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Art to Wear 2016 in Raglan Looking to Expand

Art to Wear announces new and exciting categories, sparking creative and exciting ideas from participants. Over the coming months they’ll look for ways to expand the unique Raglan event. 

“There’s got to be something more,” coordinator and fabric artist Jean Carbon told the Chronicle last week ahead of meetings in August to plan for the next show, which is now less than a year away. “We need to make it bigger, newer and much more exciting,” she said.

The size of the town hall in Bow Street – it seats only 150 – confines the biennial event, Jean laments. “We could sell so many more tickets … they’re gone the first morning they’re on sale.”
Locals who are turned away are always disappointed, she adds, let alone visitors to town who can’t get tickets on the day because there are never any door sales.

Jean has reservations that staging an extra show on the Sunday – following the Saturday matinee and evening performances – would be a good idea for the many children involved. “They’ll be shattered!”

But she’s excited at the suggestion made after the last event in 2013 of a live feed to a licensed venue like the Old School Arts Centre in Stewart Street or the Yot Club downtown. Organisers could be at both venues simultaneously, she says, perhaps with a Wintec student in charge of the overall project.

The coming month will see the hard decisions made by a small team of arts enthusiasts – including stalwarts Margot Gillard and Penny Knuiman – who along with Jean and choreographer Patti Mitchley have been the driving forces behind the event, which is about to be mounted for its fifth or sixth time.

After that it’s the funding applications and budgets to be sorted. Staging the event costs $10-12,000, Jean reveals, so funds from Creative New Zealand and WEL Energy Trust are imperative.
But Art To Wear also has “fantastic” sponsorship from local businesses, she adds, and gets huge participation from the local schools and pre-schools to help make it a success.

As an artist herself Jean says it’s not too early for entrants to start thinking now about their creations for the fashion extravaganza, collecting for them or building and making them. “I need a lot of time to start thinking of art things,” she admits of her own hand-dyed silk garments and accessories.

This time round the recycled section – sponsored by Xtreme Zero Waste – is titled ‘On the Re-bound’ and the focus for the colour section is ‘Scarlet Fever’, possibly evoking images from the heady world of movies such as Moulin Rouge and Burlesque, Jean suggests.

JRR Tolkien is the featured author in a section entitled ‘Middle Earth’, while the under-13s can let their imagination run riot with the ‘Wild by Nature’ theme.

‘Time Travel’ is the final category of the event. “We’ve tried for a play on words,” Jean explains of the titles with double meanings, dreamt up by organisers to inspire creativity in the community and beyond.

Art To Wear is always planned for winter to attract visitors to town when it’s quiet, adds Jean, although it wasn’t always that way. The event was originally the grand finale to the annual arts-focused summer schools based at the Old School Arts Centre in Stewart Street, involving the likes of potter Susan Flight and fibre artist Yanny Split. Edith Symes.

Raglan Art To Wear will be held in the town hall on Saturday June 4, 2016. Visit their Facebook page for more details:

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