Diana Kelly’s design metamorphosis with The Butterfly Collector for Wearable Art Mandurah


Leederville designer Diana Kelly with her piece The Butterfly Collector (Avant Garde category) worn by Paris Cusack (15, Metro Modelling). Picture: Andrew Ritchie d483408
Leederville designer Diana Kelly with her piece The Butterfly Collector (Avant Garde category) worn by Paris Cusack (15, Metro Modelling). Picture: Andrew Ritchie d483408

IF the insect world put on an exhibition, it would probably be made out of butterflies, according to Diana Kelly.

With a background in illustration and diverse experience in creative avenues from floristry to face painting, Kelly has always loved the beautiful winged insect and regards them as little works of art.

“It’s like a collective of these small individual paintings,” Kelly, of Leederville, said.

Kelly was inspired by her love of butterflies to create The Butterfly Collector, her entry for this year’s Wearable Art Mandurah, a competition that encourages new ways of viewing the world through thought-provoking works of art for the body.

For her third year of entering the event, Kelly photographed some butterflies. played with them on the computer and printed them on photographic paper.

“There are hundreds of them, so there was a lot of cutting involved,” the designer said.

“They are glued on to a light PVC backing so I could bend them to give them a 3D look. They all have glitter on the edge of the wings so when the sun hits them they look like they’re flying;

“I have an obsession with glitter and sparkly things and this validates my need to buy it.”

The headpiece is made from recycled signage and gold leaf, while the dress material was coated up to 10 times with a mix of PVA, silver and metallic paint.

“I’ve coated and coated it so it became quite rigid and feels a bit like armour,” Kelly said.

“There was a bit of experimenting with that.”

However, the biggest challenge was engineering the piece to ensure it was wearable.

“You could get carried away with sticking things on but it would be unwearable,” she said.

“Making it wearable for a model or dancer to perform in was probably the trickiest part. There was a lot of trial and error going on there.”

The Butterfly Collector will feature in two showcase events at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on June 9 and 10, with an exhibition in August.

“It’s a joyous, happy piece and I just want people to look at it and smile,” Kelly said.