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Karamea Wearable Art Show 2024

"Papillon Imperfecticans" by sisters Cathy Sampson and Caroline Langford and modelled by Keira Hansen-Higgs. Winner of the People's Choice and Craftsmanship awards. Photo by Paul Murray
Artist's Blurb: Title: "Papillon Imperfecticans" Story: From the edge of the Kahurangi, the mythical Papillon imperfections emerges. With her body of fur and wings of silk and wool, she unfurls to reveal all her perfectly imperfect glory! Materials: Wings -Nuno felted wool and recycled natural fibre scarves (Cathy). Body -Hand tanned calf skins (Caroline), metalware (Bevan). Head piece - Felted wool, woven reclaimed copper (Cathy).

On the evening of June 1, 2024, the Karamea Pulse Energy Centre came alive with creative ferment, glamour and style. The second KaraWearable Arts Show by the Karamea Pop-Up Gallery team attracted a full house of well-dressed fashionistas who came to see art worn by people.

After the success of the 2023 show, the organising committee significantly raised the bar and worked hard to transcend their previous heights and put on an event that wowed, inspired and impressed.

The show's success was not just a result of the organising committee's hard work but also a testament to the strong community spirit of Karamea. The community rallied behind the cause, offering logistical support, skill sets, and muscle. They also generously provided a raft of prizes to award the best designers. The panel of three judges had the challenging task of deciding which outfits to award prizes to, but everyone involved was a winner on the night. The show was a creative triumph, attracting an audience of 292 people from Karamea and as far away as Blenheim, Wanaka, Christchurch and Nelson.

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The audience was encouraged to dress to impress and arrived Hollywood style via a red carpet, complete with paparazzi. Some attendees rivalled the stage performers in style and grace and gave the event a touch of class. The cash bar provided social lubricant, and the hall soon buzzed with conversation, laughter, and comradery. The atmosphere was highly energised before the show even began.

The 2024 show featured 39 outfits made by schoolchildren, retirees, nurses, farmers, merchants, and teachers, all artists on the night. Warrior princesses were popular this year, with the Karamea ladies releasing their inner barbarians. Insects and animals, including a butterfly, a ladybird, a chicken, a prancing mythical Kelpie seahorse stallion, and even an adorable little jellyfish, were also featured.

This year's show opened with an acrobatic performance by event Director Sacha Healey and Lydia Barbour to a captivating narrative that spoke to the creative process, wove together themes of "Myths and Legends," "Made from Nature," and "Upcycled/Recycled," and brought the magic of theatre to the catwalk. Awards in categories including Overall Supreme, Craftsmanship, Youth, People's Choice, and Spot Prizes recognised the participant's outstanding contributions to wearable artistry.

The Craftsmanship Award went to Cathy Sampson and her sister Caroline Langford, who collaborated on a spectacular butterfly titled "Papillon Imperfecticans." Made from felted wool, recycled natural-fibre scarves, and hand-tanned calf hide, it was professionally modelled by Keira Hansen-Higgs. The outfit also won the People's Choice award, voted by the audience as the show's most impressive design.

Abylene Chalmers took home the top gong with her baroque Rococo ballgown "Rock Me, Amadeus," made from 100% recycled materials and was awarded the event's Supreme Prize. She modelled the overtly flamboyant vestment herself and looked like Marie Antoinette.

The Youth Prize went to "Chicken Big," a creative collaboration between school friends Sebastian Klaver-Jones, Odin O'Dwyer, Shea Chalmers-Mawson and Alfie Murton. It was modelled by Elias Walker, who really brought the chook to life.

After the show, the costumes were placed on mannequins and exhibited the next day, along with information about the designers and their creative inspiration, to allow people to inspect the artistry, craftsmanship, and detail in the outfits. This proved popular and will surely inspire others to enter their own creations in future events.

The event showcased the creative talents of the Karamea community, brought people together for a superb social occasion that unified the community, encouraged the region's youth to express themselves artistically and attracted visitors to enjoy the show, the facilities, food and beverages, activities and scenic locations that inspired the creative designers and make Karamea so special.

The 2024 KaraWearable Arts Show was a resounding success, leaving the audience eagerly anticipating the next event. The organisers are already planning for the 2025 event, which promises to be even more spectacular. The buzz among the audience was palpable, with many vowing to enter the show next year. So, be sure to join us in Sunny Karamea for another unforgettable wearable art extravaganza next year.

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