Sunday, February 24, 2008

Artists big and small ...

What a week! I will write later but wanted to drop some photos here to give you an idea of what's been happening... Talk tomorrow. But it included small friends, Native Americans, exhibition openings, textile's at art school, and the opportunity to hang out with some of New Zealand's top artists. Enough, I need sleep. Sweet Dreams all.

Read on ...

The week started with my husband away for three days and my career as a single-mum began. Here is Harry, our friend in his corporate taxi, ready to whisk R away.

Here is Charlize, my friend's little daughter. We hung out at art school while mum was busy.
This is Agilau, one of my friends in my textile class. We are learning to free-motion embroider. I like it because it's FREE.
This is the sewing machine my mum helped purchase last year. It is a plain model but it sure does work a treat and is really basic to understand although my threads keep balling underneath. Just behind me to the right, is my threads box, a delicious concoction of metallic and plain threads that was part of the deal with my machine. If you are a thread head like me, you understand how thrilling this box is.
Here is a life drawing I did last year, I photocopied it, and using my machine, embroidered the pattern. It looks cool on the other side.

The following picture is part of the great picture that Leonardo Davinci did, where God and Adam supposedly touch. I hate it. I don't believe God is this impersonal. To me, His essence is in me, and flows through me. Not some stuffy shirt that is all stand-offish.
Below, I am playing around with 'hiapo' designs. These are Niuean patterns usually printed onto barkcloth. I love them. They tend to be botanically inclined and so the patterns are universal. Very bold and dramatic. I am not so good at the subtle stuff.
A close-up and excuse to play with my camera's settings.
A barbeque at my youngest son's school to meet the teachers.
A gallery opening at my work place. My family and I were next door at the skatepark, when Michael Tuffery passed by. Exciting because Michael is one of our leading Pacific Island / New Zealand artists. He is also humble as. Anyway he invited us into the opening and we got to meet a lot of the artists. I had my camera, but I didn't want to look like a dork taking photos. I wish I had. We saw a couple of Native Americans dressed in their full outfits including their eagle feathers. We also have some Australian aboriginal art and artists visiting too. It was a coup, and I am glad we went. The kids got a feed and I spoke with some of NZ's top Samoan talent to boot.
Here is Siliga Satoga and his lovely wife. His work rocks! He works with brands and rephrases things into Pacific-proud slogans.
I had the privilege to share a few basic weaving skills with Althea Wolf. Her and husband Jeremy were the couple dressed up the evening before. I kicked myself for not having taken their photo. It was awesome. We shared so much more than skills on Saturday including knowledge of our people, our lives and our heart for the future.
This is Phillip Charette ( - click on link to view more information about Phillip). A lovely, friendly man who missed his grandaughter and regaled us with tales of her pulling his hair. Below is a wee photo of his print as seen in the gallery. His work moved me. Perhaps it's because it is about his relationship with the land and the marks on the skin are like those created when the land is drawn at a cross section. It is reminiscent of Maori tamoko - the tattooing of men's faces. Faces in general and figurative work is powerful when it comes to indigenous arts, well for me anyways. Perhaps it's the familiarity of faces but painted with the different flavours of our cultures. He was too cute. We all headed out for drinks on Saturday night. See my husband wedged in the back between those big native guys. TheMan and I spent time talking with Jeremy and Althea about raising our kids up in their cultures. Jeremy, as well as being a print artist, is also the Fisheries officer for his people and we learned about salmon. You have to admire these guys and the sacrifices they make to retain their rich heritage. We both came home inspired and feeling the weight of responsibility of teaching our kids our culture. Althea holds a few woven gifts from me.

Master printer Frank Janzen (, head of the Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts and dear friend Josephina, hard at work during a three day intensive. I don't personally enjoy printijng but I did enjoy watching all these amazing artists at work in our workspace at Pataka. Althea and Jeremy present different folk with gifts, lovely beaded pieces. I took note of the little leather beaded medicine pouch.
They gave me long, long dangly red and white bead earrings, after seeing my crazy one long feather earring the night before. I love that feather and bead earring, it's my favourite. A cross and beads for my husband too. Being an artist is so exciting sometimes. It is common to trade works of art.
Jeremy presents a gift to Michael Tuffery.
This is Darcy Nicholas below, (, my boss, the head of Porirua City Art and Cultural department, and definitely a key man in contemporary Maori art in New Zealand. Because of Darcy's efforts, we (Maori, Porirua community and New Zealanders in general) enjoy close relationships with indigenous peoples from all around the world and a lot of art exchanges too. He is a quiet, humble man with a lot of heart - a good man from what I have seen. Actually most artists are really cool and normal, well the ones I've been fortunate to meet. The snobby folk are the people who hang around the art circle. Mind you, these also tend to be the 'spenders', those who can afford to buy art. But Darcy, and all the staff at Pataka are just plain cool. Darcy's efforts at the moment include collaborating with Native Americans 'Indian Markets' and together with the 'Maori Market' will be touring the States soon. This is where top art work is sold at phenomenal prices (one of Darcy's paintings was $70,000 at a recent exhibition). I'm glad though because these guys all give back so much to their communities, and I believe they also help retain history, and give the future a legacy. So how lucky am I to be part of this team! He calls me Rachel, but I don't care, he can call me whatever he likes.
And finally went off to church with my friend Wini and her daughters yesterday. In the afternoon we knitted, sewed and talked. Rachel is below, knitting up a storm after raiding my wool box. I finished covering my dairy with some lovely moss green felted wool and my shibori dyed silk and threads. Mmmmm. I been hugging it all day. Silk shines and the combo of soft, soft merino wool and lovely vintage silk is divine.

1 comment:

ArtPropelled said...

Such an interesting post, choc full of photos. Love the Niuean design....a lot! I'm intrigued by bark cloth.It sounds like a wonderful course you are doing at art school.