Wellington City cranks up a notch when WOW comes to town -- and with this year's red themed paraphenalia plastered across every inch of the city, there was no escaping that the circus had arrived!
Anyone who's seen the show would agree that the standard of the competition gets higher and higher each year, and 2017, my 10th year entering, was no different. Only 103 entries were selected as finalists (there has been up to 160 in past years) and I think for the first time, the international designers outnumbered the local designers. To be selected as a finalist with my entry 'Shepherd's Warning' was quite unbelievable, and takes my number of successful entries to 8.
The inspiration for 'Shepherd's Warning' comes from the ubiquitous corrugated iron that punctuates the New Zealand landscape. This unpretentious and unassuming material with its bleeding colour, captures nostalgia for life beyond the city and evokes feelings of shelter, protection and comfort. Its influence extends beyond being a simple and affordable construction material, and is depicted in the works of many artists and writers. Allen Curnow’s poem “Wild Iron” delights in the sounds of hammering winds on iron roofs and one imagines hunkering down under the iron as the storm blows through. I am incredibly grateful to Tim Curnow for allowing me to use the following words from Allen's poem in my garment: Wild with the iron that tears at the nail.
The aesthetic for the garment takes it’s inspiration from the epitome of rural fashion - the humble one-size-fits-all bush shirt. The varying shades of red in the interwoven checked pattern have been created using a palette of modern colours with red hues & high chroma. A variety of grounds was used to give each shade its unique texture and glazes used to blend and layer the colours, enhancing gloss and translucency.
While the following images may make the process of putting a garment together for WOW look quite straightforward, the reality is anything but! More two-steps-back than one-step-forward. The hood was constructed and deconstructed six times, and the poem on the back was completely ripped off and redone, after taking, what I thought were the final photos! However, the entry deadline sets the finish line and with that, it's packed into a box and shipped off to Nelson for judging.
I entered 'Shepherd's Warning' into the Red section, but the judges decided to show it in the Aotearoa section. On seeing the show, I believe this was absolutely the right decision. And in a happy coincidence, the accompanying song for the section "Poi-E" hails from Taranaki -- the birthplace of the Swanndri!