Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Goats and shiny things....

Image of the big daddy goat before his sparkles were added
On Thursday it is the start of a New Lunar New Year and the animal symbol for the year is the goat. I am the first to admit I am an utterly, unrestrained dag when it comes to Chinese New Year. I love it for so many reasons, as with all festivals there is a strong links to Chinese traditions and family and as always it's all about the food too!
First Marquette
My favourite memories of my childhood are tied in to this festival.  I was brought up not celebrating Christmas so New Year was a big thing for me. Plus the red packets of money, new clothes and shoes were an added bonus. There were trips into Chinatown to see the big dragon or "Dai Loong", the lion dancers and fire crackers, of course these events were punctuated with a family for Yum Cha session. (Yes again food, my family are Chinese from Malaysia. Malaysian-Chinese are perhaps the most food obsessed people in the world)
In October last year I was approached by CPS (creative production services) to design a Lunar New Year display for the Atrium at Crown Melbourne. Fittingly for the year for the Wood goat I was asked to reference Chinese paper cutting as a starting point for my designs. It's a really simple folk art and are beautifully hand cut images that were traditionally used decorate windows and doors during festive periods.

Just after installation before all the shiny bits got added

I knew I didn't want to do the typical red and gold that is everywhere during new year festival; rather embrace the over the top, bright, slightly kitsch colour palettes of Chinese folk art, a little of the naivety and fun of my own childhood. New Year is a Spring festival so the decorations are all tied in with this, the symbolism of the various elements are really important as they reflect good luck and fortune. If you want to read more about this go to this link.
I had a recon trip to Crown, I have walked through this space before but I never really taken notice of the sheer scale and cavernous proportions of the Atrium, this is where I began to panic. (The finished piece measures approx 5x5 meters high and about 1.2 meters deep) I really didn't need to worry as once I had completed the design all my sketches, art work and scale Marquettes were handed over to an engineer and a construction team that basically made my model ten times bigger. This amazing team sorted out how it was going to work, then welded, cut, clad, built and painted it, all I had to do were the finishing touches - lots of shiny stuff & staple gunning. 
It was a real experience to just hand something over and wait to see the results, plus there was the added bonus of having people to direct. Again an interesting experience, yelling out instructions to your glitter wranglers, when the are several meters above you on a scissor lift, also does not help that it was an ungodly hour of the morning and I was having trouble articulating left, right, up and down.
So after months of work it is finally installed and completed really happy to be able to show the process of getting from a sketch to a finished larger than life installation.
The piece is on view in the Atrium of Crown Melbourne throughout the Lunar New Year Festival until the end of February 2015. Hope you enjoy looking at the process of getting to the finished installation. If you do go & grab a snapshot of it post it on instagram with #pleatybunny or #pleatybunnybymissfoo or tag me @pleatybunny it has been fun seeing the photos on Insta!

Gong Xi Fatt Choi 
Love Miss FOO xxx


  1. Wow! What a way to start the new year! Gotta go and see this for myself - I love Chinese New Year too but I'm not even Chinese. Happy New Year!

    1. it's really shiny & the lighting in the space brings it to life, let me know what you think if you go x