This exhibition is a Professional weavers Network Group exhibition and The Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville is the third and final gallery. The first was Pataka in Porirua in June, then it went to the Gallery in Oxford, just outside Christchurch, and finally to Morrinsville in the Waikato.
The opening was on 1st October, and despite the few people in this image, there was a really good attendance. Marilyn Rea Menzies was the convenor of the exhibition and spoke briefly at the Opening. She had also had a hand in hanging the work at each venue, so was very familiar with all the pieces.
It's a very interesting experience to be part of a group exhibition like this. As a group, we are getting quite good at setting the theme or parameters for the exhibition, and usually this is done at our annual seminar. Sometimes it takes longer than that and the final detail is hammered out over the internet.
Once the decision has been made, we all disappear into our own studios and work our on own response to the decided on theme.
I find that I leave the seminar full of excitement about the ideas we've discussed, and then in the cold light of my studio, I start to wonder just what I am going to weave.
This exhibition was no different. I spent many weeks, muttering to myself about the theme, and in the end, one phrase kept popping into my head; "Mist cloaked the mountain". So I started a search for images that illustrated this idea. Many I came across were set in the Urewera area where the Tuhoe Tribe are referred to as "The Children of the Mist", so my cloak Urewera" was born. Here are two views of the fabric on the loom. The warp and weft are both dyed by me.
The weave is a turned honeycomb, so that the cell structures are placed vertically rather than horizontally as is normal. I also made the cells of various sizes and placed randomly so that the fabric had a naturalistic appearance, as the contours of a mountain also does.
You can see with this closeup of the weave structure that various weights of yarns were used. In Honeycomb, the cells are enclosed by much thicker yarns. There are two blocks and they weave so that there are weft faced areas and warp faced areas. This is a good way to show off the painted warp, and the way that the thicker threads enclose the cells, gives the fabric a good sense of movement.
The final piece of the project was an expression of the mist cloaking the mountain. This proved very problematical as the original idea I had to achieve this just didn't work. The deadline was looming by then (no pun intended) and I did sample after sample that were quickly discarded. Finally I came up with a very minimalist version that I was finally happy with.
This is the finished cloak before the addition of the "mist"
And below is the closeup of the cloak showing the "mist" and the Kumihimo braid fastening.
It's a real privilege to be part of a group like the Professional Weavers Network that pushes each of its members to extend their weaving practice.