Friday, 25 March 2016

Common Threads Judging Weekend in WA

Early morning take-off on Friday, dog-tired after staying up late during the week trying to finish my fashion design developments. I put them all on the usb ready to work on them on my laptop - at the airport my laptop ran out of battery in 40 mins, and I had forgotten that I only had photoshop, not illustrator on there!! With no book, and no tablet, I thought, 'well at least I can sleep', but that just would not happen! I even hoped that a few glasses of wine on the plane would help, but no. So I sucked it up, got out my notes, and familiarised myself with my presentation, as I had not had a chance to do so before.
On arrival at Perth, I ran into my chauffeur, Jennie Abbott, in the bathroom, which was well done. She kindly drove me the hour to Mandurah from Perth, and deposited me at the Sebel, my home for the weekend. After a quick hello with Barb Thoms, the force behind Common Threads, I settled into my luxurious new home - wow!! It was not just a room, but an apartment, with a lovely view. It was only early afternoon there, and it would have been great to have a walk around, but by now my
tiredness was getting critical, so I showered and crawled into bed with Shaun Sheep. Alas, I was still not to sleep, but managed to lower my heartbeat and at least rest. I was roused at one stage hearing a voice calling out, and wandered out in a towel to find the manager stocking my fridge with Diet Coke, fruit, yoghurt, French Brie and crackers!!  Having got myself dressed and out onto the breezy boardwalk, I alerted Barb to the fact that I was up and out, and she came to collect me to go to the garden party organised at a lovely park. It was lovely - lights strung up, lounge chairs and  couches spread out, live music, a food truck and a bar - my kind of night! After a few lovely brews from the Three Rivers Brewing Company, it was finally time to sleep.
Mmmm, beeer!!
I woke thinking 'whatthehellwasinthatbeer' and then remembered that I had nommed some of the French brie before heading out - a more likely culprit for the absolutely insane dreams featuring giant rabbits, blue guinea pigs, and a meeting with Alice in Wonderland. And people still wonder how I come up with my ideas.....
It was an early start with a meet and greet brekky with my co-judges, and newly appointed ambassador for Common Threads, Rayne Embley, who will be hosting the showcase in May, and who got to model this creation by Louise Wells. See the video of the day here
Rayne Embley in Louise Wells' piece
After a briefing from Barb outlining the theme, sections and awards,  it was on to the very serious, very organised business of judging. Armed with  a booklet of artist statements and photos, it was at times magical as entries glided (or stumbled) in through the darkness to reveal their self-illumination, or tinkled through, or simply walked out to reveal themselves in full light. After a look through the artist statement, we were all on our feet to get out from behind the table and examine the garment in detail. I felt sorry for the young models each time we did this - we seemed to descend like a small swarm of locusts each time! Those designers who were there were able to come in and speak to us after we had completed our examination and answer any questions we had. Mostly we just provided some
feedback, as the artist statements generally covered the story behind them and their creation. One aspect I really enjoyed was the multitude of interpretations of the overall theme, 'Illumination'. Fortunately, we judges were in accord with our scores, so there were no tricky moments to deal with at the end of the day, which finished for me with some lovely drinks (including this lovely passionfruit mojito) and noms at the Peninsular Hotel, just below my digs.  I spent the rest of the evening preparing for my presentation the next afternoon. Sunday dawned as yet another glorious day, so it was back across the bay to The Dome for my wake-up coffee and a lovely walk. I was still on Brisbane time, and was up early, so had time to kill before checking out the markets later on, and lying on the grass in the sun listening to live music - nice.
The view from The Dome to Home
The day was incredibly hot, and I could feel my skin frying as I walked the short distance from the Sebel to CASM, where 'An Afternoon with Svenja' was to take place. I was most happy to step into the air conditioning! I enjoyed sharing my journey with the attendees, and I hope I successfully answered most of the questions they had. I'm so passionate, I could have gone on for hours, but many of them had to pick up their entries from the previous day.
Monday morning dawned gorgeous once again, and I enjoyed the sight of dolphins frolicking in the bay at very close quarters as I trotted off for my coffee.  One final catch up with Barb, then it was time to be chauffeured (thanks again to Jennie Abott) back to the airport, where I sneakily managed to plug myself in to the wall whilst I had a late brunch, before boarding the plane in next to no time, and heading home.

Tuesday I was due to hand in my design developments at TAFE, but although I had hoped to get them done during the weekend and flights, it had not happened, so I was able to get an extension. It was good to be able to just work at home, but it was a solid day, which by no means completed the

designs - her are two of them, I'll probably swap the skirt from the second one into the first, and make that as an outfit. Thursday was also due date for my Magyar coat, which I had dyed, and then decided to make embellished buttons for, which entailed a very late Wednesday night! I had hoped to use the machine at college to make button holes for them, but it turns out they were too large, so I had created myself another job! A few options were explored, but I ended up doing a rouleau loop with some lace, which actually balances the buttons

better than a simple buttonhole would have. So, as usual, troubles turn into bonuses. The term has now finished, after a frantic effort to complete a terms worth of work in a few days, and completed design developments. I was a bit sad to find out that we only have one week break, which I will spend trying to finalise my second WOW entry. It's been a busy start to the year that was supposed to be a bit more relaxed! Next project - to finish my TAE qualification by early May, then off to Tokyo in June!


  1. I really enjoy your recounts, Svenja. You do some amazing work and have the best vibe about! Your presentation would have been great.
    Laughing re the brie, giant bunnies and Alice! xx

    1. Thanks Flora!Yes, sleeping can be exhausting when there's giant bunnies to be dealing with! But so entertaining!

  2. The colours in the coat above are just divine! I am so excited about going to the Common Threads exhibition. Now I can say I got a sneak peak with one of the judges ;)

    1. I'm still deciding whether to make the long trip back over for the Showcase - it's very tempting!

    2. Update: We're coming!! :-)