A Marlborough Sounds woman is a finalist in this year's World of Wearable Arts competition with her Octopus's Garden garment.
Linkwater woman Helen Millen's design was selected on Monday in the Air New Zealand South Pacific section of the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Arts (WoW) competition. It will feature one model wearing a fabric octopus and another wearing a faux coral garden.
The garment, which was inspired by The Beatles song of the same name, will be judged against 23 other section finalists on September 26 before the official show kicks off in Wellington from September 27 to October 7.
"I've always loved the song," Ms Millen said.
"My mother even used to tell us she was a mermaid born on Coney Island in Ireland. I'd like to be . . . under the sea . . . in an octopus's garden," she recited.
The octopus design features intricate tentacles made from hardened polyester cut with a soldering iron to feed the suckers through.
The "earthy" colouring was made using a Japanese design technique, shibori, which involves pinching the fabric and tying it with string before dying it to create detailed patterns.
The art of shibori is based on the Japanese root word shiboru, which means to ring, squeeze and press - a technique Ms Millen studied in Japan.
However, instead of flattening the material after dyeing, she left it bunched to add a unique three-dimensional effect to the texture of her work.
The shape of the octopus, with its tiny head attached to its large stomach, was crafted after hours of internet research and even a trip to an aquarium in New York.
"I frightened myself a couple of times thinking he was looking at me but I wanted them to look like the octopus I met."
The octopus dress will be complemented by a garment featuring colourful coral and sweeping seaweed.
The imagination behind the entry is undeniable.
"It's taken me well over 7000 hours to complete," she said.
It is the fourth time Ms Millen has been selected as a WoW finalist. Two of her garments, including her Wetlands Warrior design that was a finalist in last year's open category, are in the WoW museum in Nelson.
- The Marlborough Express