Portuguese Man o War Jellyfish

From an idea to a vision

by Andy Bryenton

“In April last year, a tiny seed of an idea was planted in my mind,” says local artist Heather Carrigan. “By the following November, it had blossomed into a beautiful pulsating Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, gliding down the floodlit stage of the 2018 Dargaville Wearable Arts Awards.”

This vision of undersea life was amazing enough, but even more astonishing was the fact that Heather nearly didn’t enter the competition.

“Despite enjoying art and craft, I had never imagined myself as a designer or a dedicated artist,” she says. “I am not particularly good at planning things. Nonetheless, I decided to tackle it, one step at a time. During the process, I felt surprisingly supported, I was contacted regularly by the organisers to see if I had any questions or if I needed any help with the process. Piece by piece I put my look together. I found a wonderful model, Jess and finally the finishing touches were in place.”

Then came the big night, and a rapturous response from the audience. For this artist and designer, the meticulous work in crafting a masterpiece had paid off.

“I learned the practical workings of creating a moving art piece, about perseverance and attention to detail,” says Heather. “My greatest lesson was that ‘having a go’, can generate outcomes of wonderful proportions. I was shocked to hear my name called as they announced the winner of the section I had entered. I would recommend entering the Dargaville Wearable Arts Awards to anyone!”