Weta Workshop Welcomes WOW Winner

Tesla coil lightning suits, pyrotechnics, luminous human-sized insectoids and 15-metre-long giant robot jellyfish. If you can imagine it, this award-winning UK artist has probably created it.

Only one thing for it, then. Come join us at Weta Workshop!

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Joanna Peacock won the Weta Workshop Costume & Film Section of the 2015 World of Wearable Art (WOW) Awards with her spectacular entry, To Be or Not to Be. That meant packing her bags in January to take up her prize of a four-week internship with us.

"I am delighted that Joanna Peacock, another WOW designer, has had the life-changing opportunity to work with Weta Workshop. Her performance costume To Be Or Not To Be had a strong majestic stage presence and could well have worked its magic in a film. As Joanna's artistic interpretation of the Weta Workshop Costume & Film section themed Other Worlds, her craftsmanship and skill resulted in a wonderful work of wearable art."

-World of Wearable Art Creator, Dame Suzie Moncrieff

There are more than a few parallels between WOW and Weta Workshop. Both are hothouses of Kiwi ingenuity, innovation, and ‘far-out-that’s-cool’ creative expression. Like the Workshop, WOW isn’t so much about thinking outside of the box, but rather prying it open, planting it with explosives and hitting the detonator.

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An intrepid explorer by nature, Joanna has been performing and creating costumes for events, circuses, theatres and festivals “with some really creative, eccentric people” for the past 20 years. Exhibit A: the giant neon robot jellyfish you see above.

“My passion is coming up with ideas for costumes. Clients give me a brief or a few words and that just lights a fire in my brain…and then I enjoy figuring out how I’m going to make the designs a reality.”

Crafting an award-winning WOW garment isn’t easy, nor is it fast. After winning two WOW awards in 2014, Joanna returned to Essex already brimming with ideas for the next competition. “I literally made hundreds of drawings until I knew I had it.”

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‘It’ turned out to be the stunning and chimerical To Be or Not to Be (Image: WOW). This three-part costume, worn by three separate models, took four months of meticulous work to complete. “I did everything – the welding, the sculpting, the electronics, the sewing, painting, everything.” Working with materials like aluminium, steel, leather, chromed plastic, cotton, Lycra, strobe lights and LEDs meant Joanna had to take painstaking measures to ensure the costume was light, comfortable and, most importantly, wearable. A challenge the Weta Workshop crew can definitely relate to!

“Joanna embodies a quality that is so very precious to us here at Weta Workshop: the confidence not only to dream, but to do. With this year’s Costume & Film Section all about the Baroque and Rococo Period, we are tremendously excited to see what unearthly inventions will dazzle the WOW stage this September.”

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

With studios, living rooms and basements around the world currently being commandeered by the next lot of WOW entrants, Joanna is documenting her internship week by week, hoping her experience will encourage and inspire (you can check out her WOW blog here). And what lies ahead for the nomad herself? It’s on to the next creative project, whatever – and wherever – it may be.

To Be or Not to Be. Image: WOW.

All three models converge on the stage in spectacular fashion. Image: WOW.

Joanna accepts her award from Richard Taylor. Image: WOW.

Another view of Joanna's winning work. Image: WOW.

Suspended in flight, an acrobat wears one of Joanna's creations.

More of Joanna's work in action. 

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