Ten out of 17 creative Laois entries to the high profile Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture competition, have won a place in the regional final, to county wide celebrations.
Teams from Scoil Chríost Rí, Portlaoise, Mountmellick Community School and Mountrath Community School have all made it through to the South Regional Final, while two entries from Coláiste Iosagáin in Portarlington, 'Fountain of Knowledge' and 'Dragon's Lair', were not so lucky this year.
First to hear they wre through in Laois last Tuesday was the Mountrath CS trio of Patricia Lalor, Aimee Collier and Andrea Kirwan, who were surprised with a Silver Ticket at school by Paul Sheppard, Branch Manager, Bank of Ireland Mountrath.
The girls' entry 'Mother Nature' was inspired by the changing seasons and made from old Farmers Journals, buttons, moss and old window blinds. They had approached their art teacher Therese McGrath to ask about entering, and did all the work in their own free time.
The other nine had to wait until Tuesday evening when all 320 regional finalists were posted on the BOI students facebook page.
Art teacher Jayne Louise Kelly from Scoil Chriost Ri oversaw 10 entries, and is thrilled that eight made it.
They are: Metallicana by Ugochi Ohpara and Chanjana Ilangovan, Vior Viking by Ellen Delaney and Alyssa McCann, Daffodil Day by Rebecca Delaney, Kyna Conroy and Dawn Henness, Rising Tide by :Charlotte Wright, Lauryn Jane Conory and Clodagh O’Brien, Celtic Eclectic by Blathnaid Connolly, Sarah Bennett and Aoife Hyland-Conlan, Tea Soldiers by Rachel Daly, Aoife Daly and Elaine Daly, Moulin Rouge (left) by Samantha Hauberte and Valencia Kienge, modelled by Bethany Hayes, and GAAtsby by Tyrah Duff, Amy Fingleton and Sophie Delahunt.
It is the fifth year for Chriost Ri to take part, and in total seven outfits have made it to grand finals, with 'Pop Art' last year in the final top 12 in Ireland.
“My students have been working so hard since September on their unique and wonderful Kouture creations. Their commitment, enthusiasm, creativity and support towards each other has been inspiring. They are over the moon that so many of our teams have made it through to the Southern regional finals.
“I couldn't be more proud of all the girls involved, but it is bittersweet for our two who did not make it further, but they have succeeded in many other ways,” she said, thanking the principal Ms O' Donnell, vice principal Ms Campion and TY co-ordinater Ms Dollard and the school for their support.
Mountmellick Community School, in its second year of taking part in Junk Kouture, entered five stunning designs this year (see photos), but just one was selected.
Sports Warrior was created by Tiegan Dunne, Orla Delaney and Chloe Maher.
It was inspired by women in sports, and made from old footballs, studs and old sports equipment.
Coláiste Iosagáin in Port entered Junk Kouture for the first time this year.
'The Fountain of Knowledge' by Melissa Fox and Blathnaid Ryan, based on the idea that books as a source of knowledge are becoming outdated in favour of technology, is made of book pages, bubble wrap and Christmas decorations.
'Dragon's Lair' by Shannon Murphy, Carly Coughlan and Yazmin Connolly, is inspired by material greed in society, symbolised by a dragon and its horde of gold. It is made from jewellery, insulation sheeting, chicken wire and feathers.
“The students were delighted to be able to work on such an open and imaginative project. It is definitely something that we would like to continue to enter,” said teacher Caroline Kingston.
All the regional finalists must now choreograph a sixty second modelling of their outfits, for a catwalk performance at the Southern regional final on March 10 in the University of Limerick campus.
Twenty designs from each region will progress to the glamorous national final on April 14 in the 3Arena Dublin.
Bank of Ireland Junk Kouture is a national contest to encourage second level designers to create striking works of wearable art from everyday junk.
Judges include Louis Walsh and Una Healy, with a raft of prizes from €3,000 in cash to college scholarships.
The public can help entrants by voting daily from Monday February 20 at 9am until midnight February 24, click here.
Votes count for ten percent of the judges' final decisions.