Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WOW a-dress

It's been all about the World of Wearable Art this last week. I had an entry in show that I held private hopes for which were realised with an Honourable Mention; which also puts it in the winners line up. Not thats that is why I enter at all. In February each year when I'm gathering materials and sketching my ideas, winning is the last thing on my mind. Making the piece is all and finishing it is everything. Getting to the line up is a real acknowledgment...
This year I was invited to give the designer's address at the Judges Forum, the day after Award night. One designer asked if I would send him a copy of my speech. I said I'd put it on facebook- seeing as this feeds straight there, I am managing both spaces quite efficiently! Anyway, here it is excactly as I read it. Enjoy...

WOW 2011 Address

In 1995,with a baby in a buggy and preschooler on a leash, I saw the strangest and most inspiring thing. A Wearable Art mini show at Merivale Mall in Christchurch. Donna Demente’s ‘Pallas Athene’ stunned me and I knew I had to try my hand at this too. I got together with Sylvia Campbell and Robyn Martin and together we created the Mid Winter Wonder Bra. We were over the moon when it got into show and that sealed my fate; to become that odd breed of person- a WACO - Wearable Art Compulsive Obsessive. This year my 18th garment is on that stage. I’ve entered almost every category over the years, I’ve even been an International entrant when we took off to live in the U.K for a couple of years (I made the most postage efficient bra possible) I work in Television and Film directly as a consequence of my WOW portfolio. A good many of my pieces are in the WOW collection and the others come to schools and events with me when I run WOW workshops.
I have a very large attic.

When invited to talk today about my journey through WOW, I felt honoured. I’ve sat in the judges forum audience for years, sometimes elated by the night before success, at other times, caving in with private disappointment at my lack of a prize... but always blown away by the previous night’s show. In this place I have come vowing never to make another piece again, arms folded, glaring at the judges, ungenerous about the spotlight on others- until I see the category entries for next year.
So I wondered what I’d say today knowing you might be in one of those spaces. I could talk about the garments, what I made, how I made them, what things I have won... or not, how many column inches I have made in the paper (more than a few).  But... because there are many here who wonder if they have the courage to enter for the first time, to become part of this international WOW community I am so very fond of, I thought I’d just read this, it’s called:

Useful lessons from Fifi
  • If your garment is featured large in the catalogue at dress rehearsal Wednesday, don’t buy new shoes on Thursday.
  •  Buy new shoes only if you can afford them on Tuesday.
  • Buy the shoes YOU like, not what your partner likes
  •  A partner’s opinion is not necessarily the best measure of your entry’s worth. 
  • Ignore your partner at all times whilst creating your art, unless they are an artist.
  • Even then, ignore them 
  • Take your partner out to dinner when you’ve sent your entry off and say ‘I’m back!’
  • It is possible to get film costuming work out of your WOW portfolio.
  • It isn’t possible to work in film for less than 10 hours a day.
  • If you do work in film, buy your partner dinner occasionally and say ‘Remember me?’
  • Hot glue is no substitute for epoxy resin
  • Epoxy resin is no substitute for rivets
  • Rivets are no substitute for a great idea  If you wake in the night with a great idea, write it down in case you can’t remember it in the morning.
  • If you can’t get back to sleep after waking in the night, it’s probably the right idea- you may as well start  making it right away.  Yes even at 4 in the morning- its good training for the last week before hand in.
  •  Aside from Bunnings, Pete’s Emporium and the tip shop, Heather Palmer  is your best resource. 
  •  When you find 1000 units of something in a box at the tip shop it’s o.k. to be excited!
  •  Find somewhere good to hide it from your partner.
  • If your partner finds it, take them out to dinner and say ‘I’ll tidy up in three months time’
  • Always wear a respirator when using sprays and chemicals.
  • Never drink and spray.
  • Never drink and carve.
  • Never drown your sorrows, only toast your achievements. Finishing a WOW entry is just that.
  • If you ask your daughter’s boyfriend to model your bizarre bra, it could go one of two ways... 
  • If he says ‘that’s really cool’, tell your daughter he’s a keeper. It’s good to have supporters.
  • You will see the floor of your lounge again...
  • It may have fabric stuck to it, so might the cat.
  • White cats are a very bad thing to have around your UV garment, unless your piece is all about fur.
  • Make sure you don’t pack up the cat with your entry.
  • A fridge box is good for containing your WOW creation.
  • Bond and Bond & Noel Leemings biff theirs on Thursday mornings.
  • Saturday is the cut off day for Mainfreight.
  • Sending your partner out to find a box late on Friday afternoon then screaming that it is the wrong size when they bring it back in the back of the car, not the trailer, will cost you many dinner dates; remember what I said about pre-spending prize money...
  • It doesn’t matter if you don’t win- unless you bought shoes you can’t afford.
  • If you think someone else’s entry shouldn’t have won, go and see it up close at the WOW Museum in Nelson. You’ll understand instantly.
  • Do not glare at your entry when it is returned- recycle it into something else.
  • Never throw out the recycling; it might become your next WOW entry.
  • Don’t try to be the next Supreme Award winner- you have no idea what that looks like; only the judges do.
  • Making wearable art is a game; have fun with it. Play full out, use team where necessary.
  • Above all, be yourself in your work.
Thankyou Trelise, Nigel, Suzie , Heather, Gabrielle, Esme and the WOW team.
Climb on board Newbies...

·         Note: My work, Vena Immaculata was entered in the 'Under The Microscope' Gen-i Creative Excellence section. Clean red blood cells gush from a vein to meet the deadly beauty of breast cancer.

Three women I know have breast cancer. It’s a battle to keep fatigue and anaemia at bay; red blood cells are knocked back by the treatment. Photos of the cancer cells reveal them to be like delicate frilled bouquets. Beauty disguising the beast? The battle between good and evil; almost religious in its intent. Breast cancer used to be known as “nuns’ disease.”As far back as the 14th century, the disease affected nuns more than any other group of medieval women. Researchers say it’s because the nuns did not give birth or breastfeed. Nature’s extraordinary punishment for such holy sacrifice...


Vanda Symon said...

Wonderful entries and fabulous advice. So many of those tips apply to writing!

Melinda Szymanik said...

Vena Immaculata is stunning, powerful, beautiful and sad all at once. And then you write that fantastic, funny and oh so true speech. I really am in awe.

a fan :)

Mary McCallum said...

Fantastic speech Fi! So much wrapped up in there - all those years you've done it. You are legend. M xx