Sunday, December 2, 2012

 I have started my big cloak and am excited by the way it is progressing.  The feathers from feathergirl have come and I hope I have enough.

But at the same time I am making a few things to have on show when I have a weekend wananga korowai next year.  So here is a bag I am making just ready to do some taniko on the top.
 And a small piece using peacock feathers.  It helps to have something small to take when I have to go out to weave.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Well it is ages since I wrote last but lots has happened.  The exhibition went well and despite few sales I consider it a success.  We have all had exposure for the craft in Dunedin.  Elaine has since sold a framed piece and is very happy about that.  I have a commission to make an adult korowai for a Dunedin family and  I have lots of names of people who wish to learn.  So I am considering having a weekend school near the end of February and perhaps a weekly group on Tuesdays after that.

We have also been away visiting family in Auckland and in Sydney.  We had a great few weeks away catching up with grandchildren who are growing up so fast.  I miss them all.
While we were in Papakura I was able to deliver the gift of a korowai to Papakura South School, my old primary school from 50 years ago.  It was lovely to be accompanied by two of my weaving friends and to feel the welcome from the pupils and staff.  I hope the korowai is of use to them.

I was also able to go to Whiri Aroha, the weaving group at the Papakura marae, and catch up with all my old friends and meet new people starting out on their weaving journey.  I learnt some new ideas as I always keep my eyes open and camera ready.

 These are some of the photos I took there to remind me of good ideas
I like the white and black colour theme of this arapaki.
Here there are definite areas of different types of feathers

I love the neatness of this bottom of the korowai.
This is a wonderful use of the tags
I like the colour scheme and the way the black and green feathers
are alternated and match the taniko at the top.
This learner was on the last row of her this piece. Well done.

I really like the use of the feather design and the mawhitiwhiti

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Just another quick arapaki to use up some cut string before the big day.  Used some rooster feathers that I already had bundled ages ago.

My mother showed me how to make labels for the back of my pieces.  I worked out the wording etc on Picasa and printed it out till I was happy with it.  Then I ironed freezer paper to some plain fabric.  Freezer paper can be got from material shops especially those dealing with quilters.  This was cut to A4 size then just put through the printer as normal.  The freezer paper stiffens the material and can be pealed off after printing. It worked well and I got 12 labels per A4 sheet.  Then comes the tedious bit of sewing them on to the back of the korowai like a shop label.

 The exhibition notice.  We had an article written about us in the local free papers too, which has brought in a few people.  Probably better than an ad.

 Here is Elaine in front of her 5 pieces.  She has really caught the bug and has made 7 things since I taught her in 2010.  These 5 pieces have been made this year.

Here we are beside another of my lady's work.  She has so many things on the go, including embroidery, that she doesn't get quite as much weaving done as she would like.  However she has progressed and has aspirations of making a full sized korowai for her daughter's graduation in a few years time.

Although the exhibition is in a lovely gallery off a shop with beautiful NZ made gifts, I am going in each day to weave there so people can see the work involved.  It also gives me time to weave without the distractions of home ( like whitebaiting for instance).  We have had interest from a number of folk and I hope to get a group together for next year.  

My other news is that we will be visiting Papakura in the first week of November so I hope to visit Whiri Aroha on Monday of that week, and also to present a gift korowai to Papakura South School.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I have been busy the last few weeks finishing over some things and making more for the exhibition on the 21st September.  I have finished two more wall hangings.  I just need a couple of bits of driftwood to finish them off.

Then there are the black mannequins for the small cloaks.  They have arms and hands and weights in the bottom to keep them upright. 

There was also the experiment to see if I could make an arapaki from one pelt.  This one is a green melanistic pheasant.  It was a beautiful pelt but I'm not sure if I like the finished article.  Instead of the grouped feathers of the pheasant the woven article has the feathers are in rows of similar design.  Still it's quite nice.  It has mawhitiwhiti on the sides in the design of a Nikau palm.  So its a sort of bush design.

Now I am busy with another arapaki with thick string and spikey feathers.
And this is the poster for our exhibition.

Speaking of strings I have been asked what sort of string I use.  There are two sorts we use.  One is thicker and a bit fluffier than the other.  The thick one comes from  ICB Cleaning supplies in Arthur Brown Place, Mt Wellington, Auckland. It is a thick general purpose string, easy and quick to work. I like using this for most things but it can leave fluff on your clothes. The other is a finer better quality string from Browns Brushware, Portage Rd, New Lynn, Auckland. It is slower to work as you need to use double strings for each whenu or the garment would lose its shape. If I am doing something special I would use this string.
If anyone knows of other strings especially good quality jute or sisal I would like to know.
Enough for now

Friday, August 17, 2012

 At last I have finished the korowai for South School Papakura.  It has Kereru feathers at the top before the Taniko.  I do like the pattern with feathers and mawhitiwhiti.  Now this will be at our exhibition in Dunedin in September then I will get it to Papakura sometime next term.
 And I have finished this pheasant shoulder korowai

 And this small cloak with a black doll to display it on.  It feels good finishing things.  This cloak represents the sea.  The feathers are blues and greens with white 'breakers' and paua shell at the top.  The feathers are in a wavy pattern with mawhitiwhiti in between the feathers.

But I have started another wall hanging using black back gull feathers.  So far I have started the tail bit.

And a small thing to go in a photo frame.  The feathers are the small ones from a pheasant neck.
Lots of work done and lots to do.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

After having family here for two weeks and doing no work I am back busy again.  We are hoping to have an exhibition in Koru Gallery, Dunedin in September so I need to get real busy.  The Kereru have arrived from DoC and I have sort of pelted them.  When I had pelted the carcases, mutilating them a bit as the skin is quite delicate, I sewed them on to hoops of No 8 wire to keep them flat.  This made keeping the baking soda on them easy, drying them out well.  Now to use the feathers.

But just before I do that I am finishing an arapaki made from pheasant feathers.  I had seen one done with the spikey brown feathers before and was impressed so I used the ones I had to make a smaller one.  The large one I saw must have used a heap of pheasants.  This one I thought would be good for a graduation so I have done the poutama pattern for the taniko.

I had a dream last night that I was in a cruise liner and met some of my friends from Papakura there weaving.  One had a short arapaki worn under one arm and over a shoulder like men do.  Now that was a good idea.  I had always imagined women wearing these short cloaks like a shoulder cape but they would look good on a man worn like a cartridge belt.  There was also a hat band.  So two more thoughts to work on.  Don't know about the cruise liner though.

I have also nearly finished another small doll cloak from pukeko, duck and pheasant feathers supposed to represent the sea and it's colours and am working on a big one also a seascape.  When I have a moment I want to get on to making some dolls for displaying the small cloaks and some tiny cloaks in frames.  I hope these will sell well at our exhibition.

Went for a walk on the beach and came home with a black backed gull pelt that we did there and then when we discovered a freshly dead bird on the sand.  What fun.  I have been meeting with two other weavers here in Taieri Mouth and would like to meet with other weavers from Dunedin so am keen to hear from anyone around here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nearly finished the school korowai.  Just waiting to get some kereru feathers for the top.  Hopefully DoC will help out there.
Also finally finished something I've had set aside for ages.  Just a little shoulder korowai but a bit of fun.
But mostly I have been knitting for the grandchildren.  Will get on with some more korowai soon.

But yipee the little girls are coming down to see us very soon.  Will have two weeks off then.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Well I finally finished those three things I had started.  The bigger one is an adult width, shoulder arapaki.  It has waves of feathers with mawhitiwhiti on top and bottom and a wave pattern taniko.  The top wave of feathers are bluey green peacock.  The other two are small pieces I hope to make dolls for displaying.  So to this end I have had a great weekend up in Timaru with Mum and a dollmaking class at Geraldine (about 40mins northwest of Timaru) with Jill Maas.  I have learnt a lot of techniques which now I need to adapt to making maori dolls.  Although I have made a couple before they weren't very good so now I know some tricks I'll be making some more hopefully much better.  So here are the pictures of the doll we made over the weekend and some heads I made to practise the eyes etc.  Very different from the stocking dolls I have made in the past.
And to keep me out of mischief I have started another child one which if it's good enough will go to my old primary school in Papakura.
This one has mawhitiwhiti in diamond pattern and will have feathers and mawhitiwhiti in Poutama pattern.  I hope to have kereru feathers at the top and I haven't decided what taniko yet.  These things are all relevant to the school or at least Papakura.  Must stop this and get weaving.

Monday, April 23, 2012

In the last couple of weeks I have started a few new projects.  Two small ones and a bigger one.  This first one is using up some short pieces of very thick string.  I decided to do it upside down i.e. from the top down so I have used black wool tags which are easy to get out of the way when I work under them.  I hope it will be a cloak for a doll.

 This next one I started as I needed a small project to do when I meet each week with the other two weavers from Taieri Mouth.  It was inspired by a pheasant pelt and is attempting to follow up the bird with the different patterned feathers.  I am using the fine thread from Brown's brush and using it single strand.  I like using this fine thread but usually use it double so this is new for me.  I have also done a mawhitiwhiti pattern on the bottom with a 'turned' row either side of it.  This was shown to me by one of the ladies from Papakura.  I like the look, it's very neat.  How I miss the inspiration of that group of women.
 On this bigger one I have again used the same bottom edging idea.  Also I have attempted to do the feathers in a zigzag pattern.  It looks more ziggy zaggy in the photo than when close up.  I keep going hoping it will be more obvious as I go on.  It was really a sampler for another full sized one I am planning with blue natural feathers from pheasant and pukeko - a sea theme, with wave taniko and fish mawhitiwhiti.  However this zigzag might be too tight and I may need to do it based on 5 lots of 5 strings instead of 3 lots of 5 like this one.  Meanwhile this one will be just a shoulder one - short length.  The only problem is that I need feather bundles for every row (even if the bundles are further apart than usual) so I think it will take longer to do the whole thing.
The two ladies I left down here to weave a few years ago have gone from strength to strength and have finished a few projects.  I saw the one Elaine made - a short adult korowai.  She has made such a good job of it with the back as lovely as the front.  Both ladies like weaving and have new things on the go.  Roll on thursday morning, our meeting time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This week I have got on with this korowai.  It is the first fully feathered one I have done for ages .  I kept running out of bundles and having to stop and do more.  Very frustrating when I was hoping to finish a row.  

Anyway it's finished now.  The top is a starry mawhitiwhiti pattern.  So the idea is that to reach the stars ( your dreams) you need to grow and learn.  The poutama pattern represents the stages of learning and to reach your dreams you need to learn new things which can happen any time in your life.  The use of both male and female pheasant feathers (meaning men and women can reach for their dreams) and the browns (to keep you grounded) all add to the story of the cloak.  

I hope to keep this for a few months to put into a display later this year but then it will be for sale.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

The picture of Taieri Mouth in the last blog is of course in the evening not the morning.

This is a picture of the morning. Such lovely sunrises.
 And here is a picture during a hailstorm. In MARCH.  The hail stayed around in the cooler parts around the house for the next day.  Amazing.  But we have had beautiful weather lately.

We have been very busy around the place, so not a whole lot of weaving has been done.  However I did try to do something about an arapaki I had started a while ago.  After a bit I have put it aside again.  It is not as wide as I would like and I have toyed with adding a couple of extra bits to the sides.

So I have started another one from scratch.  It will be from the left over bits of the big plain one I did in December.  I have started doing a potama pattern in various pheasant feathers.  It's ages since I have done a korowai in just feathers so it's a bit of a trial having to do so many feather bundles.  Still good practise.