WOWq is the word for the World of WearableArt show held in New Zealand, and for the wearable art that artist Lorene Ireland has created as her entry in the 2012 worldwide competition.
Named Serpentina, Ireland’s creation combines Fabric, shells, pearls, and mosaics to capture the beauty and sensuality of a mermaid with the movement of a serpent. The wearable art is complete with a headdress, stiletto shell shoes, and an articulated tail.
“It took me five months to finish Serpentina—I wanted it to be quite spectacular. The engineering was difficult because the headdress had to be light enough to wear in the choreographed show, and the tail had to move…I was putting on the last piece just before I had to send it to the show!” Lorene exclaimed.
Her inspiration for this year’s wearable art piece was two-fold: “I’ve always loved the ocean, and I’ve always wanted to see the Loch Ness Monster…There IS something in that water, I just know it!”
Described as a montage of theatre, dance, color, movement, and art, the Brancott Estate WOWq Awards judges select more than 150 garments created by designers from around the world to compete. Each garment entered is part of a two-hour theatrical performance, described on the WearableArt website: “Step into a world where art and the human form combine, where dance, music, and lighting tell a story of the body as a canvas. Where the lines of fashion and art blur and merge as one.”This is the second year in a row that Lorene Ireland has been selected as a finalist in this invitation-only event. Last year, her garments made from sea shells and fine china mosaics was awarded first place in the Kiwi Icon Section with her shell girl Isabella.
On Nantucket, Lorene Ireland’s art can be seen in her Ireland Galleries at 13 Old South Wharf and on Saturday mornings at the Nantucket Farmers & Artisans Market. Her gallery specializes in one-of-a-kind handmade furniture, figurative drawer sculptures and decorative items, covered almost entirely in mosaic patterns using shells, glass and porcelain china.
An accomplished painter, sculptor, and glass maker, Ireland spends her winters designing and creating works of art and jewelry that combine realist and impressionist styles, many embellished with real seashells.
She has always been a lover of high fashion. A painter and a sculptress by trade, she began using mosaics in 1997 to create tables. After attending the “Jewel Ball” in La Jolla, she decided to take her love of fashion and mosaics to a higher degree by designing art that looked like an evening gown with the most unlikely of materials. In the beginning, Ireland designed mosaic garments on torso and handmade figurative sculptures. They were made of china mosaics, porcelain and glass that actually looked like an evening gown.
After designing for a client a wall hanging that looked like a mosaic bathing suit, Ireland designed a wearable art mosaic bustier that appeared on the runway of New York City’s Couture Fashion Week. And that started her on the path to WOWq.
Ireland will find out on Friday September 28 in Wellington, New Zealand, whether Serpentina will win an award. “This year it’s not about winning, it’s an honor to participate…and I was in New Zealand for such a short time last year…it was fantastic, and I just want to go back.”