Area’s beauty in­te­gral to self, en­deav­our

Earn­scle­ugh artist Deb­bie Pa­ton was the only Otago de­signer whose en­try was se­lected for this year’s World of Wear­ableArt (Wow). As Wow com­pletes its sec­ond week in Welling­ton, Pam Jones talks to Pa­ton about cre­ativ­ity and chain mail.

Otago Daily Times - - Regions -

Q You have just re­turned from see­ing

your Maille Or­der Bride de­sign pa­raded at the World of Wear­ableArt (Wow). How was it? WOW! What a trip! Welling­ton is a town that em­braces its cul­ture and art whole­heart­edly.

I just love Wel­ly­town and be­ing a part of the ex­tra­or­di­nary Wow is arm­pinch­ingly unreal. I still can’t be­lieve my cre­ation made it to the stage. To see it on stage and among all the other in­cred­i­ble de­sign­ers’ cre­ations was some­thing I doubt I will ever ex­pe­ri­ence again. And to share it with my friends and my sis­ter and niece was very spe­cial. We had fun!


What in­spired your cre­ation and how was it made?

Maille Or­der Bride is made up of thou­sands of cop­per and sil­ver jumprings all in­di­vid­u­ally joined to­gether. I don’t know if I had any in­spi­ra­tion to make it; I think it just evolved, as most of my art­work does. It all started with a piece of chain mail that I made us­ing tiny 5mm jump rings, mak­ing an in­cred­i­ble lit­tle square of metal that moved like liq­uid. That lit­tle square took me about three months to make so I looked to larger­sized jump­rings, but not too big, as I didn’t want to lose the sex­i­ness of the metal fab­ric. A large piece of chain mail moulds to your body and swings like a liv­ing thing.

The chain mail I started work­ing on even­tu­ally be­came a dress and I added beads and more chains and — voila! — my cre­ation was made. The name for it was in­spired by mail­or­der brides, where women see a bet­ter life for them­selves in an­other coun­try and can only suc­cess­fully do this by marrying a stranger — how scary would that be? So the chain mail sym­bol­ises this new life, the mail is her pro­tec­tion, the chains are what binds her to it and the beads are the hope that the mar­riage makes a bet­ter life for her than the one she has es­caped from. Woman in chains.


You are also in­volved in other arts, and your lime­stone sculp­ture Te

Wairua is one of the art­works in­stalled around Alexan­dra through the Alexan­dra Com­mu­nity Arts Coun­cil’s public art pro­gramme. What does it rep­re­sent? My sculp­ture Te

Wairua was a piece I carved and gifted to the arts coun­cil and the Alexan­dra Com­mu­nity House when it was com­pleted. It is an in­side­out twist in a cir­cle that sym­bol­ises life and peace, and honours the lives of those who came be­fore us and made our towns (Clyde and Alexan­dra) what they are to­day. I wanted to do some­thing to rep­re­sent the free­dom and way of life we have in Cen­tral Otago and in New Zealand, that we may not have had if it weren’t for the sac­ri­fices made by our an­ces­tors and their brav­ery in the wars that hope­fully won’t ever hap­pen again. Q Are you al­ready think­ing about your next Wow en­try? I’m not sure if I need to en­ter Wow again. It’s an amaz­ing show, and it was in­cred­i­ble to be a part of it; very ex­cit­ing! If you have an idea for cre­at­ing some­thing mag­i­cal, don’t hold back! Go at it with all your might — let your imag­i­na­tion run riot! Maille Or­der

Bride took me over three years to com­plete. The jour­ney was to­tally worth it. But I think I might just sit back and re­lax and wait for in­spi­ra­tion to grab me again.

Deb­bie Pa­ton

Wow... Maille Or­der Bride, by Earn­scle­ugh de­signer Deb­bie Pa­ton, is mod­elled at Wow 2017.

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