Saturday, March 27, 2010

Light, airy and warm in winter, the studio sits out in the back yard waiting for the garden to grow.

This photo shows the the work corner of the downstairs studio and gallery area. The looms show from left to right, a rug in the making, a portrait weaving at rear and the smaller un-dressed loom. This small loom is a great size for beginners, and with 4 heddles, could be used for many different types of weaving styles. It is reasonably portable, and fits comfortably into the back of a larger hatch-back car. Looms like these can be bought for between $50-$150 through on-line auction or through those involved with local weaving groups.

Upstairs Workspace & Storage

The upstairs area accomodates two looms with plenty of working space to spare. There are two spinning wheels available for those who want to try their hand at making their own yarns. The wheel shown at right in this picture is a Colthart Wheel, and is very smooth and even to spin on.
(Jenny - if you are wondering where the Waiuku Spinners & Weavers took off to with your wheel when they bought it, here it is)

Note the tapestry weavings on the loom. Wound onto the the bottom beam and therefore unseen is one of four weavings. This hidden weaving has been followed by the bottom grey spacing, then 2 tapestries have been woven side by side. Above these two works is more grey spacing followed by a tapestry weaving of a sylized dog, which is still in the process of being woven and included hand-spun dog-hair. I subsequently entered it into the Whangarei 2010 National Creative Fibre Exhibition Festival being held over the Easter break at the Kensington Stadium. Do get along to see it if you are in the district over the long weekend. This judged exhibition features fibre works from our top artists and craft workers, and there are trade stands open for you to buy quality fibre related must haves. However - don't bother looking for the above mentioned tapestry as it was rejected by the astute judge. Even the relative experts like myself don't get it right everytime!!! If you are looking for a good starting point to show others your fibre work at a national level, visit the N.Z. Creative Fibre website and consider membership, they are tough but fair and it's a good way to monitor your own levels of quality control.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My terracotta tiles set in tunnel
For 3 weekends in a row Coromandel township hosts its annual arts tour. The opening weekend is Friday 30th April, and begins with an evening art auction. Twenty five artists will open their studios for public viewing each consecutive Fri-Sun from 10am-4pm, and tickets cost around $13.00 per person to do the weekend trail.

Although I am not an official participant, I will be minding the studio of local glass artist Mike Barton. The organizers have generously permitted me to join them as a guest exhibiter while I mind his studio on that first weekend, so if you happen to be up that way, call in to his studio on Tiki Rd to see the loom at work and be part of an informative and exciting cocktail of art in action.

If you do happen to be in Coromandel, the Driving Creek Railway & Pottery is a must do visitor treat. The railway winds up through the bush to the viewing platform and it is an experience children will well remember for a very long time....If you are quick, you might just catch a glimpse of these two panels set in the brickwork above one of the tunnels. I made them in 1998, as part of a design process I was using at the time. Initial pastel sketches and drawings were used to form the basis for these two large tiles, which in turn were used to create the final weaving design.

Postcards From The Mother Ship.

This weaving and the clay works above were based on a road trip I made through Tokoroa in 1997. I had seen this area of man-made forest growing ever since I was a child.

With the forestry cleared up to the roadside only a few metres either side of State Highway 1, and the clear-felling finally revealing the contours of the land, it all seemed very violent.

The visual effect was raw and profound. The steep hills were completely stripped bare to finally reveal the starkness of emaciated land.

It is little wonder the people of Coromandel are so precious about their natural heritage.

It appears there is renewed interest in providing government support for mining this area.

Grass Roots

I have recently enjoyed two weekends of inspiration and support. The first was attending the N.Z. Professional Weavers Seminar at the St Francis Retreat Centre in Auckland, where my work and professional attitudes were acknowledged by the very fact that I was there. The second was spent relaxing with my local small group of Spinners & Weavers at Orua Bay near the southern entrance to the Manukau Harbour. I enjoyed a rare opportunity to play with dye pots and managed to felt a small handmade gift without too much purpose.

For anyone working with fibre, I highly recommend both. There is a genuine passion at both ends of the spectrum to encourage and share knowledge and wisdom, blended with a natural wish to acheive a high level of craftsmanship.

This special psyche extends across countries and borders, and was proven during a recent trip I took to visit family living in Australia last November. With a little bit of forward planning, I was able to visit the Hervey Bay Spinners & Weavers, where I gave an inpromptu presentation of my work during the show and tell session. I was received with much interest, despite their own business and routine being interrupted... and they insisted the spectacular afternoon tea was not in my honour. For me, keeping in touch with the grass roots craft-artists movement is most comforting.

Tapestry Weavings By Stephenie Collin


I hope you find Warped Art & Design both interesting and inspiring, and that it will encourage anyone working with fibre to investigate and experiment further within their chosen field.

The basic loom, which is my tool of trade, has remained technologically unchanged. This aspect appeals to me as I weave contemporary images on a machine of such simple and ancient construction.

And if the loom be silenced,
then needles, threads and fingers
have plenty more to say.

About Me

My photo
Waiuku, Auckland, New Zealand
I am an artist, weaver, gardener, mother and grandmother, home food gatherer, political sceptic, modest future eater, and much much more.