Art, design & music live in Old Strathcona

We are so excited to once again partner with the SkirtsAfire festival. From March 4-14, experience amazing art, design, and music come to life right here in Old Strathcona. With a strong history of featuring women-identifying and non-binary artists, it was a perfect opportunity to match this year’s Skirt Design competition finalists with a women owned business in the area to display their work.

Merrow Dress

Merrow Dress is a physical ode to a Mermaid. Deirdre continues her interest in fairy tales and folk stories that inspire her. In this project, themes of loss, isolation, and mystery are explored, but sea changed. By macrameing jute, she pays homage to sea-faring communities that have always used the craft for practical and decorative reasons, and interestingly to pass long weeks at sea. Deirdre has found macrame a meditative craft for long COVID winter nights. Cat tin lids represent both the garbage that is progressively choking our planet and its oceans, and our increasingly close relationships with our pets* during isolation. Recycling the cat tin lids, they take on the jewel like nature of metallic scales offering protection and beauty. Merrow is the Gaelic term for mermaid and Deirdre chose this to reflect her heritage.

* Special thanks to the following fancy feast eaters that contributed to this project: Chumley, Peter, Cheech, Marigold, and especially Jenny.

Photos courtesy of April MacDonald Killins Photography / @april_mac_killins

About Deidre

Deirdre McCleneghan’s art practice centres around her love of working on paper, and  developing her love of narrative. Paper as a material is inherently immediate, receptive,  absorbent, and malleable, and lends itself to Deirdre’s highly intuitive approach to art  making.  

It is this way of image making that seamlessly melds her experimentation in her highly  expressive interpretations of fairy tales, folk stories, and poetry. Currently, Deirdre is  creating a sculptural fibre project that was created as part of a design competition, and  influenced by her keen interest in story and object.  

Deirdre McCleneghan was born in Galt Ontario (1964), and made Edmonton, Alberta  her home with her family in the seventies. Deirdre felt as a “transplant” a bit out of  place, and she discovered that her keen interest in drawing alleviated feelings of  loneliness and isolation.  

Deirdre completed her formal artist training at the University of Alberta (BFA 1987), and  it was that she began her love affair with drawing the human body. It would become a  lifelong extension of her practice and enhance her current practice. 

In exploration of the body through her drawing practice, Deirdre McCleneghan  develops playful yet forceful identities often using fashion and clothing. For Deirdre, life drawing remains a critical part of her practice as an artist because it  allows such close scrutiny of character revealed through the body in gesture,  movement, and expression. 

The Bamboo Ballroom

The Bamboo Ballroom has been a fashion forward destination on the avenue since 2005. Opened by friends, Kyla Kazeil and Stacy Boruk, the independent shop has supported local & Canadian designers since its inception.

Since 2017, it’s also been home to the Black owned children’s shop, Lil’ Rascalz – “cool clothes for cool kids.

For more than 10 years, the shop has run an annual denim drive every fall. Donations go to YESS, a local organization dedicated to improving the wellbeing, skills, and connection to community for young people aged 15-24.

For store hours & online shopping visit!

The Bamboo Ballroom / 8203 104 Street, Edmonton

Grab a warm drink and a (masked) friend and join us for a COVID-safe stroll around Old Strathcona to experience the Visual Art Exhibit, Skirt Design Competition, and Key of Me singer-songwriter series.

About SkirtsAfire

Founded in 2012, SkirtsAfire is Edmonton’s only theatre and multidisciplinary arts organization featuring women-identifying and non-binary artists. In conjunction with International Women’s Day, our 10 day programming runs each March at various venues in Edmonton. We present powerful and insightful stories to a diverse audience that is hungry to be moved by passionate performances and exhibitions. Programming reflects the true diversity of the thriving arts community in Alberta and Canada, and is adaptive in its approach in order to remain responsive to the needs of artists and audiences.

SkirtsAfire values diversity in the women we represent and therefore welcomes women artists of all diverse backgrounds including trans women, self-identifying women, non-binary people, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, all ethnicities and all abilities.

About International Women’s Day

IWD provides an important moment to showcase commitment to women’s equality, launch new initiatives and action, celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness, highlight gender parity gains and more.

Collectively every person and all groups can make a difference within their sphere of influence by taking concrete action to help build a more gender equal world. From small powerful grassroots gatherings to large-scale conference and events – International Women’s Day is celebrated everywhere. It’s a day for big inspiration and change.

Read more about IWD’s herstory here.

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