Jackie Butterworth’s Dandelion Wishes impressed the judges and the audience in equal measure, achieving an unprecedented trifecta of top awards

Another world revealed

by Andy Bryenton

It was a year of firsts for Dargaville’s 2019 Wearable Arts extravaganza, as three shows spanning Friday and Saturday literally lit up the centre of town. A choreographed blend of technology, art, light, sound and creative talent, the third annual iteration of this artistic event had patrons using terms like ‘astounded’ and ‘spellbound’ to describe the experience.

For the first time, a single designer took out the trifecta of top awards. The winner of this year’s Avant Garde category, Jackie Butterworth’s intricate and ethereal Dandelion Wishes (modelled by Ruby Carey), also took home the coveted People’s Choice award and the Supreme Award for the best wearable artwork overall. This victory came despite tough competition from an eclectic and colourful array of wearable creations, crafted from materials as disparate as bark and bottlecaps, illuminated by lights and adorned with jewels, crystals and pearls. A gallery of all the category winners and their visionary designs follows on the next two pages.

“The feedback from both the audience cast and crew has been amazing,” says Dargaville Arts Association Chairperson Allan Mortensen.

“It is a real success story for Dargaville. I’d like to give my personal thanks to everybody involved for making this such a landmark event.”

Of course, with such a titanic undertaking, there are many people the Dargaville Arts Association, primary organisers of the Wearable Arts, wish to thank. Foremost among these are the artists themselves, the focus and the heart of the show. Then there are the technical and technological visionaries from Belltech and AwhiWorld, who brought immersive light and sound to the town hall. The performers of Circus Kumarani, who astonished the audience with their skill and grace. The models who brought each artwork to life. The backstage crew, who worked tirelessly to present this spectacle as a seamless professional whole and, of course, the generous supporters and sponsors who made this event possible. To those who came from near and far to experience 2019’s show, the message from organisers, artists and crew is also one of wholehearted thanks. Along with a promise for 2020; the innovations and creativity, which made this year such a success will return, with more surprises and even more local artistic talent on the catwalk.