Event: World of WearableArt Weta Workshop Costume & Film Section, Theme Kingdoms of the East Section Finalist
Award: Winner of International Award Australia/ South Pacific
In Chinese mythology, Fènghuáng the phoenix is the magnificent sovereign of the winged kingdom, appearing in times and places of utmost peace, happiness and prosperity. Often described as a composite of many birds, it reigns over the feathered world with its elaborate beauty. The Phoenix embodies the five virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and sincerity. The Asian Phoenix is not to be confused with the solitary Phoenix of Egypt and Greece, which dies in flames with the next Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Materials & Techniques:
Leather, hand dyed silk organza, lycra, acrylic paint, lino print, fibreglass rods, plastic tubing
To create the large wings, pieces of leather had to be riveted together. Sequin waste was used as a stencil for painting on the leather to create a skin-like texture, and a lino block was used for printing the pattern on the end of the silk organza feathers. As with Fimbria Figura, fragments of the silk organza live on in other works. Fènghuáng was purchased for the World of WearableArts Museum Collection.
After the official photoshoot for Fènghuáng, I felt the phoenix was lacking something, so I made an extra tail piece for it, and had my stepson model it in the backyard for dressing reference photos. Fènghuáng was in the World of WearableArt Museum when Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visited, and could be seen behind her in the news footage! It has always been very difficult to display Fènghuáng, as most mannequins cannot extend their arms out sideways as needed to support the wings, which slip over like gloves.