Hydra is created out of a fabric I made out of red plastic bags, from The Warehouse. Well before the storm of the environmental damage caused by such plastics had really hit the shores of Aotearoa. I spent some months collecting and reworking this piece, thankfully I had plenty of space at art school.
This may give some idea of the size of the plastic fabric, I laid it out on a hot sunny day to wash and dry it. It started life as a ‘painting’, 3 meters by 5 meters. That filled a wall in my art studio while I was at art school.
Of course, it then needs to be dried too!
It shimmered and shone even on the washing line. And how did it sound? Great, light and crinkly in the breeze. Exciting.
Now, to try some draping ideas, will it work? Will it stand up to wear? Will it just be too… plastic?
Then I saw it in the sunlight in my sewing room…. actually stunning!
Strapless or no? I’d need to make another fitted bodice with this baby. I was able to play around quite a lot to find the right shape and there were some technical issues that arose, particularly to do with the inflexibility of the plastic as a fabric, which of course would have to fit a moving breathing body.
I assembled the skirt to reflect hyperbolic planes that I have observed and studied in some marine organisms and plant life. The fabric itself is a kind of plastic patchwork, that is fragile, in that you could tear it with a stiletto, yet rigid and firm, with no give for movement.
At this point, I was prepared to attempt to illuminate Hydra, wouldn’t that be amazing? with the sunlight behind the fabric it looked really beautiful. But, I thought it might just be going too far, and it had been some time since I had soldered LED’s and batteries…
I experimented with how the skirt would fall, with lots of pinning and shaping, and I created a structured bodice to hold it all together. This was intended to be firm enough to give a slim waist from which the full flowing skirt would fall. Hydra also requires a layered full length petticoat to create the depth I wanted from the skirt. I re-enforced the petticoat with curtain wire to give it more of a sweeping, swinging movement.
Initially I gave Hydra a high collar, but decided it would have to go for the final garment, I enjoyed re-working Hydra and so I went to work! How much fun was that?
Here are a few words about this garment…
Emerging from a hydrothermal vent, Hydra explores her domain… Formed by my exploration of hyperbolic undersea organisms, Hydrais a hybrid of deadly plastic and organic motion.
Hydra is also the result of my experiments with plastic Warehouse bags, beginning in 2004. Her structure, both ridged, fragile and free flowing, reflects the varied polyps and coralline organisms that inhabit the hidden undersea world. A world of deadly predators on a microscopic scale, a world that is being infected by human waste, nano particles and degraded plastics.
You will be able to see Hydra and Coralline at Cult Couture 2013, here are the details:
Here are the details Cult Couture, and where to buy tickets:
General Admission event (theatre tiered seating)
All tickets $25 per ticket
Pre-schoolers may sit on ticket buyer’s lap at no charge
Service and Box Office fees will apply.
Venue Box Office Hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm.
For wheelchair bookings and enquiries please contact the Box office on (09) 966 1743.
Vodafone Events Centre
770 Great South Road
09 976 7777
Entrance: Gate 1 & 2
Parking: Northern Carpark. Pay and Display $4.50. Liquor Ban Zone in all external areas.