"Ready Familiar" at Ely Center of Contemporary Art


Ready Familiar

New work by Cori Champagne

Ely Center of Contemporary Art

51 Trumbull St, New Haven, CT

October 13 - November 10

Opening Reception Oct 13th, 1-3pm


Clothing is our first home. 

It begins identity, produces comfort, offers protection.  As the world imposes more and constant change, the garments I create imagine that sudden circumstances could somehow be thought through and prepared for, solutions developed, confronted. Crossing borders, fleeing climate extremes, transitioning to a new life - my work responds using the apparel in the most direct relationship with the body that wears and transports it. Based on collected narratives and research, and with an emphasis on the female participant, I create hand-made apparel, from readily available materials.

Ready Familiar considers climate situations where clothing must evolve to better address day-to-day individual needs. “Gulf/PR” is apparel designed for immediate response to flooding, and the subsequent struggle of rebuild and repair.  It layers halter top and shorts for comfort in hot weather, with additional clothing for sun protection and comfort.  A simple harness on the upper arms allows the user to carry a personal raft that also doubles as a sleeping mat. “Shishmaref” is a fully insulated coat, helmet, and snow pants, designed for individual hiking across snow and ice.  “Shishmaref Shelter Model” proposes a reversible sled with individual sleeping shelter based on snow pulks.  As locations shift their potential for habitation, the clothing I create assumes the user could be anyone, anywhere. 

The work in Ready Familiar is developed and tested for its intended use, as well as for the particulars of exhibition.  Along with the complete ensembles exhibited, a limited series is available for purchase which benefits charitable organizations in affected communities.  For Ready Familiar, a series of only ten “Shishmaref” helmets will be available to benefit Indigenous Climate Action.