I was kindly invited to run a textile workshop in the Stewart Island in May this year. I Felt very honoured and humbled by the experience. The hospitality was incredibly kind, the Island itself is beautiful, and the birdsong is magic on the ears.
This is a tiny glimpse of some of the work. Be sure to follow me on instagram to get snapshots of students work during the workshops. We kept pretty busy over the two days. Beginning with a walk in nature to source colour and designs from nature. Everyone block printed, screen printed and also stencilled designs. Love the spontaneity of some students, and the pattern planning, So much fun and so rewarding.
Stewart Island has a total population of 400 permanent residents. It's like one big family and you get an overwhelming sense that it is a community that takes care of one another. When the locals park their cars, keys are left in the ignition, just in case anyone might need to borrow your car. Loved that!
There is a lot to be said about the feeling of stepping back in time. There is only one pub and one four square to get your provisions. I spent my evening time in the cosy and bustling Pub, as you can imagine, and there was fantastic food to be had there!
There is a regular boat trip to Ulva Island, where you can get up and close to a bird sanctuary. I didn't make it over there, was a little pre-occupied with the workshop, but would love to go back there.
I stayed at this wonderful home away from home Bed and Breakfast. Can totally recommend! Plenty of textile stories in the house too.
I can hardly believe it has taken me this long to share this as Smitten News! Some of you following me on Instagram and facebook know that I have been to Spain and London recently.
It was hugely inspiring, and I have to say, long overdue. I lived in London throughout my 20's returning to N.Z. in the early 2000's, so hadn't been properly back for over 17 years.
Here's a little glimpse of the highlights.
First Stop was Spain, taking my daughters Stella (10) and Lucy (14) to visit my Aunty.
This little town called Benitachell feels like a home away from home for me.
I'll probably save this for another post, but Benitachell is a little town full of tiled houses.
Very cool. And yes, as you can imagine, design inspiration is brewing for sure.
Next stop was Barcelona! Heaven. Heaven, Heaven.
We visited Gaudi's Casa Vicens and Parc Guell, the Picasso Museum and the Miro Museum. We also meandered, got lost a few times, ate nice food, and of course visited the beautiful Sagrada Familia.
Then on to London, where we hung out as a family for a few days, doing touristy things.
This included a trip to the Shard for my beautiful Stella's 10 birthday treat! The food was incredible, and the views of course.
Then I was left on my own for a couple of weeks as James took the girls back to N.Z.
I spent time reconnecting with my old friends and definitely reconnected with London! Still think of this City as my 2nd home.
A very special time for me. I will be rolling out some blogs on some of the exhibitions I saw over on my blog page. Starting with the Anni Albers retrospective show at the Tate. Blog
Other highlights were getting behind the scenes at the V & A textile collections, and wonderful exhibitions at the Whitworth gallery in Manchester, the Design Museum in London and another at the V&A in London, to name a few. This may take me a while, but I will be writing on all of these down the track. Indeed!
So these are the last few markets where I'll be popping up. Hope to see you! x
TITIRANGI VILLAGE MARKET
SUNDAY - NOVEMBER 25TH, 10 - 2PM
SUNDAY - DECEMBER 9TH, 10 - 2PM
SUNDAY - DECEMBER 16TH, 10 - 2PM
LOPDELL PRECINCT XMAS MARKET
FRIDAY - DECEMBER 7TH, 5PM - 9PM
Seed pod and Scribble grass, new designs from 2017.
The seed pod design is inspired from a magnificent Kowhai tree at the front of our house. These pods get scattered and blown all over our property. I love discovering tiny little mini kowhai shrubs that pop up out of nowhere. The Tui's love this tree so much in Spring. More about that in Spring! I have many drawings of these pods, but wanted to create very simple, playful design, so in the end it was all about the curves!
The scribble grass design was inspired by a few pics snapped during a visit to Piha. I love this beach so much, it's half hour drive from where I live, along the very picturesque Scenic Drive. A wild west coast beach and a fabulous place to blow the cobwebs out. This grass twists and curls up out the black sand dunes. I love this green colour too in contrast to the dark sand. It is a breathtaking beach and last time I was there with my family, we rented a little cottage. I think I'm going to have devote some more design time there this year!
There is always a story to a textile design. A starting point. I'm trying to get better at documenting my processes as they all connect and intercept. I'm inspired mostly by the stuff that surrounds me.
The fabulous Patternity folks put this well in their manifesto:
"Pattern is everywhere we go and it's in everything we do
It’s there when we look up, down and all around, outside ourselves and deep within
Pattern speaks a powerful universal language that connects us all
We’re living in an age of overload and complexity
The systems we are a part of are failing
We’ve become so focused on the ‘I’ not the ‘we’
We have lost our sense of connection to our environment, each other and to ourselves
It’s time to wake up and reconnect the dots"
I thought I'd write a little about some bespoke textiles I did last year.
I tend to post a lot on instagram, and neglect the opportunity to talk a bit more in depth about certain projects. So here is a bit of background to a few custom orders.
1. Kim Lane, Coastal Creative.
I have mentioned Kim a few times, she is an interior designer and stylist and was kind enough to interview me on her blog. She also sells my cushions and Tea towels through her online shop, www.thecoastalcabin.com.
I met her a while back when I worked for a commercial textile company. Then bumped into her at the Auckland Fair, my very first one, back in 2016! She liked my cushions, but the colours I had back then had a lot of hot pink in them (I have a thing for hot pink). I suggested to her that I'd be happy to mix colours to suit her projects.
I was delighted she took me up on this! Kim posted me some paint swatches that she had carefully curated for me to colour match to.
Here is a photo of my humble method of colour mixing! And the end results.
For the final colours, Kim decided to drop the blue as this was a winter collection and felt the blue was a little too summery, so we keep that up our sleeves for later. :-)
I was hugely pleased with these. Most of them have found new owners but there is still a couple left www.thecoastalcabin.com/product-page/linen-cushion-1
2. Clare Wyness
Clare is part of my community, one of my lovely local, friendly, school mums. And... she loves to support her local creative cohorts. She got in touch after seeing one of my posts on Instagram with a colour swatch I was working on, and one thing led to another. I had the honour of an on site visit, (yes we did have a glass of wine) so I could take in the existing furniture, rug, painting and art etc. that these cushions wold co-exist with. I was influenced by her big brown leather sofas and kilim rug, She also had a stunning piece of abstract art in blues and teals.
3. Deborah Ward
One of the many reasons I like having a stall at the local markets is to get the opportunity to chat! This commision came about when Deborah was visiting her old stomping ground of Titirangi and really loved my painterly pink cushions that I had for sale at the Titirangi market. However, after much contemplation she was worried they would be a little bit too bright for her newly painted pink bedroom walls. I offered to get a swatch of the paint colour and print a little sample to match it. The paint colour turned out to be from Katie Lockharts Everyday needs paint collection. Yum! (I ordered ALL the swatches). The colour I matched to is called Hessian. A beautiful dusky pink. I didn't record much of the work in progress, but here is the end result, image's provided by Deborah.
It was a huge honour to be featured in the Makers section of Cuisine magazine at the end of last year. Totally one of my all time favourite food magazines. The styling by Fiona Lascelles with my Scribble Grass Tea Towel blew me away! (see image below)
It's New York Textile Month during September and there are so many interesting talks, events, discussions, exhibitions. It is really worth spending some time here: www.textilemonth.nyc to see what is on offer.
Jack Lenor Larsen, is one of my hero's, internationally known for his woven and printed textiles he founded his textile business in 1952 and is one of the most prolific textile designers of the twentieth century. He designed fabrics for elegant homes, public buildings, and corporate offices and worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, Pan American and Braniff Airlines.
If you have a spare 23 minutes I can recommend watching this clip. Handmade in America. Love listening to Jack speak about his craft. Or if you can head over to New york, they are doing a film screening as part of the NYTM.
Why is there a New York Textile Month? Lidewu Edelkoort articulates it beautifully here:
"At a time when textile heritage is at a crossroads and centuries of tradition and knowledge are being compromised, the need arises to protect these endangered species in the same way we have come to defend our animal friends in the natural world; therefore we urgently need to discuss and talk about textiles again" A MANIFESTO BY LIDEWIJ EDELKOORT
I'm booking tickets to NY next year. xx
Little Koha offer a beautiful range of gift packs, each containing carefully chosen locally made products. You can find my hand printed linen Tea towels in their lovely Kitchen Hamper and Dining Room Gift Hamper. Wonderful house warming idea's. :-)
Chloe, the lady behind the biz, has begun a series of blogs interviewing the people behind the products she sells. So, you can pop over and read a bit more about me, follow the link below.
Events, retailers, workshops, exhibitions, collaborations, and other little behind the scenes snapshots