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Billowing clouds reign at fine Art To Wear show

They say every cloud has a silver lining — and it was two clouds, Cumulus and Nimbus, which reigned at Raglan’s iconic Art To Wear show in the Town Hall on Saturday.

Raglan clay artist Susanne Prinz’s billowing black and white creations, modelled by Bexie Towle and Wayne Lallu, blew away the competition to be named supreme or overall winners after earlier taking out the Wind Warriors category in a show that attracted record entries and two full houses.

In the spirit of the biennial event, victory came cheap too — compere Athene Jensen, or AJ, revealed that Susanne spent just $5 to make her outstanding creations, which were inspired by the cloud patterns of Whaingaroa.

Hers wasn’t the only entry in the popular Wind Warriors category to wow audiences at both the matinee and evening sessions. Young film-maker Turanga Kereopa took both second prize and the people’s choice award for his stunning creation Bird Woman, modelled by statuesque Renee Davenport.

Resplendent in a gown made mostly from soft, feathery toe toe — but with a bodice of bird and pumpkin seed — Renee in turn won the top model award, while a pride of contestants from Matapihi Kindergarten near Te Mata were named the junior top models.
Cute and cat-like in their colourfully dyed costumes, The Crazy Rainbow Creatures earlier clutched each other’s tails in a long line up and down the catwalk to win a highly commended in the show’s Rainbow category.

But it was Little Miss Jade who — complete with handcrafted parasol — won first prize in the Rainbow section for Raglan Knitting Circle. She flounced about on stage with all the confidence of a professional model, showing off the multi-coloured hand knitted and crocheted creation named Rainbow Delight.

Children galore got to show off their own wacky creations in the show’s Dr Seuss category for the under-13s. And judged wackiest of all was Madeleine Thompson’s Elephant Bird from the story Horton Hatches the Egg.

Maddy made her elephant bird’s eggshell from papier mache adding chicken wire , bubble-wrap, felt, fluff and feathers to create a curious half-hatched creature which strutted in ungainly fashion along the catwalk.

Perhaps even wackier though was The Thing with Wings which won Art To Wear’s Myths & Legends category to loud applause. The large llama-like entry with toe toe wings — created by Libby Wallace and Ariana Livingstone – cavorted on stage with its back hooves dancing to a different beat than its front in hilarious fashion.

The Reduce-Reuse-Recycle category saw Liz Hosking — the people’s choice award winner from the last Art To Wear in 2010 — take first prize for Can’t See the Trees for the Wood. Her teen model, Kate Sandwell, cut an elegant figure in a stylish creation made from just some of the 80 billion disposable chopsticks thrown out worldwide each year.

The chopsticks had been sterilized and chopped into small pieces, then coloured using natural and plant dyes.

“Wow! Who needs Wellington when we’ve got Whaingaroa?” asked Art To Wear organiser Jean Carbon at the awards presentation. She told the Chronicle she was impressed yet again at the unheralded effort and inspiration of the many people behind the show, both on and offstage.

The event is organised by an Art To Wear team which is part of Raglan Community Arts Council. It is funded by Creative Communities Waikato and sponsored by local businesses and organisations which provide funds and prizes.

Edith Symes. Image: Nico Peschiutta –

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