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...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fifi Colston Creative

So I’ve been a bit slack on the writing front and it’s all due to facebook. 

Currently I’m not writing, which is in part due to making Wearable Art and illustrating a mammoth book (I mean big, not about woolly elephants),  but mostly because I’ve been getting my kicks and rewards from social media.
However my status the other day read: 

I am beginning to think only in short status updates- I daren’t take up Twitter because I will only be able to have smaller and more pointless thoughts...

I look back at some of my blogs here on Fifi Verses the World and I got quite heated and opinionated about some things; all in the nicest possible way of course.
But also...the posts were longer than a finger width. In short, I wrote. This has its upsides; publishing at the touch of a button, instant feedback= instant gratification. But like all sweet things, they tend to go to your hips and in no time you are lazy both in mind and body. Blogging at first seemed like the ultimate distraction from my novel writing, but facebook...well  that’s a whole new procrastination game.

“I’m doing it to promote myself” I said. Its true- social media is a must do for the modern artist and writer. But really? really I’m there to gossip. I had an impressive 400 strong list of friends- but really, really I knew maybe 100 of them in some way though family, work or play. And with strangers I added liberally to my list came restraints:
  •  Edit the family and holiday photos to make sure no-one who watches me on TV might trawl through and single out my children to target for whatever purpose (though they’d bite off more than they could chew with MY grown offspring).
  • Say nothing about my political views in case the teachers/possible clients/secret police took offence and blacklisted me because I vote differently from them.
  •  Never ever swear in case someone who just loves my egg carton creatures swooned with shock at the language.
  • Keep all jokes light and seemly so that I might fit into any parish hall on any occasion.
  • Delete bawdy comments in case any of the above took offence at anything my friends might say.
Oh it went on and on until I was heavy with self censorship. I was banned book all by myself.
So...I did what I have resisted since joining facebook. No, not left it (didn’t you know, you can never REALLY leave?), I love it as a gossip and news feed unreservedly. No, I  have created a ‘page’ and invited everyone to join me there instead. On Fifi Colston Creative you can keep up on a daily basis with what I’m doing creatively and be offended by absolutely nothing. Your kids and your granny can look at it and be inspired not confused. You can find pictures of my work and instructions for my crafts and be the first to hear about any workshops I’m running.  Go and check it out.

So what about all my other friends; the ones I have actually met and had a conversation with- I went to school with, drank wine with, had babies in Plunket with? 

Oh they are still there in my personal page. They won’t get Fifi diluted. They all know who I vote for, what my views on parking wardens in Wellington are (well actually EVERYONE knows that!) and what tickles my sense of humour. They know my family, my friends and I know theirs. And there are a few who I have never met except through facebook but who I find inspirational, supportive and incredibly entertaining. 

And this blog? I’ll continue to post- sometimes it’ll be a poem, sometimes crafts and sometimes something with insight. And you can help create me- yes that’s right, create me. Social Media is a conversation; not passive voyeurism. Read me, talk to me on my page or let me know what you think in the comment box and I’ll give you the information and art you need and want. 

Looking forward to a whole new conversation!
Cheers Fifi