Saturday 23 July 2016

An Afternoon With Svenja 2016

Although my major work did not get accepted in to the World of WearableArt this year, my work in the field continues, in my association with the marvelous Western Australian Showcase and Exhibition, Common Threads. I am pleased to say I will be judging again next year, and as part of my involvement, I am again hosting An Afternoon with Svenja, with bookings available through Eventbrite. Click on the link to see time, date, venue and costs - and to book, of course!
During the afternoon, I will be presenting a brief history of my own textile work over the years, an outline of my successful WOW entries over the past eight years, an overview of what wearable art means, and the many fields from which it springs. I will also include some detailed breakdowns of the processes involved in some of these pieces, give you some really practical tips on what needs to be considered when entering a work, and taking you through a design exercise to get your imagination firing! It doesn't matter if you can't draw, you can still design. The afternoon is designed for those who would like to design and create wearable art, but are not really sure where to start, as well as those who have some experience in the field, but need some inspiration and some problem solving techniques.
I am also presenting a short introduction to Common Threads at TAFE Brisbane this coming Wednesday 27th at 1:30pm, so students, come on down! Find out what it's all about, stimulate your imagination beyond the constraints of fashion design, and test the boundaries between fashion and art.
Flutterbye by Deb Hiller
Photographer Michael Kelly
Common Threads also has a new project -  Wearable Art Whispers. The Whispers project offers six wearable artists the opportunity to collaborate on the unique creation of a wearable art garment. The finished product will be an acclaimed exhibition piece for the Wearable Art Showcase, held in June 2017 in Mandurah, Western Australia. This amazing opportunity is open to experienced wearable artists living in Australia, able to connect and collaborate with other wearable art artists from around the country, grow the wearable arts community and enhance the artistic reputation of wearable art. If this sounds like you, be sure to apply before 4pm, August 12, and keep an eye on their facebook page for information and updates.
On a personal note, I am trying to make an entry for Wearable Expressions, but swiftly running out of time as I focus on my academic studies - I've been feeling like I'm constantly in front of this computer! Only a few weeks left for one of them, scary, but fantastic! It's an exhibition / competition that went on hiatus for a while, but one which certainly made an impression on me many years ago, and I would like to be part of it as it progresses once again. I have been ferreting through the UFO's and have some nice silk paper and free-motion embroidery motifs to play with....
I'm hoping tomorrow to have a play with making another sample wrap for a workshop I have in November - I made one in white, but I'd like to do a lighter version. My print table is set out with dyed wool, silk and other fabric pieces in colourways so I have a head start whenever I have some time to felt - for this piece the mulberry silk organza and purple fabric scraps caught my eye. I was dyeing some blingy bits for it this afternoon and came upstairs and forgot about it - amazingly, only one small bit seems to have fried! And no fire. Good to have no fire! I did install fire alarms down there this week, by which I mean I threw one in each room - they don't have to be specially mounted, do they?
Sorry about the photos, but this is my camera, in a critical condition, so it is phone photos only for the moment!

Monday 18 July 2016

WOW 2016 rejection

It's finally happened. To me. A thanks but no thanks from WOW. That show that is my life. A rejection. Failure. Noooooooooo!! Hours and hours of work will return to me in a box, never having seen the stage. As I battle with my first rejection from WOW (and I am aware I am in extremely good company here!) I find that this is the saddest part - I will never see the piece I designed specifically for the stage gloriously up there in lights. Or in this case, lighting it up! (put your sound on too!)

My entry, Aoteoroa- the long white cloud - 'is an interpretation of that white cloud, which is not always bright and white, but can darken, and bring spectacular storms - the storms that keep New Zealand lush and green. Raindrops and hail stones glisten in the darkening forms, and lightning flickers ominously throughout the roiling mass. Imposing and beautiful, this show from nature commands admiration and respect.'
Progress in the lounge
The beginning inspiration
aaaaand, this is what we lived with.......
Having initially decided not to enter WOW this year, I convinced myself that I could fit it in if I kept it simple. I still had many bags of bridal tulle offcuts, and I'm not sure how, but these turned into Aotearoa! Wire armatures were made for the skirt, bodice and headpiece, padded and covered in satin bridal scraps. More scraps were shaped with tubing and sewn onto these structures to create the sense of  roiling cloud mass. Tulle scraps were stitched into shape and attached, and spray painted to create shading. Metres and metres of LED's were woven through each piece, and laboriously connected. I know. Bloody lights. We said we'd never do it again!! 2 hours before the shoot we were still trying to figure them out!
A tense moment as we ponder what connects where, and dare not speak!

 Looking through the photos has cheered me up a great deal, as I am still very proud of this piece - I'm just sad that everyone involved in it doesn't get to see it have it's moment of glory. In particular, one Scotty Murdoch, who took the role of Cloud Lighting Consultant, and supplied ALL the lighting components! We'll show it somewhere, Scott!! For the boys who lived with it, taking up the lounge and blocking the TV for months, and wore it for the shoot. For Chantal Brennan, fabulous photographer, Jenelle, support Bunneh extraordinaire. For the entire Svenja support team, and for this guy, who puts up with it all, engineers it, provides sheds to shoot it, goes to bed alone whilst I stay up sewing it, but is so proud of me - my Matt.

I now know what it feels like, and this does not feel good. I think I am only surviving because I had a second entry which did make it - my first ever Bizarre Bra! So I'm still part of it, I still get to see my WOW family. If I didn't have that, I'm not sure how I would be doing. On the positive side, I can now truly empathise when entries don't make it, and know how much of a personal rejection it feels like. Fellow designer Fifi Colston just wrote that it is getting tougher every year as WOW opens up further and further to the world stage, making us up the standard every year, making us world class. She's also just written a note to console those who did not get selected "Many people say 'I should enter' and never do. You did! You rock". Yep, that's right, we rock! You're a wise woman, Fifi! See y'all in Wellington!!