Leanne Day entered the 2019 World of Wearable Art (WOW) event in the Open Section. She created her Engolfed garment using old golf bags, clubs and balls.
Leanne Day has a background in designing and making bespoke wedding dresses and ball gowns. She’s self-taught and has been sewing her whole life. She started sewing when she was a little girl when her grandmother gave her a treadle sewing machine.
“She instilled in me the love and importance of reusing scraps and old clothes to make anything my heart desired,” Day explains.
She went to a WOW show about 10 years ago and was inspired by the creativity on the stage.
“I thought, I could do this! I’ve entered World of Wearable Art for the last six years and was a finalist in the 2016 show with a bra made entirely from old broken wristwatches, titled Don’t waste time — get a mammogram. My other entries have been from recycled materials also, including one made from paper magazine pages from bride magazines.”
Day says that designing and making a garment for WOW is exceptionally liberating. She says it gives her the opportunity to let her creative ideas run wild.
“I like to challenge myself by learning new skills through making and using varied materials, which are often recycled. It’s incredible to be part of this international competition with so many talented designers from all over the world. I feel very privileged my garment will join theirs on stage and it makes me feel happy to see my hard work and crazy ideas come to life in the amazingly choreographed show.”
This year she decided to enter the Open Section with an idea to challenge the way she usually designs and makes garments. In the past she has thought of an idea to fit a category, then found the materials to realise the design.
“This time I was inspired by the feeling I get from living a creative life — the overwhelming feeling of being inundated with ideas and totally immersed in my creative thoughts and processes — feeling engulfed! I also tend to think very literally and love the play on words, so, engulfed became Engolfed and I decided to use old golf bags, clubs and balls to turn my imagination into a reality.
“I found what I needed on TradeMe … I was really excited this time as I didn’t have any idea what the finished garment would look like until I had dismantled the golf bags and clubs and let their shape and structure determine the shape and functionality in my design. It came together quite quickly after experimenting with different ideas and shapes, spending about two months of full-time creating.”
Day tried to reuse as much of the golf bags as she could, like the stiffening and the hardware, like buckles, rings and the vinyl.
“The golf clubs were perfect to use as a knotted swirl around the head and shoulders to represent all my crazy ideas I have surrounding me most of the time. I found I couldn’t bend the golf clubs — they snapped, so I used stainless steel tubing offcuts from my neighbour’s engineering shed and reattached the beautiful leather handles, called grips and wooden club ends. Sewing the thick golf bags was hard, too! I found a guy who makes boat covers to help sew all the hard bits for me. He had a whole lot of scrap vinyl and leather lying around his workshop which I found a perfect match to make my sleeves and to recover the old weed-eater harness that was the base for the shoulder frame that supported the heavy golf club orb.”