Saturday, March 22, 2008

Well hello there ...

And Happy Easter. I hope you didn't eat too much chocolate. Come along on my latest journeys...
Our beloved museum Te Papa is a main attraction and where I recently got to a backstage pass to visit our Maori artifacts. If you are coming to Wellington, this place is a must see. It is a great source of amusement and inspiration for my family and I. It also happens to be situated beside a great skatepark - bonus for my boys.

On my trip to Rotorua, I did a bit of thrift-shopping. Here are some old frilly hangers I picked up for 50c each. I figure being a textile artist, I will eventually have to hang some things up. So we don't call this 'shopping for fun', no way, this is sourcing supplies!
An adorable old sewing box I found at Trash Palace. It probably cost me 50c if that. Once again, this is not shopping, it is sourcing supplies.
The ugly plastic beads are great for shibori and the wee strainer will come in handy for my dyeing I am sure. A piece of ribbon and a gold fork. Total cost: $2. More supplies.
I lifted the compartments up in the sewing box and found: a Listers vintage wool label, a little photo of a baby, and about a dozen of these wee notes that say ...

"If you get your dishes dirty,

Wash them on this little skirty

Hang it on the tap

By the shoulder strap

Where it will dry quite dandy

And when needed will be handy."

... I love text, especially typewriter text. I have downloaded typewriter fonts just to get this old fashioned effect. Love it. Can anybody use this stuff? If you want it, you can have it. Let me know. It won't cost me much to stick it in an envelope and for those of you who love to collage, you may be able to do something great with it. Leave a comment and I will make contact via email for a postal address. Cheers.

Here are my lovely swan feathers from Lake Taupo. I am still cleaning my car out of stuff a week, including bolts, pumice, feathers, onion skins, etc. It doesn't help that I am filling up my car quicker than I can empty it.
I went to Lower Hutt's Dowse Art Gallery today. There is an exhibition on at the moment where this Japanese guy makes elaborate cut out dresses from paper. These life size models are made by students at Massey University.
Here are some small paper dolls made by some of the patrons of the gallery including a few little girls sitting around making paper dolls.
My real reason for being there today was this ... Craft 2.0. I saw my new crafty friend Carmen there today without her cronies from the Paekakariki Gems. She was selling her handmade crafty altered journals and books.
Another view of the fair.
This lady sold some cool stuff. All her own designs. I bought one of her wee screenprint toys which I will unstuff and turn into a cell phone holder. I loved all the stuff today that was authentic - there was a lot of repeated themes, but most of it was well made, quirky and each vendor was quite passionate about their work. Her website is . Go check her out
Plastic skulls, odd folk and pit bulls were some of the theme of this vendors stock. All made up as jewellery, cuff links etc. My husband liked this store the most. They had some cool little illustrations printed out for kids to colour in, I snapped up a few in my attempt to get my kids drawing more. I have really come to appreciate how important drawing is as a tool in making art despite the fact that my skills are still quite mediocre. Their site is
World Sweet World is a new publication set to bring the craft/art world in New Zealand up a new level. I enjoyed meeting these guys and love the whole concept. Somehow all the blogging, new publications, the new website "Felt" (also strongly represented today - found at which is our Kiwi version of Etsy), and the renewed interest in 'handmade' bodes well for those of us who love to create with a personal touch.
What a bargain for eight bucks ($8). After coveting overseas magazines, perhaps finally we can have a top class one right here in Aotearoa. Furthermore they are calling for contributors, so I might just have to dust off those journalism skills and select a few photos, and try my luck.
This is Sophie of Oceanic Design. She is an amazing jeweller and we had a neat chat. Her work included tiny round stones, cats eyes, pounamu (jade) and beach glass with stirling silver. (I love silver, I know I suit gold, but the magpie in me loves lovely shiny silver). Her finish on her work, set her apart somewhat and I thought each piece was impeccable. We shared stories and experiences. I spoke to my husband on the way home, I'd love a commissioned piece from her and her prices were reasonable, considering how much a simple generic gold and diamond ring would cost at a mass produced jewellers. Her work was earthy but I loved that it still had breathing space. Very very nice.

I encourage everyone to support their fellow artists, stay away from those mass-produced impersonal places, and get something made with a little more thought and integrity. It can sometimes even cost you less and you will be the owner of a wonderful heirloom. I wear four rings all the time, one big silver and amethyst sculptural piece my mother purchased in Sydney and gave me on my wedding day (which I wear on my wedding finger). Two silver and cubic zirconia rings, side by side, each cut slightly different, but large and quite dynamic. And a gold and diamond flat ring again another gift from my mum. The way I wear jewellery breaks all the rules, but I wear pieces I love and for the feelings they give me. Sometimes I wear my favourite Native American feather earring and I have a few iconic pieces gifted over the years, including a fantastic pair of hands made from a cut up Barbie doll and set in stirling silver. This was a thank you from one of the jewellery students at school. She made them especially, knowing I would be the only who would wear them, and she was right. They are sooooo cool!

I stumbled across the Williams Gallery in Petone by accident. We were driving past on our way for coffee when I spotted Michael Tuffery's work in the window. We pulled over, found a park and I was blown away by what I discovered. Ok, so I then discovered this is quite a famous art gallery on the New Zealand scene, but I walked in innocent and unaware only to be surrounded on all sides by paintings and prints by some of New Zealand's leading artists. I saw work by Don Binney, Richard Killeen, Ralph Hotere, Dick Frizzell and of course, Michael amongst others. I peeked out the back, in the framing room, and lo and behold, there were more canvases all over the wall. The man working back there invited us in to view them properly, and I just stood gobsmacked at all the wonderful wonderful paintings everywhere. I work in an art gallery but I was still really moved by all the amazing artists represented in these two rooms. I talked a bit with the owner (well, it was more gushing, but i couldn't help it, I was sooo impressed), who let me take her photo for my art book but wanted her privacy (hence no photo here). She is a real advocate for emerging artists in New Zealand, and judging by who is hanging in her gallery, is very successful too. I have a feeling the man busy behind the scenes was her husband. I purchased a catalogue for $10 but I swear, one day, I will own art like this in my own home. I don't care if I rent forever, I would rather spend money on art works. Sooo much more satisfying. And as I type that, I can hear all the business folk I know shout 'shame, that is so irresponsible' but I find some art works so profoundly moving. And one day soon, these works will be priceless. It's guaranteed.


I also popped into Trade Aid today and purchased some hemp string, a wee green basket for my supplies and a bar of Fair Trade chocolate for my boys. No Easter Eggs for us this year. It was cool to buy things from here and know that somehow I am able to give back with my money. What I really wanted was these funky pink slippers woven out of scraps. I will have to figure out how to make mine own.


Finally, the biggest news this week in our family is that both my sons can 'drop the bowl'. You know that big concrete bowl at the skatepark, well both my boys found a whole heap of courage and can drop straight into in on their skateboards. Not bad considering they have only been skateboarding since Xmas and that one of them is only FIVE years old. My husband deserves some praise, he is the patient one, sitting at the skatepark in the early hours, or late at night when it is deserted so that the boys can practice. Here is a photo of my youngest dropping off a big ramp. He is tiny compared to all the adults.

And here is their patient dad, hanging around in the cold while his boys practice. For safety reasons, we have to accompany the boys to the bowl as our area is known for its colourful and staunch residents. Mostly adults skate at this park, so my boys are quickly learning to get out of the way and watch their backs. Tonight the police put in an appearance. Apparently someone had been beaten. Yes, my city has a reputation for being 'rough and poor' but I love this place nonetheless. We are also very cool and very flavourful. It is never boring here, in spite of the gangs and social economic situation. I love Porirua and the geography has to make it one of the most beautiful harbour cities.
Here are a few snaps of class this week. Debs and I started working on some of my dyed textile pieces, altering and stitching them, transforming them into works of art. I think we all appreciate one-on-one time with our tutor, she is skilled and supportive. We all have different leanings and she is right there, supporting our preferences. In the background, my colleague and senior student, Billee works away. She is a prolific artist, ready to share her ideas and show her results. It makes a big difference for a newbie like me.
Here is some of my stitching, silk on linen. I like the way the stitches run off the piece so to speak. It is very organic and the overall affect is quite textural which I love. I love these muted colours, I am an earthy girl after all. No pink for me, well, unless its those Trade Aid cloth shoes.
Deb's layers some transparent dyed chiffon over my screenprints, stitches and then snips away the layers to reveal the print beneath. One piece looked too white, so I grabbed a teabag and smooshed it all over, there, perfect. If you dye anything, don't forget to heatset it with an iron. It has more chance of being colourfast then.
So there it is, my first post in a few days. Now I have to knuckle down and get my paperwork done. I have formative assessments coming up, and a pile of research and samples to compile into something resembling order and clarity. Ha, you should see the piles of stuff I am looking at, I am seriously doubting my chances, but I just need to get stuck in. I hesitated to start, trying to figure out a proper way to do my work, but I should have just got on with it, followed my instincts and done it my way. I won't hesitate like this again. So forgive me if I don't blog, but I have a week's holiday and need to focus on my work. I will post some photos when I finish. It's funny, I love blogging but sometimes feel guilty if I don't. Weird. Oh, and that photo I posted in the last post "10 more things I am grateful for", well I look miserable but I wasn't. I was actually quite happy with a handful of windfallen moss and some lovely twigs from the Redwood Forests. I don't smile in photos sometimes because my cheeks look real fat and I think I look like a geek, like a chubby buddha. Still, this photo didn't work like I wanted either. Go figure. Hahahahaha. I swear I was happy as that day! I hope you are well.

1 comment:

Jacky said...

Hi Ahipara, what a beautiful name, does it have a special meaning.
Love your silk stitched on linen, the colours blow me away. I lived in Porirua for several years and worked in the toll exchange in Wellington, there that gives my age away and how long ago it was. Porirua has sure changed since I lived there.g