Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Zandra Rhodes to join artists from the West Midlands for Godiva Awakes

Zandra Rhodes joins textile artists from the West Midlands for Godiva Awakes

part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad

International fashion designer Zandra Rhodes has joined six artists from across the West Midlands to create garments for Imagineer Productions Godiva Awakes, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Godiva Awakes is part of Artists taking the lead, a series of 12 public art commissions across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Arts Council England is delivering the project in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Wales.

Zandra Rhodes will work with students from Coventry University to create a transparent modern style medieval shift for Lady Godiva with gold hand painted godets and trailing sleeves. Over this will be an ‘iron’ corset decorated with mirrored flowers. Both beautiful and practical the garments are being created for the ten metre high Lady Godiva that will be powered by bike and manipulated by one puppeteer on her journey to London.

In addition, a team of regional textile and glass artists will create the top coat and train for Lady Godiva showcasing the crafts and industries from the West Midlands. Led by award winning textile artist Julia O’Connell, the team includes Maggie Dunne, Rachel Grant, Adam Hussain, Debbie Squires and Julie Joannides. The coat and train will feature designs researched and created from the Chain Makers of the Black Country, the Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, Computer Gaming in Leamington Spa, Glove Making in Worcester, and the Glass Making Industries from Stourbridge and Smethwick.

The pattern for Godiva’s coat and train will be created by Coventry based Creative Hubb using the latest cutting edge technology. The company will create a pattern which equates to nearly 6 times the scale of an average human size for the 10 metre high creation.

Claire Maddocks, Imagineer Productions said: “Godiva’s garments, from her corset to her train, are a crucial part of the performance when Godiva awakes in 2012. We are delighted to be announcing the involvement of Zandra Rhodes who will bring a sense of theatre to Godiva’s corset and shift and we are incredibly excited by the research already undertaken by Julia O’Connell and the team of textile artists. Godiva’s coat promises to be a historical record of the industrial heritage of the West Midlands, a beacon chronicling the skills of our region as Godiva travels to London in 2012.”

Zandra Rhodes, fashion designer said: “Designing the corset and gown for Godiva Awakes will be a fantastic challenge, I am already thinking about sheer transparent fabrics that will hold the right shape but create the right fantastic illusion for such a historical important icon yet work with the structure itself. I am also looking forward to trying out some new techniques through working with students at Coventry University and using the cutting edge facilities they have there.”

Julia O’Connell, visual artist said: “Researching both past and present crafts and industries from the West Midlands region has been truly fascinating. The team have been uncovering so many personal and poignant stories, and it is a humbling experience when these are placed within the context of such hugely important inventions and moments in our global history. With the research now complete, we are now preparing to cut and embellish the fabric for the coat. I can’t wait to get stitching!”

Ros Robins, Director, Arts Council England, West Midlands said: “Godiva Awakes is a really exciting project that is set to put the West Midlands on the map in 2012. I’m delighted that we’ll be benefitting from Zandra Rhodes’ extraordinary talent to clothe this local icon for her journey into the 21st century, and can’t wait to see the finished designs.”

Imagineer Productions Godiva Awakes will create a ten metre high Lady Godiva, who will awake in July 2012 to a spectacular performance and powered by 50 cyclists journey to London to play a part in the London 2012 celebrations. She will be a symbol of justice for the 21st Century embodying the values of fair play, friendship, respect and courage that are at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Over 1000 people are already part of the Godiva Awakes project across the region, including the Communitas (220 young people), the Choir (100), the Cycle Team (100) with 58 people employed on delivering Godiva Awakes alongside eight apprenticeships for young people and a further 100 jobs planned to be created during the project. For more information visit

Imagineer Productions are working with the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership for the 2012 Games (CW2012) to maximise opportunities arising from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To see how the West Midlands region as a whole is maximising the benefits from London 2012 visit  

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