“Godiva Awakes” was one of 12 regional public art commissions to celebrate the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Its aim was to showcase crafts and industries from across various UK regions. The Godiva project featured industries around Coventry, including chain makers of the Black Country, the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, computer gaming in Leamington Spa, glove making in Worcester, glass making in Stourbridge and more! For this, Zandra joined six artists from across the West Midlands to create and dress this magical lady.
Lady Godiva was and is an amazing project, and came with many challenges! Lady Godiva is a puppet standing at 3 ½ times human size. She is enormous! She is a beautiful gigantic mechanical woman who waves, blinks, and even more, can walk beautifully. She was powered by a small car specially made and manipulated by three puppeteers on her journey to London. One of her first walks was across Blackfriars Bridge, London, to lead the London Carnival at the end of the 2012 Olympics. Now she is resting within Coventry Cathedral until next year.
Zandra made her a very feminine, yet practical dress of semi-transparent “shot” polyester fabric (the warp and weft being two different colours and therefore giving a shimmering butterfly wing effect) so that her amazing mechanical body could be glimpsed and in keeping with the “Naked Legend”. Two forklifts were needed, one on either side of her body, to fit and dress her!
The students of Coventry University helped to hand-paint the godets (segments added into the skirt to make it flow), which depicted the local Coventry imagery – including the three spires of Coventry in shimmering gold! Another plus was that as the fabric was man-made, it proved to be perfect for the showery, rainy weather. The raindrops simply bounced off and were not absorbed!