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Creative First Takes Flight At The World Of WearableArt

A Creative First For David Trubridge And Brancott Estate Takes Flight At The World Of WearableArt

A pioneering artwork featuring contributions from hundreds of New Zealanders revealed in a dramatic performance

Brancott Estate and award winning furniture and lighting designer, environmentalist and artist, David Trubridge have collaborated in a ground-breaking art project that reflects the heritage of Brancott Estate and champions the concept of ‘memorable firsts’.

To create a unique piece of wearable art Trubridge and Brancott Estate called on the New Zealand public to submit photographs representing a special or memorable ‘first’. Over 500 submissions were received featuring a wide array of experiences, ranging from getting married to a first trip overseas or the first blossom of spring. This crowd-sourced content has become part of the Trubridge’s artistic vision and was revealed on the 12th October at the World of WearableArt Awards show in Wellington.

Trubridge was inspired by a visit to Brancott Vineyard where he learnt of the winery’s pioneering history from chief winemaker, Patrick Materman. He discovered that the decision to establish a vineyard in the South Island in 1973, went against popular opinion at the time, which believed the region was too cold to grow wine grapes. By going against the grain and setting a viticultural first, Brancott Estate has become one of the country’s most popular and successful wine brands. The theme of ‘firsts’ formed the basis of this art project.

David Trubridge says of his involvement with this innovative, creative collaboration, “This is a project about pioneering, about first times and that has really excited me because I’m a person who loves to pioneer new territory.”

The sculptural form of the artwork was inspired by the poignant vision of a bird about to take flight on its first, epic journey. Trubridge explains, “The first thing that jumped into my mind was the image of a young gannet sitting on the edge of the cliff. The first time it flies is the start of its journey all the way to Australia. It takes off and it doesn’t stop.”

A giant pair of wings was constructed from light-weight bamboo plywood, held together with twine stitching. The same signature material which features in Trubridge’s acclaimed lighting range was made to flex and move with the figure of the wearer. Trubridge describes, “This piece was created to be worn in a performance which embodies the essence of ‘first time’ – the transition from one point to the next, from the old to the new.”

Trubridge printed the hundreds of images submitted by the public to the underside of the winged structure using a red and white monochrome effect which represents the colours of the wine made by Brancott Estate. The images create a subtle patina resembling the delicate plumage of feathers.

The final artwork was revealed in a moving performance that echoes the first tentative flutters of a bird about to take off on its maiden flight. Initially cloaked by the giant pair of wings the wearer slowly grows in confidence and stature, stretching and flexing in a graceful and fluid motion before releasing the full sculptural form with arms held aloft to reveal the many images of ‘firsts’ submitted by the public.

Patrick Materman, Brancott Estate chief winemaker says, “Brancott Estate is delighted with the stunning artwork David has created. He has exceeded our expectations and has designed a piece that is new, innovative and original on so many levels. David has combined memorable firsts from the New Zealand public into a poetic, moving, kinetic piece of wearable art. The final creation truly embodies the pioneering spirit of Brancott Estate and WOW.”

The artwork and a video of the performance piece were showcased at the World of WearableArt. The filmed performance can also be viewed on the Brancott Estate website,


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