Medium: 4-ply crochet cotton
I have always been an artist; painting, weaving, carving, jewellery making, fabric art, papermaking, printmaking – a jack of all trades and master of many. My best art, however, has always been with yarn, and it has been with me my whole life. From learning to crochet and knit at my grandmother’s hearth on the hill behind Cobden; creating knitted friends for myself as a child; clothing my and countless other children; customising homes, cars, caravans, baches, nooks and crannies, my needles tell the stories of my love for my craft, my Coast, my whānau.
I have recently discovered a new form of crochet thanks to an online community and my art now reflects not just my history but that of other nations as well. My passion for colour and expression are now expressed in new patterns but are still uniquely and distinctly my own.
The flowers of the fiesta celebrate the growth and development of my grandchildren. The colours are both a celebration of the life and joy of family and a nod to the many hues of my Coast upbringing. The interlinking of the patterns illustrates the interconnectedness of generations, locations and shared history.
The pattern is not my own but the work and the way I have expressed it is unique to my view of the world; shaped in no small part by my Coast roots.
This artwork is one of a series of pieces that I have created for family during the Covid period. The support and friendship I have gained through the online community of shared patterns and a love for yarn, patterns and fabric art have been a delight and an awakening for me, making me realise in this most isolated of times in our history that we are, in fact, never alone. And that our art, shared, brings us closer together with no boundaries of language, country or belief.
As artists, we tend to revel in solitude, but the imposed isolation of COVID -19 made me appreciate the freedoms we all take for granted.
Through social media and various online communities, I came to realise how incredibly fortunate we have been in New Zealand, and my art celebrates that with its joyful colour and playful patterns. And yet, at heart, my art is physical contact – the hug that I can send in the mail, the warmth around the shoulders that can be snuggled into, drifted away in, delighted in.
My art is both the product of long hours spent at home during lockdown and a tactile acknowledgement of the physical contact that we all need to survive and thrive, no matter what happens.