Sunday 25 September 2016

Wellington WOW Whirlwind

We're back from the three day party that was WOW, we're exhausted, and we're wondering if it even happened at all!! After checking in at Rydges, and getting changed for Preview night, we headed up to my mother's apartment for drinks and nibbles, only to be told that she was 'somewhat immobile' - dear god, what has she done?!! Luckily she had only strained her ankle, although there was a wheelchair, bandages and ice involved!
The show turned tradition on its head by starting off with the Bizarre Bra section, usually a high energy finalé to the show. I was really pleased with the way mine was presented, on a lovely boy as requested, and without bouncing around too much! Here are the entry photos, modeled by Mr Pole Dance Australia Adam Lin, and superbly captured by Chantal BrennanPhotography. No show photos of it to be found as yet, but in my search I came across this inspiration video for the 2017 WETA workshop section of 'Science Fiction', which has some lovely footage of last year's entry 'Return to Earth 4545'.
View of the harbour from Rydges
Following the show we trotted over the road to Arizona for a bit of a show debrief, largely with the Australian Designers, as well as Lynn Christiansen. Turned into a bit of a late night as we were still buzzing...
Up early for Designer Day, I left Matt to his own devices for the day and climbed aboard the bus for the TSB Bank Arena behind-the-scenes tour. What was really interesting was the talk by the creative director, which gave us a lot more insight into the production of the show, and made a little more sense of some of the things we saw. However, if it takes that level of explanation to start to get it, methinks something's gone a little awry, as I know many in the audience are still trying to digest and comprehend many show elements.
Two norty pixies!
Adam McAlavey in front, Beatrice Carlson and I cursing in the rear.
After lunch at Te Papa (where many will remember me asking 'where's the wine?!!'), we enjoyed hearing from the guest speakers, in particular the muse of the show, Reuben Paterson.  Even without wine, I got quite a case of the post-lunch nods, and just hope that that doesn't show up on footage anywhere! We were then visited by the Weta workshop team for the application of elf ears - pick me, pick me - and scars, and for one brave soul in each group, the full application of dwarf beard, eyebrows, nose and hair! I wasn't racing for that one, but I sure was first up on stage for those ears!!
At the Ambassadors Residence
The afternoon was finished off with a chainmaille construction session from the Weta crew - I was seated next to fellow pixie Beatrice Carlson - but I'm not sure if pixies are supposed to talk like that.....!! There was much frustration as we tried to assemble it - the minute you pick it up to add a ring it become a complete pile of s%#t! Finally it was drinkie time, although I was horrified to see no bubbles!! "But we're artists", I said. "That's what we drink"!!! It was an enjoyable catch up before the museum closed and threw us out, and some of us moved on to our favourite tapas bar, Avida, where we go every year for the wonderful atmosphere and the goats cheese puffs with honey - bliss!
Natwa, Phillipa Stitchbury-Cooper, myself, Mark
Stitchbury-Cooper, Robert Reed and Jo
Mac's Brewery
Friday it was off to the Australian Embassy, well actually, the residence, for a brunch of largely Moet & Chandon and a superb view across the harbour. Pretty awful!! Next stop, Mac's Brewery, for a highly enjoyable unofficial designer gathering open to all, where I got to meet Paula Rowan, and catch up with Julie Brawley and others over some fine wheat beer. We set off mid-afternoon in hopes of a nap before the big night, but realised this was not really going to happen, so popped in to Avida for some MORE cheese puffs. Hey - 'tis but once a year!! We managed a small loll in the cloud (nickname for the super-comfy bed at Rydges) before throwing on the glad rags once again, to meet previous Australian Ambassador Michael Potts and wife Lynda, who hosted us so wonderfully at functions over the past four years.
An almost-anniversary kiss at Avida

Michael Potts, me, Lynda Potts, Matt and Erica Grey
Showtime, and a marvellous Supreme Winner
in Supernova by Gillian Saunders - a very
deserving winner in my opinion. I walked Mum back to her apartment, and exited, only to find two young ladies who confessed to having followed me as they thought I would know where the post-show party was!! After a giggle and profuse apologies, I led them back to Dockside, right beside the show venue, which was going off! We misbehaved here for a while with Beatrice and Belinda, with some rocking on until 2 and 3 am!
Back up again, for the full pack up, check out, and trundle down to the Museum Art Hotel for the media brunch. Not sure of what the plan was, many of us installed recovery breakfasts in our bellies before attending, not realising it was....a sit down breakfast!! It was a great opportunity to mix once more with other designers, and say goodbye before heading to the airport. I know I said to many that I would try to have a break next year before returning for the 30th anniversary show, but I make no guarantees. I'm looking forward now to the usual post-WOW assessment of what I'm doing, and possible shifts in direction.
Post show shenanigans with Beatrice
We really enjoyed the party life this year, but we never want to do the 3 night run again!!

Tuesday 13 September 2016

One week until WOW 2016

Soooo, just over a week now and the annual WOW trip will be occurring - and what a whirlwind it will be! This being my eighth time as a designer in the show, we decided that we didn't need more than the three nights there. Subsequent to that, we now have a very full dance card! We arrive on Wednesday afternoon, and pick up the much anticipated show programme before attending the Preview. Thursday is Designer Day, where from 8:30-5:30 we are entertained with a behind-the-scenes tour of the show at the venue, presentations from members of the WOW team, and an interactive WETA workshop experience. Quite what this means, I'm looking forward to finding out! Hoping to meet up with Matt afterwards for goats cheese pastry puffs with honey at Avida.......and wine, of course......
Friday morning, we start with brunch at the Australian Embassy, with the new instalment of Ambassadors, then move straight on to the Wellington waterfront for the unofficial Designer Forum, hosted by Matt and Svenja at Mac's Brewery! Normally a recovery affair full of beer and chips on a sunny Saturday morning after the big night, we now have to squeeze it in here, and be careful not to get too relaxed before the Awards Show; the Saturday morning is now claimed by a media brunch at the glorious Art Museum Hotel. From there we will go straight to the airport!! GAH!!
I wasn't going to make a special outfit , as I have so many now, but just last week Spotlight had a sale, and a fabric which I have been eying off for some time was on sale. Can you spot why I needed to get that?! I've graded up the pattern from my model-sized Tropicobana skirt design, and should be able to eliminate the zip, as I'm using stretch fabrics, so it shouldn't be such a nightmare to sew! With an off-the-shoulder top with a wide band of the sequin material, and a matching choker (and possibly a detachable black silk cape affair as well!), I'm thinking this could be a bit fab. Will require matching bow-tie for Matt. And possibly a new vest. What happened to not making anything?!!

I've also been working on more pieces for Wearable Expressions, as I can put in up to three for the one entry fee. Found a bag of silk zja-zjoozhga's (as we call them - circles of fabric distorted by stitching fishing line on) and pinned them together into this neckpiece. Painstakingly hand-stitched the pieces together with silk thread before hand-painting dye on. Having made these five or so years ago for Morphology exhibition pieces, I didn't realise until then that the fabric was rayon/silk (why I used this devorĂ©-perfect fabric for this purpose  I will never know), and having used acid dye on it, the best colouration is on the back of the piece. Again, sigh......
Sunday we got up early, washed the two Studebakers, and headed off for the Redcliffe Festival, where we spent a very enjoyable day in the glorious weather. I took my usual activity pack, consisting of inspirational art book, novel, sketchbook and diary, but sans blanket - luckily this shortfall was taken care of by a bunch of bean bags in front of the delightful IndiElla, a divine musical duo. Here I camped for an hour or so, sorted my week and designed my WOW outfit, before repairing to the Ambassador Hotel for some refreshments with Mr & Mr Studebaker whilst watching the Miss Redcliffe Festival Pinup competition. I ventured over, then back to report to the boys, where I mentioned that 'the purple one was good', and the guy at the next table said 'excellent, that's my wife!'. Phew!! Also turned out he was an alpaca farmer of a small flock, so I gave him my card and said I might be interested in some fleece. Around this time, his wife headed off for some post-catwalk photos - in our Studebaker!! Altogether, a relaxing and surprisingly productive day all round!

The Purple one and friend