All dressed up

The Shed - - Glassmaking -

Car­men took the wear­able art dress she made in 2016, Wed­ding in Paradise, to Corn­ing, New York, with fund­ing sup­port from Cre­ative New Zealand. It was part of the Glass Art So­ci­ety Glass Fash­ion Show, with more than 100 other in­ter­na­tional artists. The dress, which is made from cast-glass ferns, flax flow­ers, weta, huhu bugs, and po­hutukawa seeds sewn on fi­bre-op­tic fab­ric, and vin­tage ma­te­ri­als, cop­per wire and alu­minium, weighs 10kg. She has also col­lab­o­rated with other artists in mul­ti­me­dia projects.

In 2010, for a Sar­jeant Gallery Arts Re­view, Car­men and Whanganui weaver Leonie Sharp cre­ated a full-sized cast-glass and feather sculp­tural dress en­ti­tled Those Who Should Ven­ture. “A woman had to be bolted in and model it walk­ing around the Sar­jeant Gallery,” Car­men says.

The work stands in the Whanganui i-Site and rep­re­sents the pi­o­neer­ing women of the Whanganui re­gion and the ti­tle is based on an 1860s ad­ver­tise­ment in a Bri­tish news­pa­per ask­ing for women to come to

New Zealand.

Car­men made the glass bodice, dec­o­rated with lace kowhai flow­ers and fern fronds. The bodice is sym­bolic of the set­tler women’s fragility and strength; the wo­ven skirt rep­re­sents the flora of the re­gion — grasses and seeds — and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment from moun­tain to sea.

Car­men also worked on a project for the Whanganui Me­mo­rial Cen­tre with artists Jim Den­ni­son and Dean Flavell and cre­ated a cast-glass col­umn com­mem­o­rat­ing the An­zacs.

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