There Are Many More Fish in the Sea, by Katherine Bertram and modelled by Baileigh Southon at last year's Edible Fashion Awards. Photo / File
"You shouldn't just dream about it, you should have a go at doing WOW."
Those words from fashion designer Annah Stretton - at the end of last year's Edible Fashion Awards - unlocked a dream that winner Katherine Bertram had always had but never knew possible.
Now, 12 months later, and with a "creative chaos" left behind in her home, Bertram is a finalist at this year's World of WearableArt Awards Show.
She is among 115 finalists from 22 countries to be shown at the competition in Wellington, which will run from September 26 to October 31.
But she would never have entered if it hadn't been for the Hawke's Bay Edible Fashion Awards, which she entered for the first time last year after her daughter did so the year before.
In her first go, she came away with the supreme award for her entry titled There Are Many More Fish In The Sea - a garment made of fish skin.
"I have always had a desire to enter WOW but had abandoned the notion long ago. It was only after winning Edible that I entertained the thought of trying for WOW," Bertram said.
She found it to be a "huge step up", saying it occupied her "every waking thought".
"I had no real understanding of the huge strain that it was going to take or the amount of work and how much was involved."
She spent almost three-quarters of the year processing the material.
Bertram, who is a teacher at Napier Boys' High School, was working with materials she hadn't trained with but had instead taught herself to use.
"I got to the point of having all this amazing material but having this sheer terror of actually having not constructed a garment and realising that I could completely stuff up the material I had made."
But when the email came through last month, with "congratulations" in the subject line, a sense of relief washed over her.
"I was just so relieved to feel the time I put in had been recognised."
On top of WOW, she has chosen to enter Edible again this year, with a different garment.
And this time around, she has her two youngest daughters involved making their own pieces.
"It kind of feels like we are doing this as a family."
The 2019 Edible Fashion Awards will be held on Saturday, from 7pm to 9pm at Peak Vision Church, 568 Te Mata Mangateretere Rd, Havelock North. For more information visit: http://ediblefashionawards.co.nz/