“The best things in life are unexpected - because there were no expectations.” Eli Khamarov
So, now that the World of Wearable Arts spectacular is showing and my artful cat is out of its bag, I can finally tell you about my entry, Lady Curiosity, which won 3rd place in the Avant Garde section on Friday night. I'd also like to say that there are no givens with this competition, so I enter each year from the love of the idea I want to impart, not from an expectation of winning something- because the minute you create from that part of your brain, you sink into an unattractive swamp of greed, pride, envy and anger when you don't get up on that stage. That I got to go up there myself was a joy and given my competition, a great acknowledgement. There is a huge talent pool of artists in WOW.
So, to my entry- the 17th one over 15 years, all of them in show.This was my rationale submitted with the garment way back in June when the deadline for entries is nigh...
Her tattooing is of itself a beautiful dress, and her collection full of wonders.
Tattooed ladies were a popular circus attraction of the late 19th century; a peep show within a freak show. But it was not only performers who took to the art; ladies of society indulged too.
When I read New Zealand author, Rachael King’s novel Magpie Hall I was inspired by her Victorian gothic elements of tattoos, taxidermied collections and a possible flayed woman. A Cabinet of Curiosities and its odd contents was something the fated Dora in the book had to contend with. Ultimately it was to be her downfall … her Memento Mori (you HAVE to read this book!)
I created the cabinet with the well known mirror box illusion known amongst magicians. Where is the lady’s middle? She is merely full of curiosities in jars. The botanical illustrations are from Vintage Printable, the cabinet illustrations from ‘A Century of NZ Trademarks’. Her tattoos come from all over, some from friends, others referenced from Sailor Jerry, the famous tattooist of his time who created blueprints for hundreds of flash designs. The heart tattoo in the middle of Dora’s breast belongs to a writer I know- it seemed appropriate that the story should begin with one author and end with another.
*Memento mori is a Latin phrase translated as "Remember you must die". It names a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another, but which all share the same purpose: to remind people of their own mortality.
So if you like what I did and want a chance to win some great prizes for yourself, vote for my piece in the Dominion Post People’s Choice at www.dompost.co.nz or text WOW Lady Curiosity to 3100 (costs .20c)