Sunday, December 21, 2014

Artists Residency, Wharepuke Subtropical Gardens - Sept to Dec 2014 (Kerikeri, NZ) 

Completing a three month Artist Residency in Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, NZ after returning from New York in September.  Wharepuke is a beautiful subtropical garden, established by Robin Booth with many rare and unusual plants and home to many native birds. 

Kereru (Native Wood Pigeon)
Highlights were meeting a wonderful diversity of artists including Chris Booth (Sculptor), NorthTec Tutors Mark Graver (Printmaker), Richard Parker (Ceramic) and many more. Very inspiring

Kapok Fluff, Tree Fern , Pohutakawa,  Lichen Fibres, Kapok Seeds

Puiaki Tiki #2: Tiki, Korari, Driftwood and Magnolia

Monday, November 17, 2014

Muka Puiaki (Precious Treasure) - Northart Nov 2014

The subtle hues and textures of plant fibres are highlighted in a simple and practical little rourou/food container.  Harakeke/New Zealand Flax and fibres have been gathered during an artist residency at Wharepuke Sub-Tropical Gardens and combined with trinkets and treasures that have been squirrelled away.  

Each puiaki contains a silky coil of rolled flax fibre/muka, reflecting how precious this is to weavers.  Some retain the natural creamy hues of un-dyed fibre, others are coloured with natural dyes.  The brown tones of tanekaha (Phyllocladus trichomanoides) bark is traditional to New Zealand and was done using heated stones in a c. 

The non-traditional Indigo Blue is inspired by the natural dye workshops at MAD | Museum of Arts and Design with fibre artist and textile expert Isa Rodrigues that explored the use of creating natural dyes from plants local to New York City.

Available at Northart Pre-Christmas Show from 21st November to 19th December

Materials: Rourou/Food Basket - Harakeke/
New Zealand Flax (Phormium Tenax)  
Inner:  Muka/Flax Fibre (Phormium Tenax), Found Feather, 
Floss Silk Tree Fibre (Ceiba speciosa)) and 
Rush leaves (Chondropetalum tectorum)
Dimensions: 105 W x 105 L x 60 D mm

Materials: Rourou/Food Basket - Harakeke/New Zealand Flax (Phormium Tenax)  
Inner:  Muka/Flax Fibre (Phormium Tenax) - Indigo, Paua, Wheka Tree Fern Fibre (Dicksonia Squarosa) and Rush leaf (Chondropetalum tectorum)
Dimensions: 105 W x 105 L x 60 D mm

Materials: Rourou/Food Basket - Harakeke/New Zealand Flax (Phormium Tenax)
Inner:  Muka/Flax Fibre (Phormium Tenax) - natural, Glass Charm, Fruticose Lichen and Bracket Tree Fungus
Dimensions: 105 W x 105 L x 60 D mm

Materials: Rourou/Food Basket - Harakeke/New Zealand Flax (Phormium Tenax)  

Inner:  Muka/Flax Fibre (Phormium Tenax) - Tanekaha, Flax Flower Pod/Korari (Phormium Tenax), South Island Quartz, Bird's nest, Wheka Tree Fern Fibre (Dicksonia Squarosa)
Dimensions: 105 W x 105 L x 60 D mm

Materials: Rourou/Food Basket - Harakeke/New Zealand Flax (Phormium Tenax)
Inner Muka/Flax Fibre (Phormium Tenax) - dyed with Tanekaha bark,  Plastic Tiki, Wheka Tree Fern Fibre (Dicksonia Squarosa) and found leaf
Dimensions: 105 W x 105 L x 60 D mm

Traditional Umu

This little guy wasn't too impressed with my harvesting in his harakeke bush... 

For instructions on making a Rourou go to New Zealand National Library How to make a Rourou or Food Basket by Catherine Brown

For information on natural dyes visit  MAIWA The Organic Indigo Vat

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Piupiu Cross & Feather - Kerikeri 2014

Materials:  Piupiu (Dried/Rolled Phormium Tenax/NZ Flax)
Muka Fibre, Steel Mesh, Copper & Feather
Dimensions: 195mm (H) x 175mm (W) x 20mm (D) 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New York Bling - Aug 2014
A mix of graffiti art and New York fashion bling, built upon a traditional New Zealand textile.

The foundation is made from fine, silky muka (flax fibre) extracted from the NZ flax bush (Phormium Tenax) known as harakeke, using the traditional method of scraping the blade with a mussell shell.  The fibre is then rolled on the leg, a process called miro, to create the warp and weft elements. 

The fibre is next woven by hand into a ‘sampler’ panel using a finger weaving method developed by Māori to make garments called whatu aho rua (two-pair weft twining).   Decorative elements are steel mesh, feather and swarovski crystal.

Materials: Muka Fibre, Feather, Steel Mesh
Acrylic and Swarovski Crystal

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Modern Muka - July 2014

Polyurethane coated fibre from Italy and steel mesh are woven onto a traditional base of muka fibre.   The fibre has been woven by hand into a small ‘sampler’ panel using a traditional method developed by Māori to make garments called whatu aho rua (two-pair weft twining).

Materials: Muka Fibre, Jute, Steel Mesh
Polyurethane Coated Cotton

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Piupiu Necklace 

Piupiu is usually made from flax leaves that are carefully prepared with the muka or flax fibre exposed at one end for joining onto a band and in sections to create geometric patterns on the garment. The unscraped leaves curl naturally into tubes as they dry.   On this piece I have substituted copper detailing to create a pattern and added feather and crystal decorative details. 

Piupiu (Dried and Rolled Harakeke)
Copper Detail, Smoky Quartz and Feather

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Abundance - May 2014 (NZ)

This piece, titled Abundance, is based around a very traditional Kete Whakairo.  The kete is full of seeds, with bound pods suspended from the ceiling and framed by a carpet of dried korari (flower) pods.  

Materials: Harakeke, Muka fibre, Korari Pods, Korari Seeds, Riverstone and Hemp Rope
Basket Dimensions: 420 (W) x  150 (D) x 190 (H) 
Complete Dimensions: 720 (W) x 450 (D) x Ceiling (H)
Price: $1200

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scottish Muka - May 2014 (NZ)

Materials: Muka (NZ Flax Fibre)Korari (NZ Flax Flowers) and Hemp
Individual Dimensions: 210 (W) x  210 (D) mm
Complete Dimensions: 450 (H) x 420 (W) mm

The pattern on the hand rolled muka panels are based on a section of a Scottish Campbell Tartan - my heritage on my mother’s side.  One element of the tartan is identified by the double railroad track repeating across the weave.  

For the other panels, rather than discarding the harakeke (NZ Flax) flower stalks, I have attached single korari pods as an alternative to decorative feathers and secured them using a single pair twining to Hemp rope.

I have used a traditional whatu (finger weaving) construction on the muka panels with a simple method of finishing each row with an overhand knot that was seen on an old kaakahu (cloak) at a weaving hui (gathering) in Raglan.  

The introduction of wool following European settlement in New Zealand influenced Mäori weavers and the decorative technique seen on this early käkahu (cloak), where the thread has been looped to create images and letters, has been used to create the ‘weave’ of the tartan .

Käkahu with feathers and wool (cloak)
Unknown (weaver), 1860-1900, New Zealand
Courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Piupiu & Pua - May 2014 (NZ)

This small piupiu is made in the traditional method where the harakeke (NZ flax) is left to dry and curl into small hanging lengths while the exposed muka fibre at the other end is hand woven to join the strands together.  Copper binding has been used to create the pattern.

Materials: Harakeke, Hemp, Pua and Copper
Dimensions: 420 (W) x 170 (H)
Price: $475

Follow this link to see more about making a piupiu