Monday, September 30, 2013

Awards, rewards and paying it forward

Angel's Trippy Trumpet

Well! It's been a pretty exciting week full of WOW- World of Wearable Art. I was absolutely thrilled to get an Honour Award for my piece 'Angel's Trippy Trumpet' in the Man Unleashed- Psychedelic Revival section. It's a Datura flower that opens up to reveal the trippy journey inside! No models were harmed (or stoned) in the making of this ;)

The show was as usual absolutely incredibale and I was was stoked to spend a day with the international designers, have a peek behind the scenes at my old work haunt Weta Workshop and then talk to a very large crowd of over 300 at Te Papa. Hopefully I've inspired them to enter next years show! That evening I did a dinner talk for a corporate group and we had Vena Immaculata, my 2011 entry (which also recived an Honour Award) modelled by Ria Simmons, a wonderfully talented dance and drama student for the duration. The client was also a sponsor of The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, so it was fitting to have Vena there, as it is about "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?"

Last week an old friend of mine from design school days, Joanne Cunningham, a talented artist and photographer lost her battle with breast cancer. She was 52. Two other close friends have undergone treatment for this and it seems that so many people I know have had brushes of varying strokes with the disease. It is hard to know what to do other than make casseroles for family when someone you know is going through this. And heaven knows, I am no great culinary provider. I wondered what I could do effectively to make a useful difference. And then I had it- I could auction off a relevant artwork and have the proceeds go to The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, who support so many who are affected.

So,Vena Immaculata is going up for auction- with ALL the proceeds going to The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. We are holding it at The Roxy in Miramar with an auctioneer and if you aren't in town you can participate on Trademe for the bidding. We will have a big screen with the auction page live on the night. Preceeding the auction, I'll hold a workshop on Bizarre Bra making- a hands on fun event with bubbles and canapes.

Go to the Trademe auction page here:

and here is more info on the workshop and night :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wearable Art Exhibitionists!

WOW week starts soon and this year is as exciting as any other- particularly as I have a piece in show (that makes 19 garments since 1995). It's in the Man Unleashed section and I will put a photo of it up next week after opening night.

I've got my designer's badge, my tickets and a frock! I spent too much on dresses for the season (one for the preview show, one for a speaking engagement on opening night and one for the Award night) and ran out of budget so am currently blinging a favorite pair to match the outfits. You'd think I could MAKE a dress wouldn't you? But sadly my skills are only good for outrageous costumes and I don't want to turn up to the functions in foam and recycled plant pot holders.

If you want to see some garments up close, I've got a bit of a display of some of my WOW pieces at The Roxy in Miramar, in The Grand Lobby Gallery. I love the Roxy; it's a wonderful cinema with great food and wine and gorgeous surrounds. It's also my local and I'm tickled pink to have my work in there!

On the exhibition front there is also a fine display of garments at Te Papa; The WOW Factor Exhibition. You'll get a good understanding of the craftstmanship and creative thought that goes into our obession. Go have a look, it's absolutely, positively free- as is the Roxy exhibition. You may just be wowed :)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Show him the money!!!

I generally keep my political opinions to myself and my friends, but on this occasion I cannot be quiet about how sad, angry and horrified I am about the closure of Learning Media. Our Government seems to know the price of everything and the value of nothing. 'Show me the money!' is the exhortation. The primary reason for Learning Media's existence (formerly School Publications) in the first place was to provide educational resources to New Zealand territories, not chase international markets and distribution in a profit making capacity. I'm sorry but an ROI is not necessarily measured in dollar terms.
Bill English says Learning Media is not financially viable anymore. I'm barely financially viable myself after work has been stripped away systematically from my career path. Advertising agencies losing government work = no illustration and design work, TVNZ's Good Morning Show moving to Auckland in a scaled down version of it's former self = no TV work. Learning Media closing down = no writing and illustration work. And that's just me, never mind the hundreds of other writers, illustrators, designers and TV production people out there. In 2011 the RH Paula Bennett said in relation to the arts:
'Now's no time to be thinking about a dream job.'
"This Government's priority is getting people off welfare and into work and right now that means get a job, any job because that's the first step to a better job." 

I'm sorry, how exactly is shutting down Learning Media getting people off welfare and into work?  At 53 years old with two tertiary degrees and 33 years of hard work forging a career for myself, I am not interested in having a 'dishy' job at $14 per hour, working alongside my son in a local cafe. We are hardly going to pay off his student loan like that now are we?

So, Mr English. What do you propose we all do in this latest slash and burn? Retrain? Sorry we can't get financial assistance to do that under the new rules. Work in elder care? What don't YOU wipe 90 year old bottoms? You've already wiped the floor with us.
For more on Learning Media's demise read Mandy's blog here: