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KRUKTART: Textile artist Charlotte Kruk poses with one of her dental-themed fashion creations.

Materials Girl

By Jessica Fromm

USED TOOTHPASTE TUBES and real human wisdom teeth might not be most people's definition of creativity, but Charlotte Kruk finds them positively inspiring. Kruk has been designing wearable sculpture made from candy wrappers and recycled product packaging under the label Kruktart for more than 15 years.

Several of her creations, including a dress made out of Baskin Robbins taster spoons, one composed out of Bazooka Joe wrappers and one of Tootsie Roll packaging will appear in Campbell's Fashion Frenzy Fall Fashion Show on Nov. 6.

Kruk says that her most recent artistic fixation is dental paraphernalia. She is currently working this theme into a dress made out of used tubes of Crest, toothpaste boxes, toothbrushes and teeth that she plans to show in an installation.

"The ones from the dentist are pretty gnarly," says Kruk, picking up a blackened molar from a tray full of teeth on a worktable in her home studio in Willow Glen. Kruk funds her artistic fashion pursuits by teaching sculpture and sewing at Lynbrook High School in San Jose.

"Every material is totally different; a lot of the work is really in the collecting stage," says Kruk about collecting the wrappers and teeth for her artwork. "I ask my high school students when they're getting theirs out to give them to their teacher. Those are nice."

Though she has made everything from matador suits to ball gowns out of wrappers, mini–cocktail dresses with sweetheart necklines and bubble skirts are one of the favored silhouettes for her fashions. "I generally cut my pattern pieces out of plastic and fabric, and then I stitch the wrappers back together, sort of what they would have been prefab, pre-consumerism," she explains.

Kruk says that her most recent work has been more conceptual then it was in years past, focusing on women and consumerism. "I think our society is very interesting in the way that we package things. It's more about reinvention of the package, and the reuse of the package. It hits on recycling," Kruk says. "I just have a real curiosity about the way that we're all so sanitary, and the way that we all spend so much energy in the packaging of ourselves, and the packaging of products that we buy."

KRUKART artwork by Charlotte Kruk will appear in the Fashion Frenzy Fall Fashion Show & Silent Auction presented by the Downtown Campbell Business Association on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7pm at the Villa Ragusa, 35 S. Second St., Campbell. Tickets are $25 advance/$30 at door and include hors d'oeuvres and a gift bag from participating shops. (; 408.371.7423)

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