Our Year 10 Sophie Ziegler’s monarch butterfly wearable arts creation has won the Fort Stony Batter Award for Sculpture in the Waiheke Youth Art Awards competition. Sophie’s work of art will be exhibited at the historic Stony Batter Tunnel complex on Waiheke Island when it reopens.
A seasoned wearable arts participant, Sophie has entered the Wearable Arts competition of the College since she was in Year 7 and has been recognised for each of the categories she had participated in.
Sophie explained that she was first introduced to wearable arts when she attended the Saint Kentigern Wearable Arts Show in 2017. “I was inspired by the art form and creativity that I saw at the show and thought I would give it a go since I love making things using different materials and objects. I never knew I would grow to love doing it this much. Wearable Arts has now become an annual project that I plan and look forward to,” she added.
Elaborating on her focus on the eco-friendly aspect of wearable arts, Sophie said she has always opted to use preloved materials and relishes the challenge of showcasing the many possibilities of her design based on the use of recycled materials instead of new items that are purchased.
For her latest creation, she used old, recycled tablecloths to piece the wings together with accompanying intricate baby butterflies as hair accessories. The main body of the butterfly is made from used inner tubes from cars and bikes that she cut into strips and hand-knit into a dress.
Sophie’s latest design, Transformation Creation which was created for the Colleges Wearable Arts Showcase this year, was inspired by her late grandmother who loved Monarch butterflies. Sophie explained, “My nana loved gardens. She would always have plants that attracted butterflies. I grew up drawing different species of butterfly pictures and my nana would pin them up on a wall. When I was coming up for this year’s idea, I envisioned a beautiful butterfly, the same way I remember my Nana. In fact, the background around my outfit is a creation I designed for my nana in 2018 but never got around to making it.”
Sophie’s creation transforms from a wrapped-up cape shaped as a chrysalis into a majestic butterfly when the pair of giant wings spread open. The outfit is painstakingly hand painted with old paint and sewn together over six months showcasing a striking deep orange butterfly with prominent black veins and white patterns along the edges. Her design comes complete with a reusable mask with handmade butterflies sewn on them.
One of the key features of Sophie’s creation is the intricate detail she added to her outfit. The giant wings and the smaller ones were painted over several times on each side to harden the surface. Her biggest challenge was to knit the inner tubes for the body of the butterfly as the rubber would stick to the needle. Sophie eventually found a way to ease the process using powder.
Sophie always starts planning her next design after Christmas, so she will be back in the creative process again in a couple of weeks.
Congratulations Sophie. We can’t wait to see your next design.
* Photos were taken by Peter Rees, Peter Rees Photography