center For the Arts, where I basically built my career since my first entry in the "Love of Fiber" show, in 2008. As a social activist, I was stoked when Susan introduced me to Daisy, the Curator for the Trash Art show coming up at the Throckmorton Theater on June 1, who asked me to wear my ensemble and perform my improvisational singing I've been developing for 2 1/2 years at the big event! Plus, I was introduced to the Director of the organization, "Teens Turning Green", who would like me to work with the kids and put on a trashion show, fashion made out of trash. A few days ago, I asked Spirit, " Why am I making wearable art that is not "wearable"?" I got my answer and wrote in my journal that I am simply making attractive Haute Trash fashion, aka "trashion", to help raise awareness about the problem with plastic and the 5 gyres that accumulate human non-biodegradable waste that are destroying our oceans and threaten to destroy us. I see high fashion as an innovative approach to draw attention to a large problem. Once folks see and more importantly wear my ensembles, they will experience the "cold-hot", disembodied sense of where humans are going if we don't learn about the effect of plastic on our oceans, our health and change our behavior. I meet folks every day who haven't even heard of the Great Pacific Gyre!