Wearable Art as politics: Creating the Colour tribe

Featured image above of Diane Goldie at the Vaults by Chelone Wolf Photography.

I have a mission: to help change the world one person at a time, by helping people be their authentic selves through the clothes they wear.  Does that sound crazy? Probably.

Just call me crazy but after I met the ” Typhoid Mary” of colour,

Adorable sue

The Goddess of Colour, the one who banishes beige: the inimitable Sue Kreitzman.

Sue Kreitzman, my life most definitely changed, along with the lives of many of those around me. But I’ll be back to explain that moment in another post.  In this post I want to share with you the most incredible experience of my life to date : November 3rd 2015, the evening when the colour tribe celebrated and something seemed to be born.

I’ll start at the beginning: I was introduced to an incredible space underneath Waterloo station by a good friend of mine. She took me along to show me an exhibition by a vegan taxidermist called Charlie Tuesday Gates.

Charlie TG TIm

The extraordinary , talented human called Charlie Tuesday Gates.

At the exhibition, The Museum House of Death

there was a preview of a very dark and surreal puppet show using roadkill and dead donated animals. I fell head over heels in love with Charlie and her world. She was an absolute inspiration to me. The preview turned into a full musical, which impressed me greatly. It made me laugh , cry and think about the impact that meat consumption had on our world. The show played to rave reviews and Charlie had the offer to take it to Edinburgh Festival . A crowdfunder campaign saw me signing up to pledge money to help her achieve this goal. The kick back for this pledge was a weeks exhibition in the Vaults Gallery . What a prize!

The date was set and I was in a position of deciding what to exhibit. Now as a maker and artist  at 51 years of age, I find myself with quite a lot of work. I could quite easily fill a gallery with all my own stuff. But that would just be embarrassing… I’ve only just got used to calling myself an artist , with the help of a very beautiful validation painting by Ella Guru .  

Me and my portrait by Ella

Giving a speech in front of my Validation portrait by Ella Guru .

I decided the exhibition was to be about the tribe, the bunch of wonderful ,colourful, creative people that surround and inspire me. It was to be my world, where my friends make up a large part of it. I make wearable art, many of my friends have commissioned pieces from me, and the exhibition would be a chance to showcase the clothing and have a bit of a party.

In these grim times, where neo-liberalism preaches about the cult of the individual, where the ‘I’m alright Jack’ way of thinking prevails, after Margaret Thatcher declared the death of society and David Cameron talks about his Big Society ( where we stomp on the most vulnerable and only embrace the middle and upper classes… what a joke!)  I wanted to celebrate what I knew to be true: that difference and diversity is beautiful, that vulnerability is also strength, that individuals need to join hands to support others to form a safety network for the most vulnerable and those needing extra support. I consider myself and my friends , beautiful freaks, able to use creativity to do things differently given a nudge in the right direction. So it began.

Friends were invited to participate in the exhibition and the opening was to feature a #fckfashion catwalk along the graffiti tunnels immediately outside the gallery. The venue was perfect for my vision of bringing art from gallery walls into the street on people’s backs , subverting establishment art based on investment, where the art is worth more after the death of the artist and the value depends not on the quality of the work but in the mystery inherent in the piece. The Emperors New Clothes has never been a more pertinent fable for our times.

I’m hoping Kanye is being clever and referencing the fable in his fashion collection in the Youtube clip. I think I’m being kind.

My brand of wearable art, c.Art is about bringing craft’s status up on a par with art. It is feminist in its ideology, craft always being the creative outlet that was what women did since they were not allowed in the life studios of the men artists , I put the small c of craft before the large A of art, to subvert the status and make it on a level. The A of art is also circled, anarchy style in my label, again as a reaction to the role of status in fashion. Art and clothing should be for everyone. Everyone deserves to look and feel good; not just the wealthy or the ones with power.

So, back to the exhibition: I invited Sue Kreitzman , John Lee Bird, Dan Vande Hei, Anne-Sophie Cochevelou, Dan Upson, Emma Zarifi , Emily Howard, Charlie Tuesday Gates, Mervyn Diese , Jaime Freestone , Scorpio , Marnie Scarlet and Ella Guru  to join me . They are a heady mix of muses, friends and fellow artists who I love completely. Our shared aesthetic is clear, we all are clearly not colour phobic.

As the event  drew near, I realised I needed music to go with the tribal stomp that was to be our catwalk. Bookabeat to the rescue! Gorgeous friends, Naomi and Makeda who run this live music platform delivered way above my expectations: I was to have the rock goddess Z-Star   to lead the beat. Excited wasn’t the word… I adore this musical force of nature! Now I’m just going to post a few of the little videos and pictures  of the event and let you feel the vibe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCnLw1KznT8

Absolutely beautiful photos available here of the event to purchase by Rupert Hitchcox : Photos of the World of Diane Goldie 

Rupert Hitchcox 2

photo by Rupert Hitchcox of The World of Diane Goldie at the Vaults opening event

Here’s just one example:

It was emotional. There were tears, but most of all smiles and laughter as the tribe spirit was born.

ZStar Tim

The Goddess of Rock and beats: Z-Star. Once seen,heard and felt, never forgotten.

Vaults gallery

The entrance to the Vaults Gallery under Waterloo station. The coolest gallery on the planet. Bar none.

Me and Tim

Me and the wonderful photographer/human/friend that is Tim Hoy-Griffiths. He is wearing a jacket that he designed and I made.

Emma and I by Ella

Me and the extraordinary force of colourful nature that is Funk Cutter of the punk band Anarchist Wood. I adore her. She is wearing a coat of her own design made by me.

Butterfly beauty

Soft sculpture with butterflies at the Vaults Gallery . By me. Photo by Tim Hoy Griffiths.


The delightful , quirky and talented Anne Sophie Cochevelou , costume and jewelry designer extraordinaire, with Florent Bidois.


Birth. A soft sculpture by me.

Baune alterpiece dress

The Baune Altarpiece Dress , after a painting by Rogier Van Der Weyden. Hand painted , appliqued and embroidered. I’m obsessed with religious iconography and the imagery of heaven and hell, despite not being at all religious.

03Nov2015_0708 Tim2

The tribe celebrates colour and diversity. With Marnie Scarlet, and Sue Kreitzman and my granddaughter, Erykah.

Ella's photo Vaults

Art on our backs, not on gallery walls. This is the spirit of c.Art wearable art.

03Nov2015_0704 Tim

“We accept her , we accept her , one of us! One of us!” Leading the #fuckfashion walk down the graffiti tunnels in Waterloo.

Life study

Life Study in acrylic on paper . By Diane Goldie.

Ella hug

It’s all about coming together as a community. A big hug from the hugely talented Ella Guru.

David and the gift

A wonderful hand crafted gift from a beautiful man. Thanks David. David Mercer makes wonderful collage pieces with vintage comics.

Listening to speech

Listening to the call to action to create a colour tribe as a reaction against Neo-Liberalism and it’s selfish values.

Marnie Max

The superstar Marnie Scarlet, my original muse and her wonderful partner Max, who gave me the kick up the bum to stop being shy. I adore these humans. They’re both wearing Diane Goldie c.Art wearable art.

Davids waistcoat

David Mercer’s original c.Art waistcoat .

Anne Sophie tribe Zac phot

The delightful carnival world of colour of Anne Sophie Cochevelou

Crucified fifi

My fairy puppet Babyfairyfifi and she’s holding a crochet self portrait as a children’s entertainer. She’s getting her own back it seems.

03Nov2015_0713Tim 4

What a night! I shall never forget it.

Z-Star and other photos by Tim Hoy-Griffiths

To join the tribe just head over to my website www.iheartcart.com  

You can order your own piece of wearable art  and express yourself. It doesn’t have to be technicolour, it’s all about you being the most authentic you , you can be. Dress without fear, dress as if no one is watching. Let’s fuck with fashion. Let’s do it in style.



  1. Florent Bidois · November 10, 2015

    Great article and very inspiring work from everybody you gathered around you! I love your world, Diane! 🙂


  2. Pingback: Friends, Fashion , Fun and Feelgood Factor | dianegoldie

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