Medium: handwoven harakeke (NZ flax – phormium tenax), natural and dyed
My weaving journey with harakeke (NZ flax) began about 20 years ago at a Westland High weekend class. Since then I have gradually morphed from a maths teacher into a fibre artist with a deep passion for harakeke – both natural and dyed – as well as other plant fibres. I create woven art works for the wall, sculptural objects, baskets and kete, many of which have found new homes all over the world. I grow most of the materials I use in my work. My home and studio in Kaniere are set in a large garden and native bush; these surroundings feed and inspire my creativity. Visitors are welcome by appointment.
I feel so lucky and privileged to live on the West Coast/Te Tai o Poutini. I have woven an artwork to celebrate this amazing environment using the raranga technique with harakeke which grows everywhere. The orientation is like a slice from a map with different layers: sea/moana, coast/takitai, forest/ngahere, mountains/maunga, sky/rangi. The harakeke was grown in my garden and, apart from the coastal layer, was dyed in small batches to get the colours I wanted. The top and bottom edges have been deliberately left “unfinished” to represent the wild nature of this special place which is like a slice of paradise to me.
In early March 2020 I left home for seven weeks to visit family in NZ and Australia. But a week later I returned home due to the rapidly changing Covid-19 situation and soon the country was in lockdown. It took some time to get back into my fibre art. I just wanted to be in the garden or kitchen. I had some works ready to dispatch that had to be put on hold and others that needed to be created. Gradually, I got back into creating again and it was so good to be able to do this without interruptions from normal activities. Then I started getting a surge of enquiries through my website, far more than I have ever had, and this is continuing. I am busier and more inspired than ever!