Baroque Star Wins Weta Workshop Film & Costume Section at WOW 2016

Christchurch sisters Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry have won top honours in the Film & Costume section of the 2016 World of Wearable Art Awards (WOW). Hand-picked by Weta Workshop CEO and co-founder Richard Taylor, the pair will take up an internship at the Academy Award-winning concept design and physical effects manufacturing facility.

The talented duo already has a proud history with WOW: this is the third time Natasha and Tatyanna have entered the competition as a team. In fact, the sisters’ powerful entry The Exchange earned them the Supreme WOW Award in 2013.

Each year, Weta Workshop selects the theme of WOW’S Film & Costume section. This year, that theme was the Baroque and Rococo period. For Tatyanna, a ceramics artist and teacher, and Natasha, whose background is in fashion, pattern-making and construction, the timing was apt: the pair had recently travelled to Europe, soaking up the sights of Venice and St. Petersburg. Struck by both cities’ opulent architecture and extravagant religious artefacts – “I’ve never seen so much gold in my life,” says Tatyanna – they bore those influences back home to New Zealand, brimming with ideas. From their combined talents, Baroque Star was born.

The two-layer creation is fabricated from sheet aluminium, ceramic pieces, flock, cotton, PVA glue, and, according to Natasha, “probably three kilograms of glitter…there was glitter everywhere!” Underneath her heavily embellished frame, a model, clothed in a nude body stocking and an underskirt made from a light-sensitive metal fabric, moves effortlessly across the stage. Says Natasha:

“To create Baroque Star, it was the very first time we were working with some of the materials, so there was a fair bit of trial and error. But we’re not afraid to step outside our comfort zone if we think that a certain material or method will give us an amazing finish.”

For Richard, it was the piece’s expert construction, innovative use of materials and clever play on iconography that elevated Baroque Star above what was, by all accounts, an extremely high calibre collection of entries.

“Translating these artistically-rich periods of history into the realm of film and costume requires a high level of imagination and the creators of Baroque Star really rose to the challenge to craft something special. We look forward to hosting these Christchurch sisters here at Weta Workshop and getting them stuck into some exciting projects.”

-Richard Taylor, CEO & Co-founder, Weta Workshop.

When Natasha and Tatyanna arrive at Weta Workshop for their internship, they’ll set foot inside a wonderful world of creativity for the screen and far beyond. Their years of experience crafting incredible otherworldly creations for WOW put them in very good stead indeed.

Left: Baroque Star in motion. Right: Sir Richard Taylor & Natasha English.

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