Natalia's design wins Next GEN 2017 People's Choice Award

FAVOURITE: Ballarat Society of Artists vice-president Trudy Nicholson, president John Canham and Natalia Miller-Govan, with her Next GEN 2017 design.

FAVOURITE: Ballarat Society of Artists vice-president Trudy Nicholson, president John Canham and Natalia Miller-Govan, with her Next GEN 2017 design.

When Natalia Miller-Govan wanted to make a dress of cards in year 12, she went with a gambling theme – especially when it came to matters of the heart.

And she relied on the break-up experiences of some of her friends for inspiration.

“There are three different cards and they all represent a different stage of love,” Natalia said.

“It took a whole year to make and it is all hand-printed lino cards and they are all cut out. There are 535 on the dress now.

“Once we realised how the cards were going to sit, we tried to make it point out more. We choose red because hearts are red.”

However, the outfit was not without its challenges.

“It fell apart three times and it fell apart the week before it was due from the bottom so we had to glue it all back together.”

The former Loreto College student’s design recently won the Next GEN 2017 People’s Choice Award, with the exhibition currently on at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Next GEN 2017 showcases the work of Ballarat regional students who have just completed VCE studies in art, studio arts, design and technology, visual communication and design and media.

“I didn’t think I was going to get in so I was pretty nervous about it. To win was a really big shock; I was on the train to uni when my dad called me to tell me.

“A few of my friends came down and said it was amazing and took photos and put them on Instagram – I didn’t think it was that good until they said ‘nah, it is’.”

Natalia said she had loved fashion design since primary school.

“That is one of the main reasons I went to Loreto because I knew of their fashion program.

“I wanted to do something with fashion (for my project) so that is why I did it like that – it is sort of like a suit of armour.

“With my uni course I’m creating my own fashion label so that is what I want to do.”

Natalia has just started first year university at Billy Blue College of Design doing fashion.

Ballarat Society of Artists president John Canham said the exhibition was “our way of giving something back to promote art in our young community”.

“It is really nice this year that we have an award (winner) that is not two-dimensional. I don’t know if that reflects on the voting public or not, whether they are looking at art in the broader picture than just two dimensions,” Mr Canham said.

“It’s very important to showcase (young people’s) work. We have just been through a weekend of Begonia Festival, we had a couple of thousand children under the age of 10 painting umbrellas.

“It is very important for us to promote art in our young.”

Vice present Trudy Nicholson said the $300 award was great encouragement for young artists.

“It (the exhibition) is an insight into how clever the young is, and how they see things,” Ms Nicholson said.