Sunday, November 15, 2009

50th Annual NOGI Awards Gala Dress

On November 5, 2009, I was honored to attend the 50th Annual NOGI Awards Gala in Orlando, Florida.

Dating back to the 1950's, The NOGI is the oldest and most prestigious award in diving. An acronym for "New Orleans Grand Isle Fishing Tournament", which had an underwater division, and where the original statuette was bestowed upon its winners. Originally carved of balsa wood, then cast of polywood, in 2005, the statuette was updated by Wyland, and now is cast of lucite in molds of his making.

In 1993, The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (AUAS) was incorporated by the recipients of the past 33 years, and with ongoing sanction and support from the Underwater Society of America, the AUAS administers the NOGI, which each year is awarded to 4 individuals who have made a global impact on the exploration, enjoyment, safety, and preservation of the underwater world, and have distinguished themselves therefor in Arts, Science, Sports and Education and Service. My husband, Master Fin Designer and Underwater Photograph, Bob Evans (NOGI, Sports and Education, 2005) is the current President of the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, and as such hosts its black tie Gala Awards ceremony. This gives me the opportunity to stretch my sewing ability and make a new gown annually.

What makes this endeavor extra fun is that Martha Watkins Gilkes, President of the Women Divers' Hall of Fame and proprietor of Fantasea Island Divers Scuba in Antigua, sharpens her needles and makes a gown as well. Our annual creation have become a friendly contest of sorts. I have to say, Martha took the night this year! I had anticipated this as much when she called me early in the year to inquire whether the mother of pearl shells completely covering the piece of Chanel couture fabric she found might have been harvested. If so, their impact on the ocean would be adverse, and it would not be appropriate to wear, particularly at this event. It took a bit of digging, but what she and we found is that the shells are harvested from California abalone farms - not far from Fine Fabrics store location!