Picks for September ArtHop: Get a slice of Trashique at Fresno Pacific. Also: Zirul at Fig Tree, Bitters at Corridor 2122, Hudson at Clay Hand and Smiths at Scarab

Trashique is a fundraising tradition at the Fresno Art Museum known for its glamorous fashion show of fine-arts-inspired garments made of recycled materials. But because it’s easy to miss – it’s a one-night event and comes with a hefty ticket price – lots of people have never had the chance to see the art in person.

Now, as part of ArtHop, you get a chance to glimpse some of those celebrated gowns. For free.

Artists Laura and Sam Tekunoff, who both work at Fresno Pacific University, are excited to present “Beyond Trashique,” an exhibition that focuses on their years of participation in Trashique. The exhibition will be held at the Ewert Art Gallery of the Warkentine Culture and Arts Center, 4838 E. Butler Ave., Fresno, part of the main FPU campus. It runs through Sept. 28.

The show is one of my picks for ArtHop, the monthly open house of galleries and studios sponsored by the Fresno Arts Council. You can read the rest of my picks after this interview, and you can check the Arts Council’s website for complete venue information. Most venues are open 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, and various hours throughout the month.

I caught up with the Tekunoffs – he teaches graphic design, she is the university’s events coordinator – to talk about this rare chance to see Trashique creations beyond the runway.

Q: I know that Trashique is a Fresno Art Museum event. What do you consider your show — sort of a satellite version? Do you know if anyone else has done a show like this featuring one or two Trashique artists?


Laura: “Beyond Trashique” is a collection of dress designs that have been featured in past Fresno Art Museum Trashique fashion shows. The purpose of this show is to present our garments in a new, more intimate light. Viewers can see the outfits up close and take in the creativity and hard work put into their creation. To our knowledge, we have not heard of any other shows like this in the area.

Q: How many garments are in the show? Have they ever appeared anywhere besides Trashique?

Laura: Three garments each from Laura and Sam = six total. None of these garments have appeared anywhere else than the fashion show.

Q: I’m hoping that both of you can pick one work each and talk about them in detail. What was the creative process? What were the most difficult materials to work with?

Sam: The 2018 René Lalique dress stands out because the design pushed the boundaries of recycled materials used in wearable fashion. The dress utilized a bath rug, a kitchen sink bag, hot glue, tin lead resin core (soldering wire), chicken wire and dry ice within the construction. Creating this design was a challenge because of the delicacy of the materials, especially the chicken wire and dry ice.

Laura: The 2022 Ruth Asawa dress is one of my favorite pieces. For this garment, I wanted to emulate Asawa’s weaving techniques by incorporating three different styles of weaving into the piece. I collected over 15 pairs of Levi’s jeans and cut them into strips and squares. Using my skills as a quilter, I pieced together the skirt in a patchwork style, alternating dark and light jeans. For the bodice, I incorporated two additional weaving styles, including a traditional style and braids on the straps. Jeans can be particularly difficult to work with at times because of how thick the layered pieces can get. I may have broken several sewing needles trying to sew on the braided straps.

Q: The line between fashion and art can be fuzzy. Do you consider your works more one than the other?

Sam: I believe the dress designs are more of a hybrid of fashion and art. One cannot overpower the other because both a very important to the process and execution.

Laura: I agree with Sam. These garments are functional, wearable art.

Q: What are the preservation challenges of your works? Is a garment made of recycled materials more likely to fall apart?

Sam: The dresses can be challenging to preserve but if you put forth the effort in construction the garments in the beginning, they will last for years to come.

Laura: When I created the dresses, I wanted to make sure that they were (1) functional, and (2) they would last a long time. Most all of these garments have been hanging in a closet for the last ten years.

Q: Which comes first: you stumbling upon a certain recylcled item or material and being inspired by it to make a garment, or envisioning a shape or style and then figuring out which materials would work best?

Sam: The garment takes shape with a sketch in the beginning then material hunting begins. In the process, the garment design evolves and changes, depending on the materials used. You must be patient and not force your material, allowing the creativity to flow and grow.

Laura: I feel like we’re always collecting random items that could be used for Trashique! Since we don’t know too far in advance who the inspirational artists will be (usually just a few months’ notice), we begin collecting random unconventional materials years in advance in order to have enough stockpiled to create an outfit for the show. There are times, though, where we have had to crowdsource discarded items in order to have enough for the show. Typically, my garments always start with researching my inspirational artist and pulling ideas from his or her works. Once I have an idea of what I want my garment to look like, I begin thinking of materials to start collecting to create an unconventional textile. I wish I could say the design and construction steps come easy, but it does often take a lot of trial and error in order to determine how to construct a garment using unconventional materials. Using items like candy wrappers or water bottle labels is not like using normal fabric.

Q: How long on average does it take to make a Trashique garment?

Laura: On average, the garments in the show took about 50+ hours to construct. Construction time can vary based on the materials being used and the overall design.

Q: Has Trashique made you feel differently about recycling?

Sam: I would say yes, the fashion show has opened my eyes to so many unusual and interesting materials that can be used and incorporated into other creative projects.

Laura: Participating in this show has really opened my eyes to thinking about how one item I would normally throw away can be repurposed into wearable art!

Q: Anything else you’d like to say?

Laura: Trashique has really transformed over the last ten years! It has been a privilege to be a part of the show and support the Fresno Art Museum in this capacity. We are both very excited to show off our garments!

Other ArtHop picks


It takes an incredible amount of time, skill and creative energy for Evany Zirul to make one of her wire sculptures. (Talk about making art from trash – she uses recycled wire coat hangers.) Her new show “Metal Play” at Fig Tree Gallery features mostly new works, and an intriguing theme emerges among some of them: that of “play.”

She writes: “Playing games, playing with the media, playing with the audience. This is a new theme including puns on “Off to the Races“ and Leaping Dog.”

“Leaping Dog,” she adds, is an animal sculpture that seems pettable with an interchangeable ball. “The challenges are to create a three-dimensional piece without using an armature (an internal bracing like a skeleton) and to achieve the maximum movement and balance.”

Another work to look for: “Hedge Hog” has impressed many people. “It appears soft and appealing, but, of course it is hard spiny and heavy. I worked the basic shape of the animal in a grid frame and then laboriously welded each spine sequentially and individually onto the frame. No shortcuts were taken, none were possible.”

Here is a studio visit featuring Zirul I filmed with Joyce Aiken several years ago:

Stan Bitters at Corridor 2122

As one of Fresno’s most successful and honored artists, Stan Bitters is a must-see when he has a local show. “Beyond the Tea Cup: A Stan Bitters Exhibition” will run for two months at Corridor 2122. He has commissioned works not only in California but New York, Mexico, Berlin, and even as far as Tahiti.

From his artist bio: “He is the last of the ceramic abstract expressionists who in the 1950s, under the iconoclast Peter Voulkos, sidestepped traditional and rigid approaches to material in favor of energy and experimentation.”

Receptions will be held at both September and October ArtHops. The exhibition will also be available for Friday viewings by appointment, outside of normal Corridor 2122 Saturday/Sunday 12-4 hours.

Margaret Hudson at Clay Hand Studios

Nanette Mattos of Clay Hand Studios writes:

“As promised, whenever we have a monumental exhibition I am letting you know. In September, as part of our tribute to the clay “Legend,” of the Central San Joaquin Valley, we are featuring Margaret Hudson. We have been working with her grandson, Soren Rasmussen Hudson, creating an exhibit of original works by Margaret.”

The show is titled “Petal Forms and Grief Works.”

Hudson, who died in 2020, is best known for her joyful clay sculptures of children and animals. But the gallery wanted to step away from her more known works and dig deeper into the person.

“It is an emotional exhibit as it includes both her experimentations in abstract forms and the evolutionary turn they took upon the death of her son,” Mattos writes. We believe it will give us a completely different look at her as a person and not just a creator of the beloved children and creatures. We will also have a few of her children’s sculptures side by side with the dramatic abstract ones — hoping to create the juxtaposition of her well-known side along with her not so well known life.”

The exhibition runs through Sept. 28.

Smiths at Scarab

Kerby C. and Lura Schwarz Smith are not only fascinating artists – they’re also incredibly nice people who love talking about their art to strangers. With their show “Windows and Artists,” they are the featured artists at Scarab Creative Arts.

The Munro Review has no paywall but is financially supported by readers who believe in its non-profit mission of bringing professional arts journalism to the central San Joaquin Valley. You can help by signing up for a monthly recurring paid membership or make a one-time donation of as little as $3. All memberships and donations are tax-deductible.

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (1)

  • Jackie Ryle

    Thank you, Donald, for your always positive and insightful reviews and recommendations. This one in particular brings me great joy! I love Trashique! My favorite event of all time! Sure hope I am able to see this exhibit, and all the others you share.


Leave a Reply