Winter roundup

Between the weather and Covid, this is turning into a bit of a stay-at-home winter. It’s not that there aren’t exhibitions and other events on around the traps, but even masked, we’re hunkering down a bit. But if you’d like to pretend to go out, between now and the end of July, you can partake of the Threads symposium that the Dowse ran online on 18 June, after having had to reschedule because of the April surge. There are conversations with Reuben Patterson about rugs and glittery tshirts, Kate Sylvester and art, and presentations by many others. The perfect thing for the next wet weekend, which looks to be coming very soon, so take advantage of this opportunity with thanks to the Dowse for making it available online for an extended time.

On the subject of symposiums, the call for papers for the 2023 Costume Society of America symposium is open. Their 49th annual meeting and symposium will be in Salt Lake City next May, with the theme of Crossroads of Dress & Adornment: Creativity, Culture & Collaboration. If you’re looking ahead that far, check out their web page for all the options for a proposal and add that to your winter to-do list.

Something else that has recently found a new online home is the wonderful short documentary Pluck, which first turned up at the Doc Edge Film Festival in 2020 and is now available to stream via NZ On Screen. Pluck is the story of Jean Neshausen’s trip to the Rēkohu Chatham Islands to procure weka feathers for a korowai for her daughter.

If the staying in is getting to you, you might like to make plans for small-group things for upcoming months. Christchurch’s Rekindle offers a range of workshops including weaving and felting and other things, and as well as the in-person schedule, there’s a series of short films offering virtual workshop experiences, again with various textile options.

Meanwhile in Auckland, Ingrid Anderson will be running screen printing workshops over the next few months:

It’s also coming up film festival time, with the festival opening in Auckland 28 July before rolling out across the country. The most dress-addressing movies in this year’s programme look to be The Blue Caftan, “as impeccably crafted as the exquisite eponymous caftan tailored by its protagonist”, and The Corsage, a biopic about the 19th century Empress Elisabeth of Austria, “a woman who is restrained not just by her clothing, but by the expectations of society”. If the festival isn’t rolling out your way quite yet, keep an eye out for another couple of dress movies. The classic 1950s novel, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is back on the big screen, this time with Lesley Manville as the London cleaning lady who falls in love with a Dior dress, while A Stitch in Time is another Australian movie about a dressmaker that looks like a quiet treat for a wet day. will start you linking to your local screenings.

And one final thing, something not to do while you’re stuck at home – the washing! In a recent health discourse blog, Stella Lange extols the virtues of vodka:

Posted in Auckland, Christchurch, Classes, Craft, Dowse Art Museum, Festivals, Film, Lectures & Talks, Movies, Textiles, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This week’s CTANZ online: NZFM

CTANZ is back online on Wednesday 29 June, 7-8pm, with our friends from the New Zealand Fashion Museum, Doris de Pont (NZFM founder) and Philip Clarke (trustee) talking about the recent to fashion exhibition project (Doris), and the future vision for the museum (Philip).   

The to fashion project was developed to mark the 12th anniversary of the New Zealand Fashion Museum, the world’s first online fashion museum and New Zealand’s first virtual museum. It was an opportunity to review what has gone before and to create a future vision. To celebrate the museum stepped back and instead asked twelve individuals of diverse ages, sizes, ethnicities and genders that reflect the character and broad parameters of our contemporary society, to compose a ‘personal look’ that exemplifies how they fashion and present themselves within Aotearoa NZ’s contemporary culture. First exhibited during the Auckland arts festival, the exhibition is also online (as are all NZFM exhibitions).

The talk will be streamed on Wednesday and is live only. Our system for this is that members should have received an email with the Zoom link but if you’re not a member and are interested in the talk, please contact us for the link (before Wednesday 7pm).

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Online again: 1 June, A Lightbulb Moment

We’re getting in the groove with CTANZ online and suddenly it’s June and our next installment is coming up on Wednesday 1 June, 7pm. This time, we’re headed to Hawke’s Bay for some history, presented by Emerita Professor Kay Morris Matthews. Kay’s talk, A Lightbulb Moment: Integrating Cottage Industries within a New Zealand Women’s Movement, draws on the life of (Anna Elizabeth) Jerome Spencer (1872-1955) founder and leader of the New Zealand Women’s Institutes, and on a 2021 exhibition co-curated by Kay and Gail Pope, For Home and Country: Women’s Institutes in the Hawke’s Bay, MTG. 

Jerome (Bessie) Spencer was inspired by a visit to London in 1919, where the English Women’s Institute Exhibition of Crafts, showed her the potential for combining women’s arts and crafts with cottage industries. It would provide the pathway to her establishing the New Zealand Women’s Institute (WI) in 1921.

An accomplished spinner and weaver, Jerome Spencer taught and encouraged Institute women to produce rugs, cushions, curtains, furnishings as well as clothing items. Her exhibition of their work at the 1925 New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in Dunedin proved an effective recruitment exercise for the WI, and it became the largest women’s organisation in New Zealand.

As before, CTANZ members should have received an invitation to this talk by email, but if you’re not a member, but are interested in the talk, please contact us for the link (before 7pm on 1 June).

The series was started in part because of the Covid-enforced disruption to normal CTANZ activities. Our Traditions symposium was postponed until 2023; the new dates are 5-7 May.

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Igniting joy at Objectspace, one weekend only

From Wharenui Harikoa at Objectspace. Image supplied

If you’re in Auckland this weekend you could brighten up your life with a visit to Objectspace to check out Wharenui Harikoa, an installation of Lissy Robinson-Cole and Rudi Robinson’s crocheted sculptural forms. For the past eight years, the husband and wife have been expressing mātauranga Māori and their personal whakapapa in these bright neon creations in traditional hrough crocheted sculptural forms toi whakairo shapes. Their mahi “offers a new way of understanding the importance of joy and aroha within te aō Māori”. If joy and aroha aren’t your first reactions to these works, maybe they’re exactly what you need right now. 

Lissy Robinson-Cole (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu) and Rudi Robinson (Ngāti Paoa, Ngaruahine, Ngāti Makirangi, Ngāti Tu) use “the magic of the crochet hook” to ‘infuse and connect whakapapa (geneaology), wairua (spirit) and experiences as Māori and Pakeha into their unique mahi toi (art works)’.

“As Indigenous people we are in the stream of our wairua being carried by our Tūpuna in a way that is connecting us together and to our world around us. We invite you on our journey of creating Wharenui Harikoa (House of Joy) in which we welcome you to enter, to share breath, life, colour, vibrancy, hope, joy but mostly aroha (love).”

The Objectspace exhibition for this weekend only (26-28 May), this weekend only, comprises pieces to date in the evolution of Wharenui Harikoa, the House of Joy. This is planned as an almost full scale whare, featuring a number of poupou, tekoteko, tukutuku panels and adorned pou tokomanawa. For this stage of the journey, Lissy and Rudi will be sharing the kaupapa on Friday 27 May, 2pm; the programme also includes a dance event on Friday, and a beginners’ knitting and crochet workshop on Saturday 28 May (11am-12.30pm). Although this incarnation is brief, it’s just a beginning. Wharenui Harikoa will also be shown at the Dowse later this year, with the full whare to be launched at Matariki 2023, after which it will tour nationally.

Wharenui Harikoa is a special event ahead of the Queen’s Birthday weekend opening of Objectspace’s winter season which includes a new exhibition of work by weaver Christopher Duncan, More than Castles (4 June – 21 August), a selection from a recent body of flat-weave rugs: (This work was shown last year at The National in Christchurch, which has one more week of Julia Holderness’s wonderful The Studio, a mixed-media recreation of a part-historic, part-imagined, group of mid-20th century women artists.)

Posted in Artists, Auckland, Christchurch, Craft, crochet and knitting, Exhibitions, Lectures & Talks, Maori, Objectspace, sculpture | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The week in textile news

Dressed cover

Breaking: huge congratulations to Claire Regnault for winning the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction with Dressed (Te Papa Press). Claire’s award was announced on 11 May at the Ockham Book Awards. Very well-deserved. For a delicious review, check out Sam Brooks on The Spinoff.

In other news, the artists are back in the museums. In Dunedin on Sunday 15 May, 2pm, at Otago Museum, Michele Beevors will talk about the art and craft of creating the life-size knitted wildlife on display in Anatomy Lessons. In Whanganui, also on Sunday, at 3pm, Annie Mackenzie will be at the Sarjeant, chatting with curator Greg Donson about her exhibition Genuine Article. She will also be running a drop-spindle workshop, but that’s booked out. However, this workshop is in association with Christchurch-based Rekindle who run a wide range of workshops including weaving with wool or various local materials, fabric printing, felting, and darning and jogakbo with Steven Park. Check out the Rekindle website if you’re in Christchurch or heading that way, it looks like a fun way to spend an afternoon:

Genuine Article at Sarjeant Art Gallery, Whanganui. Image supplied.

There’s a link between Rekindle and today’s final story: Steven Junil Park is of course one of the artists exhibited in She Shed: Contemporary Wool Craft at the Petone Settlers Museum, curated so beautifully by Bronwyn Lloyd. Though in Petone she was a curator, Bronwyn is herself an artist, and her needlepoint can be seen until 12 June at the McCahon House in Titirangi in The Search Party. Bronwyn’s work comprises 28 small wearable charms inspired by the longlost Woven Kauri created in 1954 by McCahon and Ilse von Randow, displayed on another woven work, by Kathryn Tsui. It’s a great story, as outlined by Julia Waite in the Nine to Noon arts segment on 11 May:

Posted in Auckland, Awards, Books, Christchurch, Classes, CTANZ people, Dunedin, Exhibitions, Fashion, History, knitting, Lectures & Talks, Local events, Textiles, Weaving, Whanganui | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Online and onscreen

The planned CTANZ online series is rolling along, with the next installment this week already: Tuesday 10 May 7-8pm, Imogen Stockwell, curator of  Maritza Boutique: Ōamaru – London, will talk about the exhibition at the Forrester Gallery until 3 July. The gallery’s site and these Otago Daily Times articles will whet your appetite for this presentation: contact us if you need the Zoom address.

Maija Isola, Master of Colour and Form, image supplied

That’s the at-home viewing for this week, but this is also your heads-up about other opportunities to check out fashion and textiles coming to big screens near many of us very shortly. It’s time again for the annual Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival. Now showing in Auckland but coming too to Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Havelock North, the design side of this year’s lineup includes the late addition of Quant (for those of us who didn’t get to Auckland for the exhibition) and Finnish style with Maija Isola, Master of Colour and Form, on the career of the creator of Marimekko’s signature Unikko design.

Also coming to cinemas this month and later in the year are two films featuring Dior. The first of these is the contemporary Haute Couture, scheduled for later in May. The other is a new adaptation of Paul Gallico’s gorgeous novel, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, with Lesley Manville as Mrs Harris – no dates currently available.

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CTANZ goes online

She Shed at Petone Settlers Museum

So we’re not, this year, descending on Waitaki for the CTANZ symposium., which is doubly disappointing because whether you came down from Christchurch or up from Dunedin to converge on Ōamaru, you’d have found exhibitions to check out on the way: in Dunedin, wedding dresses and giant knitted animal skeletons; in Ashburton from 7 May, Gift, co-curated by Natalie Smith and Victoria Bell. And of course,what’s on in Ōamaru – about which more below. But we did say we’d be looking at ways of sharing some of the highlights of the year and are very pleased to have confirmed more details.

CTANZ went online in March with an enthusiastic and engaged audience Zooming in for Eden Hore trustees Jane Malthus and Claire Regnault sharing their extensive knowledge of the collection’s origins and plans for its future. There was also more detail on the recent Dowse exhibition which has introduced the story to a wider audience. (Most recently, on Newsroom:

Caroline McQuarrie_Woollens and Worsteds (detail) Image supplied

We’re back on Zoom Wednesday 4 May, 7-8pm, when Auckland writer, crafter and collector Dr Bronwyn Lloyd will talk about She Shed: Contemporary Wool Craft, on at the Petone Settlers Museum Te Whare Whaka.aro o Pito-one until October. Bronwyn spent part of last year as the 2021 Blumhardt Curator putting together this exhibition, which presents her “dream space of wool craft, featuring the work of seven contemporary makers: Vita Cochran, Lizzy Leckie, Caroline McQuarrie, Rona Ngahuia Osborne, Steven Park, Daegan Wells, and Georgina May Young”. Members will have received an invitation by email, non-members can contact us via the website to get the Zoom link.

On Tuesday 10 May, we’ll Zoom from Ōamaru, with an online floor talk by Imogen Stockwell on the Maritza Boutique | Ōamaru – London exhibition occupying the Forrester’s main gallery from now until 3 July.

There will also be two sessions in June: on Wednesday 1 June, Kay Morris will talk about Women’s Institutes and the For Home and Country exhibition at MTG Hawke’s Bay; while Wednesday 29 June will be Doris de Pont on the latest New Zealand Fashion Museum exhibition and what’s happening with the museum. If you’re on the membership email list, you’ll receive more information in your inbox, otherwise get in touch.

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A miscellany of embroidery, competitions, dresses and more

Anna Crichton, Lost Identity (Gold 2) Photo supplied

The textile and dress exhibitions keep on coming with several around the country in the next couple of months and more to come. (Pardon the cliche, but watch this space.) Thanks to those of you who have sent in details of what your organisation or gallery is hosting.

Anna Crichton, Our Land Our Mother. Photo supplied

In Auckland, there’s a bit of time left to get to Newmarket’s Railway Street Studios to see Anna Crichton’s Mother India – Embroidered Tales March/April 2022. Crichton’s hand stitched and beaded embroideries and wood prints reflect her experience working with local craftspeople during a 2018 residency in Varanesi and her response to social issues in rural India. The exhibition closes 5 April, with an artist talk on Saturday 2 April, 1pm.

Meanwhile, from 2 April, Objectspace’s courtyard plinth will feature Lapping at Your Door, ‘an outdoor installation incorporating her signature fabric banners’, architecture and canvas in tandem with a nod to 1920s architect and designer Eileen Gray. Plenty of time to see this one, it’s up for the next year.

Taranaki: Over the past couple of years, Areez Katki has been establishing a reputation as one of the big names of local textiles with his precise embroideries reflecting on ‘family memories, domesticity and sexuality’, and his Persian-Zoroastrian culture. At the Govett-Brewster in New Plymouth, his work is being exhibited with Khadim Ali’s collaborative, large-scale works made with women in Afghanistan, as discussed with RNZ recently. There is No Other Home But This runs until mid-June – great pictures on the Govett-Brewster website.

Further south again, Nelson audiences have a month to view the works in the annual Changing Threads Contemporary NZ Textile Fibre Art Awards. This is the twelfth year the Arts Council Nelson has presented this showcase for fibre artists to broadly explore the medium; this year nearly 130 artists entered, with 49 works being selected for exhibition.

You can check out the award winners and exhibition videos on the Changing Threads website:

Nelson’s arts community is currently offering another textile-related award, this time in association with Broadgreen Historic House’s Secret Lies Lives of Dresses exhibition. This exhibition features garments with no provenance, so the organisers have selected a couple of particularly charming 1950s frocks and invite writers to configure a provenance for them. The generous and imaginative prize packages include cash, book vouchers, and something textile-related, and the competition’s being judged by Anne Kennedy, author of, among other things, The Last Days of the National Costume (2013), and Rachael King. Competition closes on 30 April, the details are here:

Finally, Dunedin’s at it again too. At Blue Oyster art project space, Zoe Thompson-Moore’s french knitting snakes through the gallery as part of the Idle Hands exhibition until 16 April; while Toitu has just opened a new exhibition of that perennial favourite, the wedding dress (and suits). The Big Day puts the spotlight on some of the dresses and images in its collection to offer a snapshot of Otago nuptials since the mid-19th century.

The Toitu exhibition is one of several exhibitions in the south that we’ll be featuring online, conscious as we are that several of them would have been handy for those travelling to Oamaru if the symposium had gone ahead. But more on that in the next post. Meanwhile, if you have a dress or fibre exhibition that you’d like to reach a wider audience,we’re always keen to hear about things to add to the next wrap-up.

Posted in Artists, Auckland, Awards, Competitions, Dunedin, Embroidery, Emma Fitts, Exhibitions, Nelson, Textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Style from the south

The curatorial team admire a Vinka Lucas gown.

Textile tourism has suffered during the first bit of this year, and many of us are back to the armchair for viewing and reading. So CTANZ is pleased to announce a new initiative bringing textiles to you, with an upcoming Zoom talk on the Eden Hore collection by CTANZ members Claire Regnault and Dr Jane Malthus. Claire and Jane have been part of the Eden Hore Central Otago steering group since it was formed in 2017, and their connections with the collection go back even further. We invite members and other interested parties to join Jane and Claire for a conversation about the steering group and its aims, and the past, present and future of the collection. The livestream-only talk is on Wednesday 23 March, 7pm, and details have been mailed to members but if you’re not a member and are interested, contact us (please note that this mailbox is checked every couple of days so you may not get an immediate answer).

Berkahn.jpeg Evening dress by Kevin Berkahn, 1973

Eden Hore’s name is well known in the dress community of Aotearoa New Zealand. Some CTANZ symposium attendees may recall a field trip out Naseby way, early in the century, where the farmer’s designer apparel took pride of place among various other eclectic collections he’d amassed over several decades. In only a few years, the wardrobe had outgrown the house, and in 1975 he converted an old implement shed into a museum to show off the outfits, many of which had graced fashion competitions and catwalks of the era. There’s a lot to make eyes pop about many of these garments from Aotearoa New Zealand’s top designers: Vinka Lucas, Kevin Berkahn, Maritza Tschepp, and many others: volume, colour, detail. The bulk of the collection is high-end, high glamour, outfits that would have had very few opportunities for a post-occasion afterlife.

Eden Hore 14.jpeg Vision of an eccentric angel by Maritza Tschepp, photographed by Derek Henderson at St Bathans, 2019.

When Eden Hore died in 1997, his nephew John Steele took on the stewardship of the collection for another decade or so. Those of us who got to see it in situ were privileged to appreciate in in its original context, but when the Steeles retired from running the farm, they gave the Central Otago District Council first refusal on the collection so it could remain intact and in the Maniototo. Despite concerns about ongoing costs and where and how to display the garments, the council spent $40,000 on the acquisition and has since then worked on the answer to the second part of the question.

Since 2017, this has meant establishing a steering group of fashion experts and community members, a formal partnership with Te Papa and a charitable trust. Alongside this, there’s been work on cataloguing and caring for the collection, and developing ways to share the stories of the garments.

Berkahn Lucas.jpeg Evenign dresses by Kevin Berkahn and Vinka Lucas

More recently, several of the garments got a modern high country fashion shoot; these images, by renowned photographer Derek Henderson make up part of the exhibition of 25 garments that’s been at the Dowse since December. Presented in partnership with Te Papa and the Central Otago District Council, Eden Hore: High Country / High Fashion is likely the first time these clothes have left the South Island for a long time (Eden used to take them on tour for shows and events). There’s a website now too, telling both of the key stories: the collector and the clothes. It’s all just a beginning, a way of bringing the elements of this unique collection out from behind the glass in a former tractor shed – though that too is part of their story – in all their splendour.

The Dowse exhibition, curated by Te Papa senior curator and Eden Hore trustee Claire Regnault, exhibition concept design by Josephine Hughes closes on 20 March.

Posted in Collections, CTANZ people, Dowse Art Museum, Exhibitions, Fashion, Photography, Talks, Textiles, Wellington | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wellington goes big on textiles to counter:

Existential Doom by Fiona Jack. Photo Cheska Brown, image courtesy of Page Galleries.

Once more, Covid has arrived right at arts festival season, but one part of the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts that is largely proceeding is its visual arts component. A few years ago, this side of the festival went for a theme: first ceramics, then portraiture, and now, ta-da, textiles, presented as the Threads Festival. And it looks to be a ripper, with dealer galleries and popups in retail hosting a delicious range of work from the country’s hottest textile talent.

Areez Katki, Udvada 2018, courtesy of Tarq Mumbai

There’s Areez Katki at McLeavey Gallery. Jhana Millers is winding down after a month of Erica van Zon and Caroline McQuarrie. Cora-Allan Wickliffe’s hiapo is gracing Bartley & Company Art. Page Galleries is showing Heidi Brickell, Vita Cochran, Finn Ferrier, Serene Hodgman, Fiona Jack and Kathryn Tsui. At Bowen Galleries, Terri Te Tau and Matthew McIntyre Wilson. And then some. Around the shops, you’ll find Arielle Walker at Twenty Seven Names and Josephine Cachemaille at The Service Depot.

Most of these exhibitions are short-run, and will end with the three days of the Threads Festival, as does the Eden Hore exhibition at the Dowse, wrapping up 20 March. Sadly, the programme of public talks has been curtailed, which includes a final curator’s talk for Eden Hore. But some will be back: the one day symposium which was initially moved online has merely been put on hold until a later date. (“We have no intention of cancelling this event and will be back with a new date soon”: fighting talk.)

She Shed at Petone Settlers Museum

And as one door closes at the Dowse, the Petone Settlers Museum opens She Shed: Contemporary Wool Craft, 2021 Blumhardt curator, Dr Bronwyn Lloyd’s “dream space of wool craft”. This one includes work by seven contemporary craft makers whose work is noted for its base of traditional craft skills: Vita Cochran, Lizzy Leckie, Caroline McQuarrie, Rona Ngahuia Osborne, Steven Junil Park, Daegan Wells, and Georgina May Young. As this exhibition runs until October, there will be more events associated with it, once events are back on track. Keep an eye on the Dowse website for updates.

If you’re in Wellington and get the chance, check out some of these exhibitions; if not, do visit their website, because the organisers of this festival have done a wonderful job highlighting just how much talent there is in this medium at the moment.

And for an artist interview, Standing Room Only talks to Kathryn Tsui about her work in the festival:

Posted in Artists, Craft, CTANZ people, Dowse Art Museum, Embroidery, Exhibitions, Festivals, Textiles, Wellington, wool | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment