I entered the annual HokitikaJunk2Funk art and fashion event again this year.
For the past year and a bit, I continued collecting the narrow plastic bags that our local newspaper, the Hokitika Guardian, comes wrapped in when delivered each day. Last year I had woven a small wall hanging with these bags and used audio tape for the warp (Hear the News).
I thought I had far more than I would know what to do with and with this in mind planned quite an elaborate long costume for the fashion section using fabric woven from the wrappers. This time I decided to use recycled wool for the warp and did some sampling to get the look I wanted, ending up with pastel blue and green carpet wool I had got from the local recycling shop. Rather ambitiously, I put on a warp 4m long, 86cm (34 ins) wide and 2 ends per inch, and began weaving. It became clear that there was not going to be enough wrappers for the planned project and I even undid Hear the News.
Using every wrapper I had, I ended up with about 1.2m of weaving and had to re-think the project within the constraints. The length was just enough to go around me and so I went for a short dress. What emerged was a chic ensemble I called Wrap Dup . I had also collected plastic strapping from around boxes (wide) and pamphlets (narrow) which I wove to incorporate into the entry.
Here is the statement I submitted with my entry.
Wrap Dup, a chic ensemble, woven from used plastic wrapping materials. The centrepiece – a short, shimmering, shift dress – is woven with a warp of alternating pale blue and green carpet wool bought from the Hokitika Dump shop and the weft is the plastic wrappers that surround the home-delivered Hokitika Guardian newspaper. The accessories are all woven using the traditional Maori raranga technique from plastic wrapping strips (strapping). The belt for the dress is in grey-green. The wide-brimmed hat is in white with yellow highlights in the brim and a grey-green band matching the belt. The two-cornered kete clutch bag is woven from smooth black strips. Orange strips are used for the jewellery and the final touches.
I modelled the ensemble myself which was a bit out of my comfort zone as I wouldn’t normally dress up like this. Parading through Hokitika Museum and the Carnegie Gallery in front of about 120 people was a bit nerve-wracking but a lot of fun. I won the Junk2Funk Avant Garde award for it. It was then shown in the exhibition which ran for three weeks.
I also had two entries in the exhibition section, Plastic Diamonds and Reaching Out.
Plastic Diamonds: this wall hanging is woven entirely out of plastic strapping strips collected over time from around packages/boxes. I used all the green and blue strips that I had – these were split in two – and most of the yellow ones, and woven them using the raranga technique. Fortuitously, I just had enough to weave a piece that had many elements of symmetry, resulting in diamond shapes.
Reaching Out – an assemblage of objects I found while walking along the beach at Hokitika: a short piece of bronze pipe with welding over a piece of entwined reinforcing rods and mounted on a piece of driftwood. The metal part represents a human female reaching out to the world from a strong foundation of love.