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: https://www.rekindle.org.nz/collections/resourceful-workshops.
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 inThe 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: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018841496/arts-commentator-julia-waite.
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.
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.
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: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/fashion-maven-of-the-maniototo.)
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.
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.
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.
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: https://www.secretlivesshortstorycomp.nz/
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
There seems to be no end to the number of textile and dress exhibitions around at the moment. The biggies – Quant, Eden Hore – are winding down but there’s also a lot that’s in the small /perfectly formed basket during March, not counting the Threads festival, which is a story in itself (coming soon). Although most exhibition spaces are still opening, there have been constraints on staffing and travel which means that some of these won’t get the foot traffic they deserve. So here’s a look at some of the other, get-in-quick textile / style shows that will make you smile.
There might be time to get to Whanganui’s Serjeant Art Gallery, Annie Mackenzie’s post-Tylee Residency exhibition, is running Genuine Article 12 February – 22 May. The Tylee residency has been running since 1986, and Granity-based Mackenzie was one of the 2019 residents responding to their surroundings. Her work during the residency features new weaving works inspired by the paintings of Edith Collier and Joanna Margaret Paul, and the Whanganui Woollen Mills. Collier and Paul both depicted textiles in their painting; Genuine Article displays Mackenzie’s textiles alongside the work it’s responding to. The Serjeant collection was one inspiration, the woollen mills another, and through Whanganui Regional Museum, Mackenzie researched the history of what had once been New Zealand’s biggest such mill, which had closed in 1995. The exhibition includes archival photographs of plant and from the mill’s catalogues.
Shorter run exhibitions are also currently on in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. In Dunedin until 18 March, Olga Gallery offers B-Sides, Rarities and Treasures from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Car Park, a collection of Jay Hutchinson’s trademark fastidious embroidered versions of litter and graffiti. In Christchurch, the Physics Room’s new show is Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫, 12 March – 30 April. Wai Ching Chan and Tessa Ma’auga ‘remake the four pillars of heaven using harakeke, silk, manila rope, wool, mop string, mulberry paper and pearls’.
Wellingtonians and visitors have until the end of March to get to Enjoy for Hanna Shim’s Wishing you well, large scale soft sculptures, which was featured in February’s RNZ Nine to Noon arts roundup as a source of cheer. RNZ has also done its bit for the latest New Zealand Fashion Museum’s latest exhibition (10 – 27 March 2022, The Pavilions Britomart, Auckland Arts Festival), with Doris de Pont talking to Kim Hill about how fashion is also a verb, as shown in to fashion a series of full size portraits by award-winning Samoan/New Zealand photographer Edith Amituanai. (The images and accompanying videos are also available on the NZFM website.)
Like many organisations, CTANZ has had to deal with some unravelling over the past couple of years. In 2021, the Auckland symposium Vision: Hindsight, Foresight, Insight at AUT University 30 April-2 May, delayed from 2020, was a real bright spot for the year, and it was pleasing to see so many new presenters among the familiar faces. We left Auckland excited about the prospect of the next symposium in Oamaru, and are disappointed to be again postponing for a year. There’s too much uncertainty at present for many people to be able to book even as far ahead as May, but given the appeal of the destination and programme, deferring for a year was the option that would do it justice.
So Tradition is now rescheduled for 2023, dates to be confirmed a bit further down the track, and instead of celebrating our 20th birthday at the symposium, we’ll be having an old-school 21st instead. We’ve advised members and presenters by email, and hope that as with Auckland, the programme will be able to run as already configured, just a year later.
In lieu of a symposium this year the committee is in the process of organising some smaller events, via Zoom, to connect us all and to showcase the work being done by our members. There are some very interesting possibilities here; please keep an eye on your inbox for details coming soon. This year’s AGM will again run via Zoom, further details to be emailed to all members as they’re confirmed.
Last year’s lockdown also delayed production of a bumper edition of Context, which is still in the pipeline. We’re reducing membership by 50% for 2022 to acknowledge that we haven’t been able to provide the usual benefits to members over this time. And as the year progresses, and we are able to confirm dates, we’ll keep members informed by email, so please make sure we have your current email address.
The good thing about books is that you don’t need to travel for them, and at the moment, many of us are moving around a bit less than we were a month ago. However, if you’re up in Auckland and feel like a walk, Auckland’s Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition isn’t all hard materials, with Michelle Mayn’s Te Harakeke, Te Kōrari, merging traditional methods of Māori weaving with installation practice. Made from hundreds of pokinikini (dried, rolled harakeke/New Zealand flax) sourced from the the Auckland Botanic Gardens pa Harakeke collection, the work is sited on down by the little bridge situated on the lake edge, with the wind, rain and changing sunlight bringing the material to life. For those who can’t make it in person a glimpse into the making of Te Harakeke, Te Kōrari, filmed by the talented videographer Kirsty MacDonald is available online.
Further south, MTG Hawke’s Bay currently offers a variety of dress, textile and adornment across a few exhibitions. It’s the latest site for the NZ Fashion Museum’s Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now (until 6 March), and it’s also offering Silver: Heirlooms from the Collection (until 2 May). Meanwhile, For Home and Country, Women’s Institutes of Hawke’s Bay (until 31 March), honours the founding in 1921 of the first New Zealand women’s institute with an exhibition of memorabilia including many of the beautifully embroidered banners that were a staple activity of many of the branches.
Finally (for now), a reminder that face masks are back in full force as they have been for the past couple of years. During which time not everyone has gone for the basic option. While many collections worldwide (including here in Aotearoa New Zealand) are compiling their Covid Collections, ICOM, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Costume, Fashion and Textiles has curated a virtual exhibition, Clothing the Pandemic, covering the various aesthetic, practical and political aspects of the humble and not-so-humble accessory of the early 2020s.
2021 was a great year for fabric culture at Otago Museum, what with the very successful Fashion FWD >> Disruption through Design exhibition on show over winter; for summer, the scale is both smaller and wider. Smaller in that the new textile exhibit, It’s in the Making, is in the compact display space at the entrance to the People of the World gallery; wider in that rather than a local design priority, the work on display has an international focus. It’s in the Making: the Margery Blackman Textile Collection celebrates Margery’s 2021 gift to the museum of her personal research collection of bags, bedcovers, and clothing, mostly from the West Asian regions.
Margery is well known in the textile community as both an artist and a scholar. She took up weaving in Scotland in the 1960s, and on returning to Scotland a decade later, tapestry weaving. Her work is held in major collections nationally while a large scale tapestry has a permanent prominent place at the entrance to Dunedin Hospital.
While refining her own craft, Margery developed a strong interest in global traditions of weaving. While she began with the northern European weaving of her first practice, her interests expanded to traverse the world, and particularly to the regions that feature in her collection. Her focus is on both the techniques and context of the textiles and the influences can be seen in her own work.
Margery has generously shared her knowledge over the decades of her scholarship through numerous papers – many for CTANZ – and in curatorial work for Otago Museum. Her gift to the museum of her collection passes on her work to other researchers; the exhibition gives us a glimpse into the development of a collection and the insights that Margery has drawn from it.
As usual in this gallery, it’s concisely and coherently displayed and as a particularly nice touch for a textile exhibition, the information panels are suspended fabric banners.