art camp 5On a table strewn with needles, thread, fabric glue and material scraps, Jamyah Burns rests her head in the palm of her hand and sketches a reversible skirt. Across from her, Ashli Wesson weaves thread through lace to finish a felt clutch. The two public housing residents were immersed in a world of haute inspiration and creativity through Frist Center scholarships to attend ARTlab: Fashion Reaction, a summer camp fusing art and fashion.

The camp from June 8 to 12 coincided with the museum’s “Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945” exhibition of more than 90 garments, leather goods and jewelry on display in the Ingram Gallery. Burns, Wesson and other campers visited the exhibit, which includes threads from Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, on the first day of camp.

Fashion designer Carrie Miller and illustrator Lauren Rowling taught the camp, sharing issues of Harper’s Bazaar and tidbits on Cloche hats, beaded purses, Mary Jane shoes and flapper styles.

“This course gives girls an overview of what is takes to work in the fashion business, understand the creative aspect and the end-design process. It gives them a chance to go through the process of starting from scratch to having the end product,” said Miller, who designed for Anne Klein and has created custom pieces for country music stars.

During the one-week summer art-making workshop, Burns and Wesson made shoes, skirts, hats, handbags and jewelry. Miller also taught them how to repurpose old garments and repurpose household items like mesh produce bags into clothing designs.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to get Ashli out of her comfort zone and out of the house. It motivated her and gave her an outlook on a new career,” said Cumberland View resident Angela Wesson of her 11th-grade daughter. The creative bug followed Ashli home, with her buying material and making things around the house even after camp ended.

The camp concluded with an art show where campers wore and displayed their designs for friends and family.