Common Threads Wearable Art Showcase

Rughooking meets Wearable Art

Ebb & Flow
Ebb & Flow, photographer Michael Kelly, Star Creations

Western Australia: 

Drift” the theme for “Common Threads” the City of Mandurahs 2014 Wearable Art Event, open to local, national and international entrants. Finalists to Showcase at the Mandurah Performing Art Centre on 4th May 2014.

Wanneroo Rugmakers entry, “Ebb & Flow” has been chosen as a finalist in the Eco Category.

Ebb & Flow hooked by the Wanneroo Rugmakers
Ebb & Flow hooked by the Wanneroo Rugmakers

Turquoise waters and white sand beaches of the local coastline inspired the swirling pattern on the group’s creation, representing the incoming tide drifting onto the shore.

The challenge for the Rugmakers:  How to create a garment using a rughooking technique for making floor mats that was —

a) not too heavy to wear and

b) created an appearance of  floating or  drifting water,  and

c) could be made by a team who “drift in” as an informal group to create items for the community using rug hooking techniques and recycled materials.  This group brings community members together, teaching them rughooking techniques in a revival of the traditional art/craft form.

Colour planning design of Ebb & Flow dress back panels
Colour planing dress pieces to be hooked

 

Rughooked with recycled fabrics
Rughooked with recycled fabrics

  An old net curtain was chosen as the backing (foundation cloth) and a Vogue dress pattern with multiple panels in the bodice and skirt, for the base garment. Pattern pieces and the design were drawn onto sections of the curtain. Colour planning entailed tying pieces of fabric in the appropriate areas. This meant when the design pieces were shared around to be hooked, everyone would know what colour/fabric to use and the design would match up when it came to attaching to the dress form.

During “construction” many ideas were tossed around by the group – from a mermaid costume with beaded train – to encrusting the creation with shells and driftwood and other found objects.

Some member of the Design team at work
Some member of the Design team at work

To hold the extra weight of the hooking, the undergarment was made up with the wide straps shown on the dress pattern.  After much discussion as the garment was taking shape, it was decided that less was more when it came to representing the drifting swirling theme.

 

Kath Smith assembling the rug hooked entry.
Kath Smith assembling the rug hooked entry.

It turned out weight wasn’t a problem. The backing and fabric used was so light – plus the dress was constructed per the instructions using boning in the bodice, which molded it to the figure. Straps seemed unnecessary so were eliminated creating a more ephemeral look.

Jo Franco & Kath Smith hooking sections of Ebb & Flow
Jo Franco & Kath Smith hooking sections of Ebb & Flow

The group didn’t have a model, so work progressed on a mannequin making sure pattern pieces came together to create a seamless effect. What a thrill the  morning of the judging to have a lovely young model step into the finished creation, pull up the zip and have it fit her like a glove.

 Wanneroo Rugmakers Saturday morning meeting

Wanneroo Rugmakers Saturday morning meeting

 

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