What to do in the holidays – textile edition

Kate Sheppard detail from Genevieve Packer's suffrage panel.
Kate Sheppard detail from Genevieve Packer’s suffrage panel at Wellington Museum. Picture: Genevieve Packer

Happy Christmas, everyone.

Whatever your festive season holds for you, the annual New Zealand shut down will mean most of us will have time on our hands, and many will be spending time in parts of the country other than our home bases.

Fortunately, this gives the travellers opportunities to visit museums and galleries not normally within easy reach. While not everywhere has something of particular interest for the textile aficionado currently on display, there’s plenty of treasures to be found.

Matekino Lawless, image by Anne Shirley, supplied by Tauranga Art Gallery
Matekino Lawless, image by Anne Shirley, supplied by Tauranga Art Gallery
  • Maureen Lander’s Flatpack Whakapapa has made it to the Govett-Brewster in New Plymouth, again until March.
  • Down Wellington way, Expressions Whirinaki in Upper Hutt is currently showing the Mount Felix tapestry, a community stitch project created in England and New Zealand between 2015 and 2017 to commemorate and honour the 27,000 Kiwi soldiers treated at the Mt Felix ANZAC hospital at Walton on Thames from 1915 onwards, and the staff and community that cared for them.
  • Another commemorative project has recently been unveiled at Wellington Museum: Genevieve Packer’s artwork celebrating 31 prominent New Zealand women, commissioned by the museum as part of Suffrage125 events. Close to 4 x 2.5m, the white  leather silhouettes appliqued on red acrylic awning canvas now hang in the old Wellington Harbour Board boardroom, where they can be viewed when the room is not otherwise in use.
Suffrage125 by Genevieve Packer at Wellington Museum

Suffrage125 by Genevieve Packer at Wellington Museum (picture Genevieve Packer)

  • The boardroom is also the site of a further session of Suffrage in Stitches, a fabric workshop to rework the suffrage petition, next running 9-13 January 2019.

Similar events have been part of  2018’s Suffrage125 year celebrations, and although it’s now wound down, there are still a few legacy projects to come. One of these is Dunedin artist Janet de Wagt’s National Banner Project, a collaboration with Heritage New Zealand. Supported by the Suffrage125 community fund, Janet’s project involved seven workshops around the country to produce banners that will be hung in Wellington’s Old Government Buildings in April next year.

Creative New Zealand has since announced further funding, the Suffrage 125 Fund, to “support high quality arts projects recognising the contribution to women’s rights by women from diverse cultural backgrounds”.  There will be rounds of $100,000 in 2019 and 2020, maximum $20,000 per project, first round closes 15 Feb 2019.

Finally, there’s one more panel to report on, at Toitu in Dunedin. Among the textile highlights in their Suffrage and Beyond exhibition (runs well into 2019), is a glorious set of panels created by the Otago Embroiderers’ Guild for the 1993 suffrage centenary, highlighting some of Dunedin’s trailblazing women. For this year’s celebrations, a further panel has been added honouring another of Dunedin’s and New Zealand’s most renowned daughters, writer Janet Frame.

As always, this is just the stuff that we know about. If you’re travelling, do check out the local museums and galleries, whatever they’re offering. And if you’re a museum or gallery with a textile exhibition coming up, you’re most welcome to use the comments to let us know about your show, or email me with details and images so I can post a preview.

Best wishes from all of us on the CTANZ team for our members and readers for happy and safe festivities. Mere kirihimete.

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