THREAD/S: A strand of cotton; slang for clothes; and/or a familiar theme or characteristic that ties a story together.
I lived with my thrifty grandmother growing up who repurposed everything. And an artistic mum who would give me the odd $5 at the Otara fleamarkets. I would fill kleensaks with old fur coats, frocks and cardigans. My fingers and toes wore rings and my arms jangled with bracelets up and down them.
It was the time of Madonna and Prince and Billy Idol and The Sex Pistols and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Cyndi Lauper and Culture Club. My mum would bring home the best record albums. That is a serious vinyl collection I'd give my hair for!
My mum God bless her was young. She wore high heel sneaker and short shorts. She had stilettos and minis. Heads turned. She dyed her hair purple and while other mums were baking, she went dancing and studied psychology. She was the first woman to be employed in the steel plant she worked in.
My childhood homes were cool. My grandparents lived in a seaside bach in Ahipara (Kakapo Street) on Te Oneroa A Tohe - the infamous Ninety Mile Beach in the far north of New Zealand. Beach for miles. Killer tides. Incredible fishing. I grew up on Snapper and tuatua fritters in beer batter. My grandad built our home and fitted it out himself.
My grandmother literally preserved and baked, knit and crocheted, sewed, recycled and repurposed everything. My clothes were originally cut down from hers or she'd take us thrifting in the op shops in Kaitaia. I never understood why the kids laughed at my shorts until I realised all the girls wore rompers (elasticated puffy pants) and I had boys rugby shorts. We had going to town clothes and home clothes. We found the city kids left behind clothes on the beach in summer and took home our finds and washed them.
We'd trash pick at the local tip. You could back then. No disposable nappies and everyone composted food scraps and burned a lot of waste. It was the 70's. We had retired grandparents who had three of us mokos to raise and my mum was a single parent. There was no shame. We loved it. I had so many found treasures and my grandad built me shelves to store my collections of books, thriftee high heels, playing cards, my shell and rock collections, and odd vases and random stuff. We were honest and we shared with everyone cos you just did back then. It was how a community and whanau survived. There was no 'mine' and me or I. It was 'ours' and we and us!
We lived in an original tiny home. Nothing was wasted. The gardens fed us. Grandad went fishing. He did cabinet making and fitted out our local marae. He sharpened everyones mowers and farm implements in his mega garage he built. In return, the locals would pay him with fish, half a side of beef or lamb (our kitchen would become a butchery). We had chickens for eggs and occasionally a roast. Mama baked sponges and pavlovas and made jams and pickles to sell at the fleamarkets in town.
My dream would one day be that we owned our own tiny/small home in a small town in New Zealand. Before we are too old. It's stupidly expensive and a waste of life to buy huge homes we spend our entire lives paying off. Most of us can't do it and tiny homes make sense to me anyway.
Our house with my mum in Auckland city was brand new. We had a black vinyl lounge suite I would give my teeth for and the wallpaper! Gold and black in the kitchen (my fave). Blue and yellow giant peacock feather patterned in the bathroom to match our yellow bath even! It was the shizz. I decorated my own room with posters of my music heroes. My mum was out there and it was pretty awesome. She did the best she could and I'm thankful for both my mum and my grandmothers influence.
Later in life, when I studied Visual Art at Whitireia Polytech in Porirua, I couldn't stay out of the textile and jewellery classes. I was a certificate student and drove the degree students and tutors nuts. Eventually I fandangled my way up into textiles but I was too out of the box. I had trouble towing the line and struggled writing my conceptual ideas before I created. It was a pain in the arse when it came to describing my ideas to my tutors. It hindered my learning. I just wanted to make stuff. I don't apologise. It takes courage to tread your own path.
I've since discovered that I'm an intuitive maker rather than a process oriented one. Maybe if I hadn't had so much going on in my life like 3 kids and an injury, I may have persevered and developed more discipline. There are times I sit at the sewing machine or get halfway through a project these and think "$h!t! this is why I needed to focus more back then!". I realised I couldn't play the game. I wasn't great at any one thing and I had family commitments and health issues. I knew I would have to finish my journey on my own and in my own time.
I've learned that I respond to things and right now my eyes are finding inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. I'm needing a project and I have a personal need for a better look that reflects me. I have time and I feel inspired to respond to my need. And maybe inspire a few people along the way.
My wardrobe looks tired and middle-aged much like me. I live in a different climate. It's hot here. Mid-30s in summer. Our coldest winter day on the Gold Coast is like a nice summer day in Wellington.
I'm keen to do a bit of stitching and making. I love handmade. Natural textiles, found or thrifted objects, handmade stuff. My legacy from the women I grew from. I have always loved Zambesi and Nom_d but my wallet doesn't match. I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe. It speaks of intention and making awesome choices. It also plays well to my real need for frugality. I have tutu (mischief) fingers. I like to play and try different things.
Having a family means I have an extremely modest budget. But we have screeds of op shops here on the Gold Coast (GC). I'll have to wade through miles of polycotton and lycra and resort wear help me God. We have online garage sale pages and Gumtree you beauty.
Leave a comment below so I know I'm not nuts and talking to myself. xo
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Welcome to my #ministryofhome
And finally, I found the following inspiration today. I love creative folk. We are so much richer for having internet access to artistic people globally. Meanwhile I'm eyeballing my cardigans because of hers and they are getting makeovers. I love cardigans. It's a nana thing!