Designer hits right note with WOW

17:00, Jul 15 2014
Christeena Macdonald Paea
INSPIRED: Christeena Macdonald Paea has given a broken-down piano a new lease on life and it will now be shown at the World of Wearable Art in Wellington.

Inspiration for art can stem from the strangest everyday items.

For Timaru's Christeena Macdonald Paea, inspiration struck in the form of a piano - and led her to create an entry which has been accepted for this year's World of Wearable Arts (WOW) competition.

This year, WOW saw 167 international and national designers being chosen out of the 292 designers who applied.

"I am so happy being chosen for WOW. I believe it was my model Sam who helped my work get recognised," she said yesterday after learning of her success.

She entered her garment in the open section, and was selected for the Wellington show in September.

This year the open section has 38 other entrants from across the world and it also has the highest number of international entrants.


"During the judging process we were not given any special consideration for being Kiwi. We were judged on a level playing field after the judges took various things into consideration."

Using the guts of a piano and men's ties, she created a suit of Roman-inspired armour.

"The inside of a piano is quite beautiful to use and it is nice to repurpose something that would have previously been trashed. I undid the piano bit by bit and called the garment Battle Suite.

"I created the top half using the hammer keys and lots of string and my trusty drill, and the bottom half using the ties. At least 80 per cent of the garment had to be recyclable."

The garment would not have been completed if Macdonald Paea let the complexity of the design get to her.

"I started last year and got a bit discouraged. So I stopped and started again toward the end of December last year. You spend as much time researching the piece as you actually spend making the piece."

Macdonald Paea now has a visit to Wellington to look forward to - opening night of the show. It will also be the first chance the public has to see her creation, with it remaining under wraps until then.

The Timaru Herald