Ann Skelly was first part of the World of WearableArt in 2007 when this piece Dream Hunter was accepted into the children’s section.

For the twelfth time, local artist Ann Skelly has had a garment accepted into the renowned international design competition World of WearableArt (WOW).

What the garment looks like remains a secret until the official WOW Awards Show opens on 21 September, but Ann says the piece is entered into the “open section” that has no thematic boundaries but “encourages a high degree of originality and innovation.”

“I spent a lot of time coming up with ideas and I tossed many out,” she says. “I knew straight away, when I had this idea, that this was the one.”

Ann’s piece is a single coloured, handmade female garment created from hundreds of separate pieces of the same material.

“It’s very different from what I have done before. It’s a large piece, and in my opinion, there’s more thought and effort put into it.”

Every year, since her first entry in 2007, Ann has created and entered at least one piece. She says she’s obsessed.

“You spend hundreds of hours on the pieces. But when you ship them off to Nelson, you still don’t know if the judges will like it. I’m just really happy to get in.”

Last year, as in 2013, her garments were not accepted. “Failure is a huge lesson. It reminds me to try harder.”

WOW attracts entries every year from designers from over 40 countries, and the finalists feature in the country’s largest show of its kind. About 60,000 people attend the three-week Wellington season and over $165,000 is allocated in prize money.

Three of Ann’s pieces have been bought for WOW’s permanent collection and she has also won third place – but she has yet to win. “I want to at least win a section before I’m done.”

Nine of her wearable art garments are on display at her art studio among other pieces. For opening hours, see ‘Ann Skelly Art Studio’ on Facebook. • Emma Haas

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