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Trash or tuxedo?

Mannequins wearing formal wear made out of recycled materials.

Albertsons Library welcomed a group of unique patrons to strike a pose within its vibrant, collaborative space this spring. The well-behaved mannequins donned couture “trash fashion,” one-of-a-kind wearable pieces like evening gowns, men’s suits and cocktail dresses made by Meridian, Idaho, artist Shaun Muscolo from materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

Muscolo handcrafted each piece in the exhibition using techniques like knitting, crocheting, beading and weaving. Her pieces are at least 85% trash. “Much of my work is formal wear,” said Muscolo, whose art background includes metal fabrication. “I appreciate the visual joke and personal challenge of making a sophisticated gown or tuxedo out of what our society normally calls ‘trash.’”

Muscolo also hosted a workshop at the library’s MakerLab where she taught students to make their own recycled fashion accessories. Emily Markus, a senior visual arts major from Orange County, California, made a clutch purse.

“Having access to unusual materials facilitated creative thought and process around the idea of sustainability,” Markus said.

The exhibition and workshop are examples of the expanding and sometimes surprising role of libraries, Library Dean Tod Colegrove said.

“The library has long supported creative ‘makers’ and their activities. It can get noisy. It’s a place where we share ideas, and when we listen to each other we call it learning.”

Shaun Muscolo and students working with fabrics