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Artists set to WOW audiences

Media release

Date: 12 September 2005

Artists set to WOW® audiences

Entrants line up in Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award

Seven leading artists from Wellington, Auckland, Golden Bay and Nelson are entrants in the Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award, a feature of the 2005 Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards to be held for the first time in Wellington from 23 September to 2 October.

Auckland designer Susan Holmes, last year’s winner of the Creative New Zealand award for her garment Miro Personage is back again. Also entered are Claire Prebble from Golden Bay who won the Supreme WOW® Award last year, Simon Hames and Sue Prescott both from Wellington, Debra Price from Golden Bay and Letty MacPhedran and Suzie Moncrieff from Nelson. They are all either previous winners of the Supreme WOW® Award or previous judges*.

This is the third Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award, set up in 2003 to celebrate artistic excellence. The idea for this award evolved from research undertaken by the World of WearableArt™ Ltd, which indicated a need for an award focussing on excellence at the senior WearableArt™ level.

Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Elizabeth Kerr said: “It’s appropriate that our award celebrates artistic excellence because that’s a very high priority for Creative New Zealand as an organisation.

“The winners of the first two Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Awards, Letty MacPhedran in 2003 and Susan Holmes in 2004, created stunning and inventive designs and I’m looking forward to seeing this year’s inspired creations.”

The winner of the Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award receives $7500 and a trophy. There is also a $2000 prize for a highly commended entry.

The judges of the 2005 Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards this year are Wellington artist Michel Tuffery, resident WOW® judge Sally Burton, Auckland fashion designer Liz Mitchell and WOW® creator Suzie Moncrieff. This year they are joined by guest judge, Ngila Dickson, twice nominated for an Oscar for her costume design for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

The Entrants:

Claire Prebble, Golden Bay: At the age of 17, Claire won last year’s Supreme WOW® Award with her intricate design Eos. Since her win, she has travelled overseas for the first time using her prize money. She spent three months working in Dubai and has travelled to London, New York and other fashion centres, meeting up with renowned designer Alex Newman. She made this year’s entry while she was travelling, inspired by her time in Dubai. Claire first entered the Montana WOW ® Awards in 1994 as an eight-year-old, becoming a finalist in the children’s section with The Junk Fish. Her 2001 entry, Perelandra, was highly commended in the open section and highly commended in Suzie Moncrieff’s Creative Excellence Award. Now 18, the artist, designer and jeweller says her interests lie in the design and creation of couture clothing.

Susan Holmes, Auckland: Susan Holmes has exhibited widely both in New Zealand and overseas, she has received many awards, including the 2004 Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award. She has been entering the Montana World of WearableArt™ Awards since 1990 and in 1996 won the Supreme WOW® Award with her creation Dragon Fish. She was also a judge in 1991 and 1997. Susan has made thousands of dyed and hand-printed garments since the early 1970s. Over the past ten years, inspired by the WOW® Awards, her pieces have become more sculptural and expressive.

Simon Hames, Wellington: Simon Hames worked on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and King Kong as a prop-maker and has recently set up his own prop and model-making company, Izzat Design, in Miramar. As well as entering the WOW ® Awards, he is designing a head float for Wellington City Council’s Excessive Accessories parade that is to take place in Wellington on the afternoon 23 September. Simon is best known to WOW® audiences as the creator of the 1999 Supreme Award winner, Superminx, the mischievous pair of opossum “chairs” and has been a judge for the WOW® Awards. A former student of Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Hames worked in the art department of the WOW® Awards and also created small furniture pieces before coming to Wellington.

Sue Prescott, Wellington: Sue Prescott was a WOW® judge in 1997, has been placed three times in award sections and was an entrant for the Creative New Zealand Award last year. A fashion design lecturer at Massey University, Wellington, she has her own fashion label. She has worked as a costume designer for six opera productions in New Zealand, including La Traviata, Nabucco, Carmen and The Marriage of Figaro. English-born, she came to New Zealand in 1992 to take up a position at the Wanganui Polytechnic. She has worked as an illustrator in New York and also worked with textiles in India and Pakistan. Both experiences, she says, have influenced her subsequent work.

Debra Price, Golden Bay: Debra Price has exhibited her work widely in New Zealand over the past 15 years and won many awards. This includes the Creative Design Excellence Award in the 1994 WOW® Awards with Siren Song and the 1995 Supreme WOW® Award with Moko, a garment made entirely in harakeke (New Zealand flax). Debra has been entering the WOW® Awards since 1990 and has earned placings in various sections. She has diplomas in both horticulture and handwoven textiles, and has always been fascinated by plants and the structure of textiles.

Letty MacPhedran, Nelson: Letty MacPhedran won the inaugural Creative New Zealand Artistic Excellence Award in 2003 with Yoi Yasa, her reinterpretation of the traditional kimono. Letty was a Supreme WOW® Award winner in 1993 for The Paua and the Glory, designed by Letty with Lillian Mutsaers of Wellington, and was a judge in 1998. She also has experience in the film industry and designed masks for the Royal New Zealand Ballet production of Romeo and Juliet.


*Suzi Moncrieff and Letty MacPhedran’s exhibition pieces are not eligible for competition as both are directly involved in the 2005 WOW® Awards - Suzie as creator of the event and Letty as the 2005 WOW® costume designer.

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