New Zealand Contemporary Textile Artists is an exhibition organised by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden and Arts Council Nelson showcasing the work of 15 NZ textile and fibre artists. It is part of the Knitting & Stitching Show which took place in London in October, is currently running in Dublin and will move to Harrogate, England later this month.
As part of my Manu Series I made three birds specially for this exhibition. All three birds are endemic to New Zealand and fall prey to introduced mammalian pests.
Raranga (Māori plaited weaving) and bobbin lace combine to form these sculptural pieces in which colour and pattern are inspired by the plumage and calls of the birds. The work also reflects the intricate weave of relationships in an ecosystem.
Volunteering at an ecological reserve, Sanctuary Mountain, Maungatautari, has brought me into closer contact with native birds and I was excited to see translocated Kokako released on the mountain recently. Their presence there for the first time in 30 years was marked by cultural a welcome and I was honoured to have my first woven Kokako play a part.
Kokako are rare forest birds with striking blue wattles, blue-grey plumage and a haunting song.
Kereru are relatively silent, large birds uttering the occasional coo but with a noisy wing-beat. They have a white breast, iridescent green and bronze head and back and orange-pink beak and feet.
Tui are relatively common iconic New Zealand birds with a melodic song interspersed with harsh clicks. With a distinctive white tuft on the throat, their black feathers are overlaid by an iridescent sheen.
Photos of the London exhibition can be seen on Alysn’s blog and here is one from Dublin showing the birds.