Here are some of my favourite exhibition pieces.
These very special pieces are always created as a labour of love.
Rajasthani Mohair Wrap
The Rajasthani Mohair Wrap was woven for the Creative Fibre Festival in Wellington. It was also selected for exhibition at the Norsewear Art Awards in Hawkes Bay and was one of only 2 entries from New Zealand accepted to feature in the Fibre Arts Design Book 7, published in the U.S.A.
There are a number of reasons why I love to weave and the Rajasthani Mohair Wrap features all of these: colour, mixing yarns, textures and fine detailing.
For this wrap, I designed the main part to take advantage of a lovely mohair and merino yarn that has a beautiful softness and drape. I hand dyed it with a colourway of bordeaux, purple, olive green and old gold which emphasized the richness and sheen of this yarn.
To give the mohair wrap some texture I incorporated four other yarns, a heavy, luxurious silk boucle that I dyed an old gold, a slub cotton thread in purples and deep pinks and a merino boucle yarn dyed a rich deep red. The final yarn is a wool lycra blend also dyed a deep red. This yarn when washed, shrinks considerably and creates a ripple effect throughout the whole piece. The wrap was woven with a 2ply merino wool dyed a deep purple.
Instead of leaving a plain fringe, I twisted all the ends to make fine spiral cords secured with a wrapping of silk at the ends. The finishing touch entailed sewing hundreds of tiny brass beads along the sides of the wrap and between the spiral cords.
Aztec Catz Alpaca Blanket
I was approached a few years ago by the New Zealand Alpaca Breeders Association and asked if I would be interested in weaving a piece to promote alpaca yarn, and given 2 kilos of 8-ply alpaca yarn to play with. New Zealand alpaca fibre and yarn have only been commercially available within the past decade or so, and now alpaca farms can be found throughout the country. The feel of alpaca yarn is very smooth and soft and is now often blended with fine merino wool and silk to create a very luxurious fibre.
I decided since the origins of alpaca are in South America, I would design a blanket with these elements in mind. Having just completed a workshop on double weave, I was keen to explore this further so decided to weave the alpaca blanket in a double weave pickup.
I knew I needed two very contrasting colours to make the pattern stand out and to make the weaving easier to do, so chose a deep purple and bright yellow. Not wanting a fringe on the blanket meant tucking the ends back between the two layers then in a lime green alpaca yarn, blanket stitching all the edges. The finishing touch was making tassels and sewing these on with a bright bead to the edges of the blanket.
This blanket was selected for display at the Creative Fibres Exhibition in Palmerston North and also the Otago Area Exhibition in Dunedin.
Hi Fibre Diet New Zealand Wool
While I was a member of the The Professional Weavers Network of New Zealand, an exhibition titled “BlackWhite — a Journey Through Contrast” was organised and toured throughout the country. This was a very successful exhibition that ended up touring New Zealand for over a year.
Usually the pieces I weave are something you can wear and very rarely do I design purely art pieces. For a weaver like me who loves colour, this presented a challenge to design an art piece in black and white shades only. I designed and wove four minature wraps that were displayed on 55cm high torsos. My idea was based on the thought that no matter what man’s endeavours, nature will eventually reclaim what is rightfully hers.
Each wrap was woven with a different weave in New Zealand wool and tencel. The first and last in the series were felted after being woven, creating little squares of unfelted tencel. The middle two wraps were both woven with a wool lycra thread added to give a textured effect. After all four wraps were completed I ripped holes and pulled threads in them to give the impression of being moth eaten. The finishing touch was to decorate them with brown moths created from feathers.
Mambasa Jive Merino Wool Wrap
The Mombasa Jive Merino Wool Wrap is one of my favourite pieces. In 1998, Christchurch hosted the World Merino Wool Conference. An exhibition was held showcasing this wonderful fibre, and my piece was selected for display and went on to win the Award for Handweaving. New Zealand merino can handle extremes in temperatures and are usually found in the New Zealand high country. The wool produced is some of the finest in the world and is used in the best Italian suits on the market.
The Mombasa Jive Merino Wool Wrap is woven out of a 22 micron 2ply merino wool. I had always wanted to experiment with shadow weave, and after selecting the pattern of the weave, designed the wrap with an African influence. I trimmed the ends of the wrap with black merino wool tassels, twisted cords and tiny pieces of bone made into beads. Doing fancy trims such as this is very time consuming, but I feel that it is time well spent to make this wrap exceptional.
This piece is part of my own personal collection and displayed in the gallery.
Urban Nomad Outfit
I have in the past created pieces for fashion parades. This is a very time consuming process and definitely a labour of love. A lot of the success of the garment can depend on situations out of your control. Does the model suit the garment? Is the garment worn correctly with all the pieces in the right place?
The last garment I made for a fashion parade was Urban Nomad. This was modelled at the Creative Fibre Fashion Parade a few years ago and is the only garment I have kept. At the time I was experimenting with using a wool lycra thread to create ripple effects through fabric, which eventually led onto a whole line of scarves and wraps.
This piece was a runner up in the Young Designer Category.
Indian Dream Wrap
The Indian Dream Silk Wrap is one of four pieces I designed and made, as an invited exhibitor at the annual Riversdale Exhibition in Southland New Zealand. This handwoven silk wrap is one that I have hand dyed. I love dyeing, and silk absorbs dye so well to give a lovely richness and depth of colour. Silk is a beautiful yarn that I particularly enjoy weaving as the drape and feel of the finished fabric is gorgeous and luxurious.
The Indian Dream Silk Wrap is woven from two different types of silk yarn. In the main part of the wrap I have used a silk noil yarn, which has no shine to it at all and a slight uneven texture. The golden stripes are woven using a cultivated mulberry silk yarn, that has the lovely sheen that we associate with silk. I have also used the silk noil yarn for the painted ikat style accents. This wrap is woven with a dark red cotton in a plain weave, with the golden stripes a warp faced weave. Instead of just a normal fringe on this wrap, I twisted the fringe into cords and wrapped silk around the ends to secure them.
The inspiration for this silk wrap was the colours of India, and the beautifully decorated and ornate textiles that are found all over the country. I was especially influenced by the lovely, long lengths of sari fabric with their repetitive patterns and brocade and silk stripes that run the whole length of the fabric.
I have kept this wrap as part of my own collection. Silk has a lovely warmth to it and this wrap has such a softness to it, that I can wear it as either a wrap or scarf