Monday, January 30, 2012

Intentions for 2012

It's a new year and this week is especially busy as the kids are headed back to school. I love summer holidays. Eight weeks (December-January) to kick back and enjoy my family, being together, dates with my husband, sleeping in, reading copious amounts of happy romantic fiction, beach time, and hanging out with friends. 

This year I'm pretty loose about my plans. Being a mum is my first focus. I can't do much else with these awesome three boys practically filling my head and heart and days.  My youngest is off to kindy this year and by the second term, I'll be free to look at 'what's next'. 

I had a prayerful time over the break and felt that this year its important to continue to 'do the small things well'. I'm by nature, ambitious and its easy for me to become unhappy because of nature of work that comes as a full-time parent. You know, lots of mundane day-in day-out stuff. Felt very confused the last few years because my desire to become 'something' was undone by my inability to do lots of things well. So this years its 'keep it simple' and make sure that I'm doing things that really matter instead of just responding to my nature or other peoples expectations. 

One of those small things is keeping my inner workings ok. Mind, spirit body. My own personal daily devotional life is a rich one and I love that first hour when I've got a great coffee and my bible, spending time listening to God. I love the peace and centredness that comes from just hanging out with God. It's all about relationship for me with my heavenly Father. It makes me a better woman, mother, wife and friend. 

I have a workshop next week, go HERE for more information. Becoming a workshop tutor is new for me. I love making and I love sharing with others the joy of making. Does one have to be incredibly organised or is random ok? I hope so. I want to encourage others to help them find their own flavour. I don't just want to make beautiful things visually, but hopefully impart the ability to create meaningful narratives as well. Already I have a couple of workshops ready to roll out for Christmas, my favourite time of year. I love handmade Christmas decorations, and for the past several years have organised a swap with fellow makers. 

With more time on my hands, its my aim to establish an online shop as well, as I get asked if I'm selling things that I make. I'm looking forward to spending more time on this blog too because I love writing. Designing and developing new 'makes' will also be on the agenda. 

Community work is on the agenda too with the possibility of a parenting programme here in Porirua. I've started a women's group for prayer and encouragement a couple of weeks ago. So many single parents doing it hard. We've got to work towards solutions for them. I salute their efforts.

In the meantime, here are a few pics I snapped from around my home on my new phone. Smartphones are great and hopefully with Google synching all their programmes, it should become easier all round for me. I'm so not technical. Have a great week. xxx

 Thrifty finds. Blue willow china, a silver flower holder, pale blue handmade cups and a spotty saucer.
 Thrifty find. This praying lady. I enjoy vintage religious pictures. A little tacky but they have great appeal.
 Thrifted. This beautiful chunky knit fellow in lovely muted tones was FREE!
 Thrifted. The wooden letters and brown bottle. The green vase from a friend. The flowers from our garden. 
 Thrifted. The typewriter. I think I own five of them. This one cost me $5, its metallic and totes vintage. 
 My xmas tree. I had three of them. Handmade and gifted decorations. I tend to be heavy handed and decorate them to the max! I adore xmas. I had three trees this year. Just small ones. All with a different theme. I've already started next years decotations.
My favourite painting 'hiapo' by Naomi Chase. I love this hiapo. Now I own two. This one and the one inked on my arm. Looking forward to getting more ink this year. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tribal Banner Workshop

Happy New Year. There's been lots of wonderful things happening. We are all tanned and have enjoyed our few months of sunshine, trying to store lots of good memories before the cold weather sets in again. I love to batton down the hatches for two months (Dec-Jan) so I can solely focus on my family. We spent this year at home truly resting and spending time with friends. We feel refreshed. I always love this season most of all. Its like we get back to what is truly important. Spending time together, talking, hanging out, sleeping enough, eating lots of yummy things.
I've enjoyed spending time with my dear friend Shelly and her family who are creating their own home from mostly recycled things. It was a real treat to visit the new house for Christmas dinner. (Click on her name to go have a peek around).
A bit of good news is that Melissa has moved to Wellington. She is a real inspiration and her blog Tiny Happy is one of my all time favourites. She has already discovered Asia Gallery and its inspiring to see what she has made from old kimono.
After a great break over Christmas , I turned my creative energy towards creating a tribal banner for a workshop to be held in a couple of weeks at Pataka. It has a distinctive Polynesian ethnic feel with a bit of nana in there. I'm hoping we can create a bit of a stitching circle because I love the sharing that people do when we are all stitching by hand.
I used:
some old black kimono fabric from my favourite shop Asia Gallery;
plain unbleached calico as a base;
some of my wedding siapo (tapa bark cloth);
buttons I've found with the kids on our beach walks;
a doiley and an old wool blanket that I thrifted;
and vintage styled Pacific cotton fabric as used in e'lavalava.
Techniques include woodblock printing, applique, handstitching, embroidery, freehand designs, etc.
The whole banner is based on identity. I used the siapo because it reminds me of my Pacific roots and my extended Pacific Island family. Its also my wedding siapo but it got damaged several years ago. Its nice to find a new way to incorporate this unique handmade gift.
A 'karanga' is the call sent out by a woman who stands at the front of the marae calling the manuhiri (visitors) onto the marae. It serves to welcome establish identity of both the turangawaewae (the land) and the tangata whenua (people of the land) and those coming onto the marae. It is the initial part of a formal process where two people become one, a simplistic definition if ever I heard one.
I imagined this hanging where visitors can see it in our home, with visual symbols of our tribal, ethnic and cultural background. Likewise other cultures can use whatever textiles they identify with. The underlying concept was that in our home, once people cross the threshold, they are no longer visitors but become 'whanau' (family). We become one people with both the rights and the responsibilities that entails.

Of the two I made, this one is more tribal as it features Niuean symbols. My husband and my children are Niuean, and hiapo designs appear in my work regularly.

The village where my husband's father originated from.

A design that appears on both my hand tattoo and in hiapo.

This second banner is more generic with less reference to Niue and hiapo. Instead there are elements of my grandmother there. The doiley represents her love for crochet which I have picked up in the last five years. I adore crochet circles and stones.

I enjoy the methodical process of handstitching and embroidery.

The 'cross' symbolises my faith and also love, in the form of kisses above.

The buttons are found from walks along my beach with my sons. It was fun to have a project to embellish with buttons without it feeling twee.

Hand block printed with a pop of red running stitch. I enjoyed this clean colour palette. The handblocks come from Trade Aid and with their particularly tribal designs handcarved, its been fun to use them in this project.

The yellow floral explosion of colour from the Pacific e'lavalava fabric on the reverse.

I'm looking forward to new challenges this year both as a mother with all three children in school and kindy now, as well as a being a creative. I also welcome the opportunity to contribute back into my community. If you are interested in a workshop, feel free to contact me in the comments section.

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