Bridal gown with unique medical twist

By Kiri Gillespie

A unique wedding dress created from hospital sterilisation material has been entered in a national wearable arts competition by a Tauranga woman who has taken inspiration from the Bay.

Tauranga Hospital sterile technician Sarah Matthews spent about six weeks making the dress - armed with just scissors, glue and tape. The dress is made from 100 per cent sterile material normally used in hospital.

It is adorned with 124 hibiscus flowers, cut from sterile packaging, plus lining from plastic bags used in the sterilisation process of surgical tools, sterile sheeting and sterile tape.

"She's called the Spirit of the Bay," Ms Matthews said.

"I just really wanted to say something about the Bay and the hospital. The patterns down the front and bottom and out the back are taken from the patterns etched in the doors around the hospital.

"The hibiscus came from our scrub house.

"The shape of the dress is sort of meant to be the shape of the Mount and the colour comes from the clear, sparkling blue water."

A dark line tailing up the back of the dress represented Rena while a layering of material coming out the rear of the dress represented the ocean's waves.

"I just love living here," Ms Matthews said.

The former dressmaker said while she was familiar with fabric she found the rigidness of the materials challenging to fit around the human form.

Model and fellow sterile technician Monica Dalton will fly to Dunedin next week, where the Intermed Wearable Arts will be held as part of a New Zealand Sterile Services Association conference from Wednesday.

The competition has been sponsored by the packing companies responsible for the sterile material.

"I'm really competitive. I really like doing this sort of thing."

Ms Matthews will remain in Tauranga but will find out if she's won by Friday.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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