Friday, November 14, 2008

Mend it, alter it

Altered Project fundraiser and exhibition slated at Grange

Express Staff Writer

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Just one simple way to understand how the art scene in Boise is changing from wrought iron to hand-wrought "piece de resistance" is to check out the Mend Project.

Hailey native Rachel Reichert and Michelle Keller, a friend she met in an art class at Boise State University, started the Mend Project last year.

Their idea was to elevate craft to an art form, which they did by creating a few dozen re-imagined stuffed animals. A rabbit with fox ears, an owl with an eye patch. These were then donated to the Women's and Children's Alliance of Boise.

"As an organization, we are interested in exploring the potential of handmade objects," Reichert said. "Through our projects, we hope to expand awareness of the importance of craft, improve quality of life for those in need and provide an organized opportunity to give back."

In order to continue to bring the ideas to a larger audience, they began the Altered Toy Project. With donations from artist friends from points around the world, they will donate more than 100 toys to the Children's Home Society of Boise. The toys include those made at workshops held earlier this fall at the Silver Creek Alternative School in Hailey and The Community School in Sun Valley.

Last week, they had a First Thursday show of the many revamped toys at the Linen Building in Boise with music and a silent auction of the many items people sent in to help out.

Tonight, Nov. 14, from 6 p.m. to midnight they will recreate that show at the Grange Hall in Hailey. The show will showcase more than 80 national and international artists.

"We will have a silent auction, a raffle drawing and we'll give away stuff from local businesses," Reichert said. "The event will have live music provided by Boise band ATTN. And to top things off, we will have a hosted wine bar for those who are over 21."

All proceeds will fund 2009 donation projects.

The Grange Hall is located at 609 Third Ave. South in Hailey.

The Mend Project has also issued a limited edition of "Altered Toy Project: The Art of Re-used Toys." The 68-page, hardbound book highlights a selection of the donated toys in full color. It will be available at, at the event and in bookstores.

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