Thursday, February 10, 2011

Latest work

I have managed to do the last feather rows on my wrap and started the last mawhitiwhiti row before turning.
I am pleased with the way it has come together and tried various tops including a plait across the top but I have decided a normal turning will be best.

However I have had to put it on hold so I can make a bag for Whiri Aroha for a raffle.  I have just started weaving the bottom.

But the excitement that is really making me think is seeing a korowai in Auckland city yesterday at a shop called Kura and by an artist called Gary.  I didn't get his last name but hope to sort that out.  It was wonderful.  It was made of a light coloured jute but looked like muka.  It had small blocks of weka feathers and very close rows much closer than we are used to doing.  But the ends of the rows were just so neat.  It was as if the aho just disappeared.  He only backtracked on the rows about 4 or 5 whenu and I couldn't see the knot or cut aho or anything.  It was so beautiful I felt my work was bad next to his.  But it has certainly motivated me to improve my technique.  And I might try the jute if I can find it.

Here are another few things I made for the group.
This is a neckpiece

jute string (actually looks browner) and pheasant feathers

My first piece of muka that I made myself

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Current projects

I have two projects underway at the moment.  One I started ages ago but am waiting on some white feathers which I will get next monday at Whiri Aroha - our weaving group at the Papakura marae. It has duck feathers mostly.  I am thinking of two rows of white feathers then a last row of light grey duck feathers before a black, brown and cream taniko.  It will be a short cape with an opening down the front.

 The other project I started last week and is also a short cape but without an opening - you pop it over your head.  It may be slightly awkward to get into and out of but I think it looks better when wearing it.  I have come to a halt because I think I would again like to use white feathers - fluffy if possible before the blue peacock feathers.  The black ones are long black dyed bought feathers. Just wondering whether I should carry on the blocks or do the white and peacock feathers right across the rows.  Anyone got an opinion or suggestion?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Korowai blogging

I am new to blogging but thought this might be a good way to get in touch with others weavers or would-be weavers of korowai.  I hope to keep an update on my latest projects, have a gallery of my work and offer opportunities for teaching weaving or buying korowai.  So please comment, advise, suggest ideas so I can make this an interesting place for people who love to weave garments and objects from bits of string.

You can learn to weave.

The skill of weaving from modern materials was passed on to me with love and without tapu.  It was expected that I should, in turn, pass the skill on to others.  As a pakeha I can teach the skills required to weave a korowai but for the heart and spirit of weaving you need to seek out your own people and traditions.  I feel it's a great privilege to have this knowledge and consider it a great blessing to be able to pass on something that has brought a great deal of pleasure to me.  Contact me if you are interested in learning to weave.
My first korowai sample 2007

Like to help weave your own Korowai?

If you would like to be able to say "I helped create this family korowai" but feel you don't want to do all the work yourself then we could do it together.  You could help with the feathers, do some weaving rows, do some taniko but I would oversee the project and help you get it done.  Contact me if this is an opportunity you would like to take up.  Although I am in Auckland at the moment we do hope to be shifting to the South Island sometime in the future.

Commission a Korowai

If you would like a korowai made to your own specifications and design I would be very happy to discuss that with you.  You could choose size and shape, feathers or tags, design your own taniko, whatever you feel would suit your family and purpose.  Remember, though, it can take up to 6 months to make so plan ahead. Here are three of my bigger cloaks - two adults and a child's one.
Here am I in my big pheasant feather korowai 
My first adult sized korowai made from different groups of pheasant feathers.

This cloak was made for Taieri Beach school from fluffy pheasant feathers