Worn to be Wild at Mottisfont Abbey, 14 July – 16 September 2012
An installation by UK textile artist and costume designer Kate Plumtree. She’s created extraordinary couture dresses inspired by British wildlife, including a night-time urban fox and a stunning kingfisher.
Kate Plumtree is a fashion designer and theatre Costume Maker for the ENO and West End shows in London, previously the RSC in Stratford-Upon-Avon and this touring collection is part fashion, part costume, part photography, part installation-art.
Ranging from an Elizabethan Grebe, Medieval Red Deer, a twenties Kingfisher, a balletic fairy tale swan, and a Tudor Badger these flights of fancy make for a lively, tangible exhibit.
The birds are alive with pattern and colour, and show off Kate’s full range of creative processes; dyeing, printing, stencilling, quilting, appliqué and silk painting, in mostly period shapes that captured the essence of each creature.
The mammals are much more about texture and sculptural form, more solid and heavy with much use of fabric manipulation techniques such as padding, pleating, gathering, fringing and heavy quilting. One of the bird costumes features plumes recycled from the PVC handles of a number of handbags. The urban hedgehog is covered in rubber pyramid spikes, a loud, futuristic cyber-punk creation.
The tour of Worn to be Wild continues to evolve as it travels around the UK at many prestigious venues. Since launching at Banbury Museum in 2009, the exhibition has grown to a total of 17 costumes, headdresses, fabric sample boards, large scale location photography, step by step construction portfolios and an extra rail of costumes for dressing up! It has toured continuously for 3 years, we found it currently at the National Trust’s Mottisfont Abbey in July and is booked into more venues across the UK until November 2013.
Worn to be Wild aims to inspire and educate through the beauty and diversity of nature, the evolution of fashion, the craft of costume making and the art of creative textiles. Everyone who came to see it while we were there, adults and children alike were full of admiration for the creative leap taken with each costume. RC