Sunday, October 17, 2010


I have spent the last few weeks looking at my old work/sketch books.
Several years ago I began weaving tapestries that were based on the unreal subject matter from my dreams or  imagination. 
Wyuna Bay    1999

I still have a tendency to create weavings  that have a certain surreal or abstract element to them. By moving away from a realistic representation of an image towards the unreal aspect was probably my way of getting around that dreaded and usually unjustified statement .... "I am not very good at drawing"....  I am actually quite good at drawing so don't tend to use this as an excuse anymore, however I do remember a time when I did, and it was really another way of saying I don't spend enough time drawing!!
Using a more abstract or surrealistic  approach to tapestry design for producing a weavable image is one I use to remind myself that it is not so much about being able to draw a perfect representation of an object, landscape, animal, etc but more about conveying a connection on an emotional level with the viewer. 

Although I rely heavily on the technical wonders of Photoshop to assist me with my portrait weavings, I prefer as much as possible to use only my own hand-drawn images to create most my other design work.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


"The Forgotten Fruit Years." My last Exhibition
held in Devonport at The Depot,  March 2008.
For the last 5 weeks I have been unable to weave at all due to some hideous un-diagnosed muscle pain problem. I will be seeing my doctor again this week to say that I am very grateful for the 800!!!! odd pain relief tablets prescribed, and will agree the advice that I was over-doing things was a good excuse to do NOTHING for a fortnight, but I really would like to get back onto the loom... THANKYOU.

I have so much to get up and going for various exhibitions, including my own. The last exhibition took a years weaving and planning and I am now down to 6 months weaving for the next one I am having in June next year in the Communnity Gallery of the Franklin Arts & Cultural Learning Trust .

Luckily the pieces are all very small and are being woven with the title of the exhibition..... Woven Tapestry Fragments... in mind.

So to all you weavers who have had a forced absence from the loom through lack of health at any time in your career, I now know the horror and frustration that our own frailties can have on our art practice. 
The wonderful flip side of this of course, is that the drawing and planning activities involved with creating our hand woven work gets extra special attention, forcing/allowing us much more time for planning and re-working our  ideas and designs. This in turn can only mean a much more resolved and therefore stronger end design. 

Portriat weaving "Evad" hangs between "Matariki Through Window Arches"
Invitation by Gallery to exhibit at Franklin Arts & Cultural LearningTrust 2010.
Close-up of weaving and hand-stitched detail in Window Arches shown above.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I have always loved exhibiting my work and have decided that I am now at the stage of my weaving career where I probably need to produce less but larger works. Once I get my next Solo Exhibition out of the way in June 2011 I will be making a concerted effort to do larger works for a while.
The next 18 months or so for me are mainly being committed to four major exhibiting opportunities producing large works. It has been nice to get back my focus on the planning and design of fewer, but more important works. These working drawings and concepts are what carry the final piece, giving the underlying strength to simple designs, the x-factor that makes a tapestry weaving gel with the viewer, drawing them back for a second look maybe. Where did the weaver get their idea to weave that particular image? These are the types of questions that once answered, help the viewer to better relate to each individual tapestry weavers work.

I am available for several types of tapestry workshops, particularly design focused sessions should a group of you wish to get together. If you have a particular area of interest I am able to customize a learning workshop to meet your needs. For details and costs e.mail:

Living by Tapestry Weaving in NZ

I have been thinking about the time-wasting element of my day to day endeavors. Setting up my studio 18 months ago started with such enthusiasm and an absolute art focus. I believed as a professional weaver, an absolute income sourced from weaving related activities was not only desirable, but was expected from me. I have no spouse or possible family inheritance to help support me on my artistic quest, and apart from a sturdy Certificate in Adult Teaching, designed and tutored by the wonderful Penny Brownlee, my qualifications on paper are sparse, so it was always going to be a big ask. 

Bad Mood Arising

Overtaken by an obsession to be financially strong, a flurry of production weaving took over the sacred space, scarves, baby buggy blankets, travel and floor rugs were woven, in the process destroying the very thing I enjoyed most about my weaving..... THE ART.

Despite being on the Creative Fibre Tutors List, I have not had any viable interest. I was led me to believe that being on that list would field interest from them for workshops at this end of the country to help spread the technique of tapestry weaving. In particular I hoped it would give me the opportunity to share what I have learnt about tapestry design over the 20 odd years I have been weaving. Tapestries that I feel are unique to this small country of ours, Aotearoa - N.Z.

I do get people to teach and share with though, but it is such hard work having to chase this sometimes. It is always a joy to be asked.

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.