More about the garment and the designer
David Walker had never heard of wearable art until he saw his sister-in-law’s entry in a local competition and decided to try it for himself. For his debut entry in 2007, David turned a free pile of wood veneer into a wooden gown with shoulder spikes and a stegosaurus tail. Just two years later, he entered Lady of the Wood and won the Supreme WOW Award, becoming the first ever international designer to win this coveted award.
‘To go up and get an award and have 3000-plus all clapping and congratulating you is a pretty big rush, especially for some regular ol’ carpenter guy’
His creative process begins with sketches which he then turns into patterns, and then he plays with his materials to see what he can or cannot do. With Lady of the Wood, his goal was to see how close he could get to reproducing an eighteenth-century ballgown made entirely out of wood.
The Lacewood bodice was made from a modified eighteenth-century pattern, the Mahogany sleeves were steamed and bent into shape then finished with a Lacewood cuff. The skirt is an oval pannier with two Cedar hoops supported from a Mahogany belt covered with 52 stripped Mahogany and Maple veneer strips.
Since 2007, David has entered WOW nine times. He says he ‘loses words’ when he tries to talk about what the competition has meant to him. ‘I don’t even know where to start. The WOW experience was incredible. I had never experienced anything like that in my life. To be part of that, to have a piece in such a production was amazing.’