“I’ve entered three times, but never finished a garment” was a comment that inspired me to propose an idea to WAFTA for a mentoring program to help people enter and complete a garment for the Wearable Art Mandurah (WAM). WAM started as a local competition in 2011 as part of the Stretch Festival, Mandurah, Western Australia and has grown to become a stand alone event fast gaining an international standing.
Went I first entered in 2014, all garments were automatically part of the showcase and exhibition. Now there are a series of steps – pre-selection, judging day…that’s once you have completed your garment!
[email protected] 2018 was a six session/six month program designed to assist participants along all the steps to create and enter their garment. We covered concept development, material choices, lots of tips and techniques, judging criteria, pre-selection photography, artist statements. Most importantly, at the first session I showed the group this image from Austin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist. The Dark Night of the Soul is the point where we give up, it’s all too hard, for any number of reasons…THIS is where I really wanted to help the program participants. To get past this point. An initial brainstorming session; looking for inspiration, referring to category information and judging criteria and writing notes to help with artist statements further down the track.Trying out your ideas on a dress form is a great way to quickly see if the proportions are correct and the how it works on the body.
The garments not only need to look amazing on stage, but also have interest in the detailsThroughout the process the participants continued to refer back to their design ideas and inspiration.There were many many hours spent making individual elements, often trialed in several materials before the best solution was found. Group members were supportive of each other offering suggestions and advice, and materials.There were also many, many hours spent constructing body frames, corsets and hearwear supports made from paper, glue, cardboard, polystyrene, retic pipe, foam, masking tape, powertex, metal sheeting etc.
Trialing how elements work togetherSometimes you’ve just got to try it on…see how it feels! Headwear trials. Is it comfortable? Is it secure?Pre-selection photography day with last minute alterations and finishing. After quite a few rather late nights, we had a very exciting day seeing the completed garments come to life.
Singing the Land by Jennie Abbott
The Bird Cage by Jennie Abbott and Lyn Nixon
Urban Insect by Carol Hazel and Amanda Brown
The Masquerade by Meagan Howe
The Mariners Treasure by Ardea Murphy
These amazing garments have gone on to be shown in wonderful events such as the WAM showcase, WAM exhibition, The Perth Craft Fair, Art Gallery of WA Art Ball.