Art’ntartan Goes From Strength To Strength

Anyone in the audience who thought they had to go to Wellington to see a stunning array of Wearable Art were proved wrong on the weekend of 19 and 20 July when the Waipu Museum held their annual Art’nTartan Wearable Art Contest and Show in the Celtic Barn.

The three performances were a sell out and Director Stuart Devenie and his team more than fulfilled their promise to surprise, delight and entertain. ‘Mistress’ of Ceremonies for the evening was local celebrity, Dame Coira McWillie (played by Johnny Givins) who made sure everything went without a hitch. Dame Coira’s interaction with the audience in her inimitable Scottishs accent, assisted by her ‘boys’, Hamish and Fergus, provided a hilarious link between the runway parades of the amazing creations and excellent entertainment from a variety of local performers. These included Emma Couper and Alisa Dodds, whose astonishing performance versatility and vocal range delighted the audience with numbers ranging from Abba to a capella to oratorio. The popular local band Number 8 Wire, joined for the evening by Delwyn Rust-Franklin, provided live music throughout the evening, enhancing many of the design presentations.

The bagpipes were there too, of course, with local bagpipe virtuosos Bain McGregor and David Picketts and the young highland dancers bringing the all important Celtic flavour to the proceedings.

This year designers had a free hand to interpret ‘Wearable Art’ and this inspired an amazing number of stunning entries. Carole Hebberd’s ‘Sakura Metallica’ was a particular favourite drawing gasps of delight from the audience, while Tania Patterson’s sombre and mechanical ‘Hope’ was greeted with loud applause at each performance.

The children, of course, were not forgotten as seventeen ‘Canny Celtic Creature’ masks paraded in front of proud parents, grandparents and caregivers. Ms Couper’s primary school singing group also appeared to sing ‘The Ghost Of John’.

Competition was fierce for the $16,000 prize money which was shared between the Supreme winner, and section winners together with a host of special prizes including a state-of-the art sewing machine for the best sewn garment. 

The Supreme winner, ‘Scottish Winds’ designed by Aimee Tomes, was being presented with the large wooden button awarded in memory of Waipu designer, the late Alison Turner, and a glass trophy depicting the unique Waipu Tartan created by glass artist Justin Culina of Parua Bay.

This year’s show is considered a prelude to a very special performance planned for the 10th anniversary of Art’nTartan next year.

Junction Mag