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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Sheena Matheiken’s The Uniform Project

Sheena Matheiken and the Uniform Project graduate in [sustainable] style after 365 days of wearing, styling and accesorising the same simple Little Black Dress…

Written by Helen Davis

Glastonbury-June-2009-Climate Camp
Can it really be a year since the last Glastonbury? In 2009, viagra sale more about for the first time, Climate Camp was given it’s very own space in the Dragon Field just above the Craft Field as you wend your way down to Shangri La. This year we’re back to once again educate and entertain festival goers at our beautiful site only a few minutes walk from the Old Railway Line.

Glastonbury-June-2009-Climate Camp workshop
Glastonbury-June-2009-Climate Camp paddling pool
Glastonbury-June-2009-First Aid Kit
Workshops, at play, and First Aid Kit playing at the Climate Camp Tripod Stage in 2009.

In 2010 Climate Camp is targeting the Royal Bank of Scotland, which has been bailed out with £50 billion of public money that is now being used to finance the extraction of fossil fuels across the world, with no regard for climate change or the destruction of communities that it causes. We will be camping near the RBS global headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland, between 19th-25th August, but in the meantime to find out more about why we decided to focus on RBS this year come along and take a look at our exhibition at Glastonbury, then pick up a copy of our Never Mind The Bankers newspaper to peruse over a cup of tea or share with friends. We will be running DIY screenprinting workshops where you can learn how to screenprint your clothing with an anti RBS slogan. Simply bring your own or print onto one of our tshirts or bags. A great activity for kids! There will also be a chance to take part in Tripod Training: Tripods are used to blockade and secure a space on a direct action protest; come find out how to put them up and climb them safely. Good fun, and no previous experience or skills required.

Glastonbury-June-2009-tripod training
Glastonbury-June-2009-tripod training
Tripod Training.

Then of course there is our fabulous music, poetry and comedy line up, put together by yours truly. Read on to find out who will be gracing our Tripod Stage…. Pyramid Stage eat your heart out, this is where the real talent is.

Green-Kite-Midnight
Green Kite Midnight.

When I wrote up about the Climate Camp presence at Glastonbury in 2009 in my blog I talked about my hope that my band Green Kite Midnight would be able to play as the Climate Camp house band in 2010, so I’m very excited to report that we will be doing daily gigs this year. Five years ago I co-founded the barndance troupe Cutashine out of a desire to make traditional collective dancing more fun: after all, what’s better than a dance where you get to meet other people and really work up a sweat?

YouTube Preview Image

With Cutashine I played at gigs all over Glastonbury for several years, then left to start Green Kite Midnight through my contacts in Climate Camp; a band that supports and plays at direct action protests. Our first gig was at the Climate Camp in Bishopsgate during the G20 in April last year, we played to 800 people at the Blackheath Climate Camp in August 2009, and more recently we went on a 10 day solidarity bike ride together to play gigs to support the struggle against the Shell gas pipeline at Rossport in Ireland. With myself as emcee (I’m a gobby shite, so turn your mind away from those boring barn dances you might have attended as a child) we can teach anyone how to barn dance, so please come and join us.

And now for the rest of our fabulous line-up:

anna log
Anna Log
My Luminaries
My Luminaries, photography by James Dean White.

On Thursday we kick off four days of renewably powered music with a fabulous folky female. Anna Log – singer with pop folk band We Aeronauts – will be doing a solo set accompanied by her trusty uke. After our first ceilidh Glastonbury Emerging Talent winners My Luminaries round the evening off with a special semi-acoustic set of their epic indie rock.

Kirsty Almeida
Kirsty Almeida
Danny and the Champions of the World
Danny and the Champions of the World

On Friday Kirsty Almeida opens for us with her bass heavy soulful Bayou blues, then we’re pleased to welcome the epic musical dreamscapes of Newislands, described as Pink Floyd meets Depeche Mode. After that it’s time for some other Climate Camp regulars, Danny Chivers, Claire Fauset and Merrick, to grace the stage with their “triple-headed tag team political poetry extravaganza”. They’re all friends of mine that I’ve seen perform before so I highly recommend their set, which will be repeated on Sunday afternoon. As a closer we have the country-tinged big band folk of Danny and the Champions of the World.

kyla la grange
Kyla la Grange
Patch William
Patch William
Dry the River
Dry the River

To kick the day off on Saturday we welcome an exclusive Glastonbury appearance from a talented newcomer with a stunning voice; Kyla La Grange creates soaring melodies and is nearing completion of her debut album. Then comes Patch William – the dreamy lovechild of Nick Drake and Jimi Hendrix, who are followed by the scuzzy rock sound of York boys The Federals, described as a cross between the White Stripes and The Beatles. Then, time for a very special guest. Following my interview with Robin Ince a few weeks he very kindly promised to come by and do us a *special secret set* which will be a must see for all comedy fans at the festival. Tell all your friends! And come on by for a very intimate set from this well known comedian. Dry the River end the day with their beautiful melodic folk, singing songs of religion, history and community to rival those of Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons.

Pete the Temp
Pete the Temp
Pete Lawrie
Pete Lawrie
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

On Sunday we’ve got another packed day to end the festival. Pete the Temp returns to wow us with his comedic eco-political music and spoken word, then we look forward to hearing the bittersweet gospel blues of latecomer Pete Lawrie, who confirmed just as our flyer had gone to print. I am particularly pleased to welcome Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. the official moniker of singer songwriter Sam Duckworth. He will be showcasing music from his new album due for release later this year, and I’ve got a soft spot for him because he appeared in the print version of Amelia’s Magazine. Robinson will play a gypsy cajun folk set before we round off the festival with our GRAND RAFFLE. If you see our outreach team out and about please give generously to support Climate Camp and come along to our grand prize giving, which will be hosted by the inimitable Danny Chivers.

Glastonbury-June-2009-Grand Raffle presented by Danny Chivers
The Grand Raffle presented by Danny Chivers in 2009.

Don’t forget to follow myself and Climate Camp on twitter to find out how the festival is going; we can always live in hope that 3G reception will be better than it was last year! But most of all, don’t forget to come and visit us… and bring your friends along with you. I will of course write up a full report on my return. For a reminder of what to expect read my blog from last year here.

For a map and full timing information for all bands and workshops see this listings page.


Illustration by Maryanne Oliver

School’s almost out for summer. Soon blazers and ties will be ditched, adiposity with delight, cost for butterfly-bright bathers; and mortar boards tossed in glee at graduations everywhere. Uniforms may seem the antithesis of lazy, check hazy holidays and fantastic futures, but in cyberspace there’s one – albeit self-imposed – uniform showing us there’s a wealth of creativity to be found in the economical and ethical capsule wardrobe.  Will the Uniform Project please stand up!

May 1st 2010 saw the Uniform Project graduate with flying colours. An “exercise in sustainability”, in 2009, one Sheena Matheiken had pledged to wear one Little Black Dress, everyday for one year, for the Akanksha Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation educating kids in Indian slums.  Sheena and designer friend Eliza Starbuck, created a LBD which could be worn front, back, undone, for every season and all occasions. And for anyone wondering, “When did she wash the blighter?” she had seven all the same; adapting and accessorising with trinkets and treasures found on eBay, Etsy, or donated by ethical designers, like London’s own, Goodone – oh, and Sheena’s mother! 

Throughout its daily blog posts, the UP showed us how to put individual style into sustainable dress. From Day 1, “Albeit the rain and the swine”, in “classic black form”, through homage to Michael Jackson chic on Day 57, an Indian Independence Day sari ensemble, even an ‘evil sea sprite’ costume on Halloween – “Sprite seaweed and ocean foliage made entirely from UP accessory donors’ packaging material” – the UP proved there was more creativity to be had in one LBD than the whole Haus of Gaga. Well almost. 

In fact the LBD became the perfect backdrop for designers to display their wares.  Day 191 saw Sheena sporting a cape by Raffaele Ascione, “handcrafted from a satin overthrow blanket his grandmother used to own.” A Central Saint Martins student keen to raise funds to support his MA, Ascione’s designs have been donned by Lady Gaga herself, and in donating pieces to the UP he’s gained a web-wide audience eager to lap up his ethical ingenuity.  


Illustration by Maryanne Oliver

With some 5,500 Twitter followers and even more Facebook fans the UP has created an on-line social network to be reckoned with. At a recent New York symposium, Sheena said some of the UP’s ideas, like LBD Fridays, where supporters, worldwide, wore their own LBD ‘uniforms’ in aid of the project, had come directly from the UP community. Philanthropy, she said, should be ‘fun’, “… it’s about engaging on an intimate level and creating awareness in a way that allows people to really be a part of the change you are instigating.” 

At the ‘end of term’ party the UP celebrated kitting out over 260 Indian children for school.  And in the true spirit of sustainable style its Head Girl, Sheena, graduated in a “ reclaimed, recycled, renovated and refashioned” LBD; signalling the future’s not just bright for the kids it has helped into education, but also for the UP itself. 

When Chanel declared the LBD  “the new uniform of modern women”, back in the 1920s, its simplicity symbolised freedom. Freedom from status anxiety and constrictive fashion – another uniform of sorts, only one we didn’t always knowingly sign up to. Perhaps because the perfect LBD is glorified as style’s holy grail the simplicity of its message is often lost amongst all-consuming fast fashion fads. But it’s this very simplicity which has made the UP so successful.  Thus the Uniform Project has proved to be a much needed less-on to us all, to “Aspire. Achieve. Be the change.” (Akanksha Foundation motto).  

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One Response to “Sheena Matheiken’s The Uniform Project”

  1. GenieGalore says:

    I’ve been following the Uniform Project all year, and LOVE IT! And a little trinket to add to the story, I was so excited to find out that the dress designer, Eliza Starbuck, is offering the dress to the rest of us, and thank goodness! I was heartbroken when I didn’t get it in the UP Limited Edition. They have it at http://www.youbrightyoungthings.com

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