Fashion student remakes outfits ruined by vandals

Jessi Eichberger shows off examples of her work. Picture: Jen Lavery
Jessi Eichberger shows off examples of her work. Picture: Jen Lavery
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IT was a wardrobe malfunction that could have unravelled the career of a city art student – but as they say in the theatre, the show must go on.

Edinburgh College of Art Masters student Jessi Eichberger found herself having to start from scratch one week before the Edinburgh College of Art Fashion Show after her performance costume pieces were ruined by vandals.

But despite having months of work wrecked in just minutes, Jessi and her family have been left full of gratitude for the friends and well-wishers across the Capital whose belief and support helped her get everything sewn up again in the nick of time.

The 25 year old, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, has been living in Tollcross for nearly two years while she studied for her degree – but was shocked to find all her hard work ruined.

She said: “All my work was being kept in my studio at the university and when I came in on the morning of the 19th, everything had been completely trashed.

“My studio is housed in the same building as The Wee Red Bar and I was told that the doors separating the club from the main buildings had been left unlocked that night, so I’m not sure if it was just high spirits or a prank that got out of hand.”

Her parents Mark and Phyllis, who were all set to leave for Scotland, were heartbroken when they received a distraught call from their daughter at 4.30am Kentucky time, telling them her precious work had been destroyed.

Mark, 56, who works as a contractor, said: “She was in a terrible state and it was horrible to hear because there wasn’t much we could do from thousands of miles away. We decided to come over anyway and by the time we arrived, Jessi wasn’t sad anymore. She was mad. And when she gets mad, she goes to work.”

Jessi, who only took up sewing a few years ago, decided she was going to remake as many of her pieces as she could in time for the show, which opened on Friday.

“I worked 20 hours a day and managed to remake three of the four pieces that had been ruined, and one completely new one – a waistcoat made of silk paper. And after that I kept on working to get everything absolutely perfect for the degree show – I only finished the afternoon before.”

Her hard work was not in vain, with her display leading to offers to show her work in other arts venues in the city.

And her proud parents say they were also blown away by the support she received in her adopted city.

Mother Phyllis, 62, a retired schoolteacher, said: “Everywhere we went all people wanted to do was help. We were getting taxis round the city trying to pick up the materials Jessi needed and she got a bit upset at one point. The taxi driver not only gave her a hug, but also refused to take any money for the journey.

“Her friends, the teachers and even the security guards and canteen workers at the college were all constantly telling her how much they believed in her. I’d heard great things about Edinburgh but this went beyond my expectations. It’s a truly magical place and I want to thank everyone for how well they’ve treated my daughter.”

Gregor carves up prize

AN Edinburgh artist has been awarded a £6000 grant after winning joint first prize at the Scottish Album of the Year Art Commission Award.

Mixed media artist Gregor Morrison, 28, of Blackhall, who received a Certificate of Commendation from the Royal Humane Society in 2011 after preventing a man from committing suicide by jumping off a bridge, shared first place with Glasgow-based artist Emma Reid after his work making detailed carvings in found objects caught the eyes of the judges.

He and Emma now have until June 20 to create ten pieces of work which will be presented as prizes to each of The SAY Award shortlisted finalists.