Off the farm, wearable art—gobsmackingly creative

Who’d have thunk it?

Haute couture meets rural lifestyle. Anything is possible in this land peopled by DIY-ers. Even, a Paris-styled catwalk parade showcasing wearable garments made of stuff from the farm.

The annual Ag Art Wear Show in Hamilton fused creative genius and theatrical extravaganza. It made NZ’s National Agricultural Fieldays worth the effort of plowing through crowds and farming gear, lots of farming gear.

Now in its 16th year, the farmed-up fashion show fills the stadium twice daily for five days with crowds dazzled by creations made of everything under the sun, so to speak.

Chicken wire, hardware cloth, insulators, irrigation piping, fencing clips, egg cartons, rubber tubing, bailing twine, milking cups, possum fur, rooster feathers, bird netting, harness buckles, tractor parts, rakes, cans, boxes, bags—and flax, leaves, grass, flower petals, stones.

Gobsmackingly creative—elegant, witty, wild, politically savvy. Over 50 finalists competed for prize money awarded by judges in four categories: Avant Garde, Traditional Design, Under 21, and the newest Landcare Awareness, challenging designers to concoct with natural fibers from the NZ landscape.

My favorite work—the winner of the Under 21 and the Peoples Choice awards—“Tui Tara.” Created of seeds, beans and Tui bottle tops, this bedazzling work of art depicts something of a cross between the native Tuatara and the Australian frilled lizard. The designer is a mere 15-year old, Tessa Paaymans from Hawke’s Bay, with dreams of becoming a fashion designer.

It’s impossible not to imagine the fundraising possibilities of doing something like this back home, promoting whatever it might be—bicycle safety, environmental awareness, health and fitness. Give it a rest, I tell myself—give it a rest!

One response to “Off the farm, wearable art—gobsmackingly creative

  1. Barbara Wells

    I want this! The Tui Tara reminds me very much of the South African work I’ve come to love through Brenda von Wandruszka.

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