Recorded at the Chloe Angus Design Studio
A Conversation between Gerry Sheena, Coast Salish Artist and Chloe Angus, Fashion Designer
Chloe: “So, today we are talking about launching your stuff and telling the story of how we came together, why we came together, why we're doing this work and what it means to us.
That's what people are interested in knowing about, and for me when I was thinking about it this morning while driving here, I was thinking about the story of how we did come together and then, interestingly enough, the design that you ended up creating for the Spirit Wraps being called Eternal Connection and it made me smile in the way of that’s how our relationship feels already, and that's how it feels like we ended up with each other, since Eternal is something that has no beginning and no end”
Chloe: “The definition of Eternal right? And what's interesting about us meeting is that we were shooting our Fall 2020 Collection at the Museum of Vancouver and I had reached out to Peter Latimer about using some masks in in the photo shoot and he said, “sure, I'll arrange some whatever you like” and then the day of the shoot his grandma died, and he had to be like “I'm really sorry but I don't have anything, I have to go and deal with my family”, which of course I understood but I was left a little bit like what do I do? I really had this vision to have this mask photo shoot with the representation of masks on the wall- traditional masks done here- and so I started looking online and looking at what Peter had in store and I found three of Gerry's masks and they were super beautiful. It was the Bear, the Frog and the Eagle carved cedar masks and they were exactly sort of the feel that I wanted.
So that evening sometime I reached out to Peter and said hey no problem, but I found these masks in your catalogue, do you mind if I would reach out to the artist myself? He agreed, so it was sometime that evening, the night before the shoot, and I message Gerry on Messenger through Facebook after I found him on Facebook, I message him thinking he's local so he's going to be around, and he ends up messaging me back like “hey I'm actually out on the East Coast and funnily enough, I can't believe you're messaging me because I was literally just talking with you over lunch with my friend Halina Stopyra” who was Jay Bell Redbirds partner and a previous collaborator of mine, and so Gerry was actually back East with her having lunch with her and talking about fashion, and me! While I am sitting here trying to find this person who I think is local and is on the other side of the country. So even though he was over there, and I was here, we had this incredible connection, furthered by this this incredible connection between this person I've worked with previously as well”
Gerry: [Gerry points to Helena’s print on the wall and says] “There she is right there”
Chloe: “Stuff like that kind of blows me away. I’m like, okay, I am meant to do this photo shoot, I meant to use these masks and I am meant to connect with this artist to collaborate in this way.
At that time, it was just having your [Gerry’s] masks in the photoshoot and that was where it started. From the beginning it felt like an interesting connection, and for me that started off this really great relationship of getting to know each other and knowing we were supposed to know each other and then have things continue and have the opportunity now to work together and to have [Gerry] create an original piece of art for the Spirit Collection. It feels like it was meant to be. You know that when you're meant to work with someone all of these roundabout ways have a way of coming about”
Gerry: “And with me meeting Rosie [a CAD staffer] on social media and that she happens to work with Chloe Angus and then Chloe just happens to be looking for an artist for her Spring line and I’m, like “put in a word for me”
Chloe: “ I mean 6 degrees of separation there! Yeah, we were so close to being together and so close to working together and all of those connections brought that together and then we end up with this beautiful new design, Eternal Connection, that ends up bringing us all together. A new year, a new season, a new artist- that’s been a really, really exciting development for me personally.
Gerry: Same with me, I mean I told Chloe myself, when I was young going to school, I have always been a fan of fashion. I've always flirted with the idea of becoming a fashion designer, but my path took a different turn. But in the end here I am. With Chloe the fashion designer, featuring my designs. Because back then I couldn't draw either so even though I was fantasizing about working with fashion, I wasn't very good at designing or anything, so I was like just a seed in my career. Here I am slowly blossoming with someone with fashion experience and knowhow. Yeah, it's awesome to be here with you”
it's all in the details , Chloe and Gerry going over design elements
Chloe: “Thanks! I think that made me excited too. When we had our first meeting and started talking about fashion and how art translates and how we could work together, I found out from Gerry that he has actually been really interested in fashion from an early age. I think that is interesting, because of your exterior and background; how does a young, indigenous, budding artist learning his path and growing up in Merritt get into creating fashion? Starting from that place, the interesting part is all the different paths that you take through your life and you end up in the places that you were supposed to in the long run anyways. For me, I got excited that he'd already always had a bit of a vision of his art and his ideas working in fashion and now we can work together to facilitate that dream”
Gerry: “Yeah, its awesome”
Chloe: “So I think that this is a really good story that we can create around that feeling. We want to share this meeting with people and this story of how this collaboration came together and was just so serendipitous. Working with Gerry and trying to show more of the details of working behind the scenes and what we do to get here. How a new Spirit Wrap ends up on the website. How a new collection ends up launching. We are trying to share more transparency in the work that we do together, the collaboration that we do and trying to show others that there is a positive path forward through collaboration”
Chloe: “This feather has followed me around in the building of this Collection. When we first met, this is how our collaboration started. The relationship between us had to start with understanding on both sides of we do and what we are interested in and how we want to grow moving forward. When Gerry first came in to meet me, he brought this eagle feather as a symbol of our friendship and our work together and I believe it will also bring us success working together in this collaboration and the work we are going to do together. There is a lot of meaning behind that for me. It's a huge honor to receive something like this and I appreciate it it's monumental value for me personally”
One more question, from Chloe to Gerry-
Chloe: “How are you feeling about the collaboration and the fashion side of it? What are you loving the most about it?
Gerry: “I like the depth of your [Chloe’s] research and how she goes about finding the perfect materials, dyes. In her tenacity, she just always goes above and beyond the call of duty. You know unlike some people who always take the shortcut, I appreciate the quality, the thought, the work she puts in to getting things off the ground”