Siren of the Sea
Event: Art U Wear Circus Berserkus competition Finalist Expertise Events/ Bernina Australia
Award: People’s Choice Award
Challenged by a theme which didn’t inspire me initially, I had to find an angle which worked for me. I researched circuses at the turn of the century, and what they offered as entertainment. The Freak Show emerged, offering such delights as Dog Boy, Bearded Ladies, Lobster Boy, and the odd Mermaid. From the mermaid grew the idea of a jelly-fish lady, which was merged with Victorian-era fashion that audience members would have worn.
Materials & Techniques:
Organza, lace, plastic tubing, sequins, shibori-shaping
Several layers of fabric have been used to create the corset and skirt inserts – opalescent sequin material under corded lace creates the illusion of shimmering scales. The bodice is decorated with rouleau cord in art nouveau-esque patterns, and heavily hand beaded and sequinned for extra shimmer. The jellyfish tendrils draping from her headpiece, neckpiece and skirt were painstakingly shaped by tying marbles in organza tubes, boiling them to set the shape, removing the marbles and retying each section with rayon thread. The voluminous organza ‘jellyfish’ skirt has been shaped using plastic tubing.
You can probably tell that Siren of the Sea is related to BioLumina which was in turn influenced by work in my exhibition Morphology. When I needed a model for the photos, I asked a girl in my Step class at the gym who looked about right, and she ended up fitting the garment perfectly. The shoot was at Pandanus Beach in Wynnum, and she arrived after her day of work at a bank and changed in the public toilets before emerging onto the beach, much to nearby childrens’ delight. In 2015 Siren travelled around Australia with me as part of my display as Guest Artist at the Craft & Quilt Fair, Expertise Events in Perth, Launceston, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, and Adelaide.