Film festival preview 2019

An impressive Halston dress

An impressive Halston dress

2018 was such a big year for textile/dress movies that it’s seemed that this year has been a bit short of dressy films, but fortunately the NZIFF knows that the frockies come out for the occasion and have scheduled a few for our delectation.

Over the last few years we’ve revelled in the extravaganzas of Dior, McQueen, Westwood, Guo Pei. After gorgeous reflections on Diana Vreeland and Dior, director Frédéric Tcheng has turned his attention to Roy Halston Frowick. It’s another fashion rise and fall that will remind us of all the ways Halston actually deserves the tag of legend, from Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hat to the slinky dresses to impress that were stalwarts of 70s and 80s nightclub style.

The twilight narrative also features in Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent. This film is based on 18 hours of footage from the master’s last collections, alternating between monochrome and black and white and revealing both the end of his working life and Pierre Bergé’s mythmaking.

There’s fiction too: the frocky horror that is In Fabric: ‘Suspiria crossed with an old Farmers catalogue’. There is always space for more frocky horror*, an occasional specialist subgenre in which clothes are not all they seem and the fashion mavens are creepy as (see also The Neon Demon). In Fabric’s red dress (of course) is bought for a special night out and turns out to be really special. “Mordantly funny and stylish”, is how the programme describes it, and it’s turning up in lots of must-see lists.

To wrap up this tranche of movies, almost literally, is Walking on Water, which looks at Christo’s most recent extravagant use of textile, a fabric walkway across and around an Italian lake. (The artist’s signature swathes were a big hit…)

Christo at work

Christo at work

As well as the obvious dress/textile-themed films, there are also films that act as de facto frockumentaries, this year, Maria by Callas. Callas was not just one of the greatest of opera divas, she was also an icon of the height of mid 20th century glamour.

As ever, the links above are to the Auckland programme; the rest of the country will progressively find out which of these we get to see. will take you to all the other sites as well.

*If you enjoy frocky horror (I’ll stop now), you might also fancy looking out a few fashion gothic novels: first and foremost Lee Tulloch’s preposterous and preposterously underrated Wraith, which combines modelling, music and murder and actually pulls it off. Valerie Stivers’s Blood is the New Black and Tara Moss’s The Blood Countess run with a metaphor that can probably be guessed, but they’re slick fun.

Posted in America, Artists, Books, Designers, Fabric, Fashion, Festivals, Film, International, Textiles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Kozlowski visit: Dunedin, Wellington, Auckland May-June 2019

E_Kozlowski_2019CTANZ is delighted to announce the upcoming visit of US textile practitioner and curator Elizabeth Kozlowski, who also edits the Surface Design Journal, the quarterly publication of the US-based Surface Design Association. Organised in conjunction with CTANZ, Elizabeth’s visit is being funded by Creative New Zealand  so she can engage with fibre and textile artists and curators here on local practice. The focus of her time here in late May-early June will be a series of lectures and workshops in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland,  aimed at developing and expanding dialogue around contemporary craft practice across the New Zealand arts community, with a specific focus on textiles.Elizabeth will also visit textile artists in their studios. This project is an important opportunity for professional development of textile based creatives, involving as it does, dialogue around creative practice, exhibition and publication, here locally in New Zealand and with an eye to future international prospects.

The lectures are free and public so no booking is required. The generous input of our hosts mean the workshops are also fee, but these are limited to 20 places in each centre so will require booking.   The schedule of events is as follows:


  • Friday 24 May, 9am-3pm Dunedin Creative Spaces workshop at the Dunedin School of Art
  • Saturday 25 May, 3pmTextile and Privilege, open lecture, Dunedin Public Art Gallery


  • Thursday 30 May, 5.30pm Textile and Privilege lecture, Massey University, Wellington, Room 10A02, Theatrett (Ground floor, east side of Block 10 aka the Old Museum Building, Massey University. It’s accessible through Entrance D Buckle St, Mt Cook, Wellington.)
  • Saturday 1 June, 10am-12pm Creative Spaces workshop, The Dowse Free; light lunch provided. Bookings essential- registrations via Eventbrite.


  • Wednesday 5 June, 5-6pm Textile and Privilege public lecture, WH418, Auckland University of Technology, Wellesley Street,
  • Thursday 6 June, 1.30-4pm, Creative Spaces Workshop, WM601C, Auckland University of Technology (contact Mandy Smith to book)

The lecture Elizabeth is delivering in the three venues is Textile and privilege: Decolonizing institutional spaces and practices, in which she will share her professional practice as it relates to curatorial activism (a term coined by Maura Reilly) and the decolonization of museum spaces. She will also provide an overview of her most recent exhibition,  Domestication which utilizes the framework of traditional fiber-based techniques as sculptural explorations invested in the dismantling of historical markers of gender.

The Creative Spaces workshops will provide the opportunity for Elizabeth and 20 local contributors with expertise in relevant fields to workshop through important societal issues from a cross-disciplinary approach that includes anthropology, museum and curatorial studies, and community engagement. The goal is to generate new ideas and provide a pathway towards multiple perspectives on particular issues including the politics of research and representation from within both an academic and artistic institutional setting. This is an open, collaborative space where new knowledge is formed and shared. Because places are so limited, we will find a way of reporting back, possibly through Context later in the year.

Cover_Spring2018_Pattern Cover

UK-based Jessica Hemmings, a leading thinker in contemporary craft, advocates for writing that moves “back and forth” between knowledge of making and writing and which situates the object within a broader context. As both a maker and curator Elizabeth Kozlowski is in an ideal position to facilitate a ‘back and forth’ dialogue between writers, curators and practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand at a time when the call to develop critical language relevant to craft is gaining considerable traction.  Her insight and role as editor of an international journal with a consolidated history in creative textiles makes her, in Professor Leoni Schmidt’s (of the Dunedin School of Art) words, “an excellent choice to lead this workshop series… able to foster fresh, and diverse making and writing relationships and allow re-imagined understandings of craft and art to be articulated”

For more information about Elizabeth and Surface Design, check out this profile from the Surface Design organisation:

Images supplied:

Installation view of “Material Domestication, 2019, Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, California, USA. Image courtesy of Dallis Willard

Surface Design Journal covers courtesy of Elizabeth Kozlowski

Posted in America, Auckland, Craft, Dowse Art Museum, Dunedin, International, lecture series, Lectures & Talks, Local events, Museums, Textiles, Wellington, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CTANZ subscription reminder

Have you joined CTANZ? A quick reminder that with membership running for the calendar year, 1 January-31 December, subs are due by the end of March to ensure you’re on the mailing list for the Context in the middle and end of the year, and discounted registration to September’s symposium in Nelson (see our symposium page for the Call for Papers, which closes at the end of April).

Membership Rates

* $NZ 50.00 waged

* $NZ 35.00 unwaged

Payment details:

  • Cheque payable to Costume and Textile Association of NZ, posted to Kim Smith, 83 Rose Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021
  • Direct Credit to CTANZ BNZ account 02-0100-0345145-00 with your name and SUB 16 as reference. Please advise Kim by email if you pay by DC.

Joining if you’re not a member is almost as easy: complete the membership form and send to Kim Smith at, and make your payment as above.

Thank you – we look forward to keeping in touch.

Posted in Context Magazine, Official stuff, Symposium | Leave a comment

Symposium 2019, Nelson – Call for papers

Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū

Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū

CTANZ is delighted to announce that the  2019 CTANZ symposium will be in Nelson, Friday 27-Sunday 29 September, hosted by the Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū.

 Te Tau Ihu (the top of the South Island) has a long and rich history of Māori and European occupation.  Māori have been here since the 1300s, with the first recorded contact between Māori and Pākehā in 1642 when Dutch explorer Abel Tasman’s two ships sailed into Golden Bay.  Nelson, the New Zealand Company’s second settlement, was established in 1841.

The Nelson region was home to some of the earliest textile manufacturing industries in New Zealand. From 1844 Thomas Blick was weaving woollen fabric and tanning leather in Brook Valley, not far from The Suter Gallery; around 1845 Mr Natrass and Mr Edwards established flax mills in Nelson, with more being set up throughout the region; in 1846 hosiery was being manufactured; and an experimental silk industry was established by Thomas Batchelor between 1860 and 1870. In the 20th century a cotton mill was to be built in Nelson; construction stopped when the deal collapsed, the half-completed mill became an automotive assembly plant in the mid-60s, and is now where you will find the National WOW Museum & Nelson Classic Car Collection.

The Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand (CTANZ) welcomes you to Nelson, to the 2019 Symposium, A COMMON THREAD, being held 27 – 29 September, at The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū.

common adjective usual; ordinary; widespread; familiar; frequent; easily obtained, not rare; shared by, coming from, or done by two or more people, groups, or things; of the most familiar type; belonging to or involving the whole of a community or the public at large.


The theme provides scope for diversity of interpretation, allowing you to explore what is common to us all, and for us to present stimulating talks and related exhibitions united by our passion for all things fabric and fibre.  We invite papers that explore a range of perspectives in relation to historical, vintage and contemporary costume, fashion and textiles.

Presentations are to be 20 minutes in length, followed by Q&A.  Please submit your abstract (up to 300 words) together with a short biography (up to 100 words) as a Word document, saved as “surname_firstname.docx” by 30th April 2019 to

  • On the first page please include your full name, paper title, and contact email address.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by 30th May 2019.
  • Applicants are not required to be members of the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand (CTANZ).
  • Final papers will be eligible for inclusion in Context, a peer reviewed CTANZ bi-annual publication.

Registration information  for the symposium A COMMON THREAD will be available soon, and the programme will be advised soon after presenters have been notified.

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What to do in the holidays – textile edition

Kate Sheppard detail from Genevieve Packer's suffrage panel.

Kate Sheppard detail from Genevieve Packer’s suffrage panel at Wellington Museum. Picture: Genevieve Packer

Happy Christmas, everyone.

Whatever your festive season holds for you, the annual New Zealand shut down will mean most of us will have time on our hands, and many will be spending time in parts of the country other than our home bases.

Fortunately, this gives the travellers opportunities to visit museums and galleries not normally within easy reach. While not everywhere has something of particular interest for the textile aficionado currently on display, there’s plenty of treasures to be found.

Matekino Lawless, image by Anne Shirley, supplied by Tauranga Art Gallery

Matekino Lawless, image by Anne Shirley, supplied by Tauranga Art Gallery

  • Maureen Lander’s Flatpack Whakapapa has made it to the Govett-Brewster in New Plymouth, again until March.
  • Down Wellington way, Expressions Whirinaki in Upper Hutt is currently showing the Mount Felix tapestry, a community stitch project created in England and New Zealand between 2015 and 2017 to commemorate and honour the 27,000 Kiwi soldiers treated at the Mt Felix ANZAC hospital at Walton on Thames from 1915 onwards, and the staff and community that cared for them.
  • Another commemorative project has recently been unveiled at Wellington Museum: Genevieve Packer’s artwork celebrating 31 prominent New Zealand women, commissioned by the museum as part of Suffrage125 events. Close to 4 x 2.5m, the white  leather silhouettes appliqued on red acrylic awning canvas now hang in the old Wellington Harbour Board boardroom, where they can be viewed when the room is not otherwise in use.

Suffrage125 by Genevieve Packer at Wellington MuseumSuffrage125 by Genevieve Packer at Wellington Museum (picture Genevieve Packer)

  • The boardroom is also the site of a further session of Suffrage in Stitches, a fabric workshop to rework the suffrage petition, next running 9-13 January 2019.

Similar events have been part of  2018’s Suffrage125 year celebrations, and although it’s now wound down, there are still a few legacy projects to come. One of these is Dunedin artist Janet de Wagt’s National Banner Project, a collaboration with Heritage New Zealand. Supported by the Suffrage125 community fund, Janet’s project involved seven workshops around the country to produce banners that will be hung in Wellington’s Old Government Buildings in April next year.

Creative New Zealand has since announced further funding, the Suffrage 125 Fund, to “support high quality arts projects recognising the contribution to women’s rights by women from diverse cultural backgrounds”.  There will be rounds of $100,000 in 2019 and 2020, maximum $20,000 per project, first round closes 15 Feb 2019.

Finally, there’s one more panel to report on, at Toitu in Dunedin. Among the textile highlights in their Suffrage and Beyond exhibition (runs well into 2019), is a glorious set of panels created by the Otago Embroiderers’ Guild for the 1993 suffrage centenary, highlighting some of Dunedin’s trailblazing women. For this year’s celebrations, a further panel has been added honouring another of Dunedin’s and New Zealand’s most renowned daughters, writer Janet Frame.

As always, this is just the stuff that we know about. If you’re travelling, do check out the local museums and galleries, whatever they’re offering. And if you’re a museum or gallery with a textile exhibition coming up, you’re most welcome to use the comments to let us know about your show, or email me with details and images so I can post a preview.

Best wishes from all of us on the CTANZ team for our members and readers for happy and safe festivities. Mere kirihimete.

Posted in Auckland, Dunedin, Embroidery, Exhibitions, Heritage, Local events, Maori, Museums, Taranaki, Tauranga, Textiles, Weaving, Wellington | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November update – textile stories on air and in print

Lots of recent coverage of textile events and people involved in CTANZ, including our members, our symposium speakers and attendees and subjects, offering up a rabbit warren of links.

For starters, coming up on Choice TV this week (Monday 26 November, 8.30pm) a documentary on Anna Williams’s relationship with the nomadic Qashqai rugmakers of Iran. (More preview articles here and here, Anna, who presented at the September symposium, has also  been interviewed about her work and the documentary by RNZ).

Other symposium presentations included our keynote by Nina Tonga on Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists. The recent Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards honoured Pacific Sister Rosanna Raymond with the Senior Pacific Artist accolade for her three decades as “curator, artist, performer, guest speaker and workshop leader”. (Rosanna’s work featured on the excellent Māori TV series Artefact.) Also recognised at the Pacific Arts Awards were mother and daughter Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows and Tui Emma Gillies, makers of Tongan tapa and other work inspired by their heritage, like  this beautiful  neckpiece on display in Otago Museum’s est. 1868 exhibition (on until April 2019).

Kahoa heilala necklace, Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows, 2014. F2014.107. Golan Fund. Otago Museum, Dunedin, image Kane Fleury

Kahoa heilala necklace, Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows, 2014. F2014.107. Golan Fund. Otago Museum, Dunedin. Image Kane Fleury, used courtesy Otago Museum

There’s more Pacific textile art to view in Auckland: at Objectspace until 3 February 2019, To Weave Again: Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa, the work of this  New Zealand-based female arts collective from Niutao Island, Tuvalu. And of course, it’s now been confirmed that Te Papa’s Pacific Sisters: He Toa Tāera | Fashion Activists will open in Auckland during the 2019 Auckland Arts Festival, with the exhibition on at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki until 14 July.

More CTANZ people  on the radio and in press include Angela Lassig talking to Wallace Chapman about her research on 19th century shopping, and the Loom Room’s Christine Keller as part of a Standing Room Only wool-themed episode that also included an interview with the editors of The Wool Lover. More wool and weaving also featured in North & South’s piece on Sue and Rod McLean.

Last but not least for CTANZ members, Context is on its way to your letterbox very soon, with lots more threads to follow up.


Posted in Artists, Auckland, Awards, Craft, CTANZ people, Dunedin, Exhibitions, Festivals, Film, Jewellery, Media, Movies, Museums, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Symposium, Textiles, Weaving, wool | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christchurch gets crafty

Rag rug making by Vita Cochran

Rag rug making by Vita Cochran

One of the many interesting projects to arise in Christchurch over the past few years has been Rekindle, which began as a means of trying to recycle materials from their post-earthquake state of their demolition. At the Arts Centre 8-17 November, their latest initiative, Necessary Traditions, offers a week with a wide range of demonstrations and workshops, including several highlights for the textile crowd.

Vita Cochran will be visiting from Sydney to pass on her grandmother’s rag-rug practice. This centuries-old craft developed out of necessity when textiles were expensive; now it offers further options for otherwise landfill-bound fabrics. Vita is of course well known for her handbags and other objects, which are held in collections across NZ. At the main weekend festival event, Vita will be sharing the making of a large communal rag rug, before taking workshops during the following week.

Louise Clifton will be bringing the Shoe School to Necessary Traditions, with presentations during the weekend, and three day-long workshops making sneakers from leather sourced as offcuts from local businesses from the 12thNovember. Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Christchurch, Craft, Festivals, Heritage, Sustainability, wool, Workshops | Leave a comment

It’s a wrap


The bunting has been bundled away, the weather almost held for the duration, and most of the organising committee and, we suspect, our guests are now winding down after an intense and stimulating weekend. This post is mostly for those of you who attended: thank you for making the trip down, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed hosting you, listening to your presentations and talking with you. Everyone’s thanks to Stella Lange, for offering to host, rounding up the team and wrangling us and the Otago Polytechnic crew, who were terrific.

Warm thanks to our speakers. We began both days with keynotes: on Saturday morning,   CTANZ stalwart Jane Malthus shared with us the depth and breadth of her knowledge and research expertise in talking about 19th century dress activism, particularly in New Zealand. Sunday’s speaker, Te Papa’s Nina Tonga, delighted and moved us as she recounted the more recent fashion activism of the Pacific Sisters, from their beginnings to the exhibition Nina recently curated for Te Papa (good news: it’s going to tour).

Thanks too, of course, to all our other speakers, who make the symposium possible, for  giving their time to offer us considered their many and varied approaches to the topic, noting especially those who came from outside New Zealand, Mercedes Pardo, from Colombia and Michael Marendy from Australia. Also to the artists who shared their skills in the Unbound exhibition and the symposium pop-ups – we look forward to seeing Angela Rowe’s project.

That’s all from Symposium 2018. The symposium page will imminently be archived and replaced with a placeholder for the 2019 Symposium, venue and dates to be confirmed. Until next year…haere ra.

Posted in Dunedin, Symposium | Tagged | 2 Comments

Unbound: the exhibition

Exhibition openingAlongside the Unbound symposium, the Dunedin School of Art Gallery is also hosting Unbound: the exhibition from 21 September – 18 October, 2018 (Open:10am – 4pm, week days, and  Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September, 9am-4pm.) Co-curated by Dr Natalie Smith and Victoria Bell, Unbound: the exhibition features work by Artists: Professor Margo Barton, Anita DeSoto, Edwards + Johann, Steve Lovett, Michelle Mayn, Dylan McCutcheon-Peat with Simon Swale, Victoria McIntosh, Marie Strauss with Justin Spiers and Susan Videler.

The opening night, 5.30 – 8pm on Friday 21 September 2018, which is also the welcome to the symposium, and includes a Citizen Styled event by Professor Margo Barton.
The Dunedin School of Art Gallery is in P Block, Otago Polytechnic – Te Kura Matatini ki Otago, (Entrance off Riego Street. For those unfamiliar with Dunedin, this is at the stadium end of Albany Street).


Exhibition Premise:

Christine Webster, Black Carnival Series 1992-1994. Courtesy of Christine Webster.

Christine Webster, Black Carnival Series 1992-1994. Courtesy of Christine Webster.

Unbound: the exhibition presents artworks in response to Christine Webster’s Cibachrome photograph of model Tamati James from the series, Black Carnival (1993-97), an image chosen as a contemporary contrast to Tearing off the Bonds (1912) by American cartoonist Lou Rogers, the image that appears throughout symposium paraphernalia.  These images bookend dialogues about women’s liberation surveyed over the weekend of the symposium.

 The yet still dangerous image of James in Black Carnival #48, 1995, his body partly veiled in a white wedding dress, body luminous in a black void, smiling eyes, gazing at the viewer, blurs gender assumptions, notions of desire, and links to continuing debates on the fluidity of dress, bodies and sexualities, contemporarily relevant to the current moment of social rights activism today. While Webster’s image is from the early 1990s, in 2018 the curators feel that it reiterates the goals of the suffragists and suffragettes[1]. Although suffrage was associated strongly with women’s rights, Smith and Bell are interested in recalling the wider historical search for equality and equity, for all people, in relation to the impact over the last 20 years of Queer Theory and the current recognition of the plurality of gender and sexual identity in Western cultures. In this manner, we feel that Unbound: the exhibition echoes the spirit of those early women and their courage to stand up. Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Dunedin, Symposium | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A final pre-symposium post for Suffrage Day

Suffrage_symbol_FWherever you were on 19 September, there was a Suffrage125 event to enjoy, and the celebrations are continuing around the country. Including, of course, in Dunedin this weekend, so two last posts about what’s on down here as well as the actual programme of speakers that’s the main business of symposium. Following this, a separate piece on Unbound: the exhibition, the opening for which is the first event of the symposium proper.

But first, a brief rundown on what you can expect on Saturday and Sunday at the Hub, Otago Polytechnic’s main communal space which is where we’ll be gathering between sessions.

  • A one-day pop-up shop for items made by design and visual art students

    Lou Rogers, Tearing Off the Bonds, “Modern Woman” column from The Judge, c 1912-13. Source: Wikimedia Commons

    Lou Rogers, Tearing Off the Bonds, “Modern Woman” column from The Judge, c 1912-13. Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • A Knit/Craft lounge for dropping into during the symposium – bring your portable BYO projects to work on or pick up or relearn a hands on skill like knitting, crochet or stitching. Share your skills or ask for help from other aficionados.
  • A Loom Room space, for those who haven’t been able to get down to North East Valley to see what Christine Keller and her students have been doing this week.
  • Unbound: Gathering Material, Angela Rowe’s project involving the “creation of a garment that may be viewed as an historical document, recording the symposium as an event. It may represent a physical ‘checking in’, a common practice on social media, while the finished object becomes a tangible document of this event, a collection of autographs or marks which may represent the only time this group of individuals are present together”. Other attendees are invited to add their signature or mark to pieces of the garment Angela is creating over the weekend.
  • Stitch Kitchen, founded in 2015 as a shared passion for working on a local solution to the global fashion waste problem, will be  running lunchtime workshops on Furoshiki wrapping and making Origami bags and bin liners to encourage you on your path to being plastic free.  The Stitch Kitchen area will include Pam McKinlay’s Tragic Plastic with an Armageddon Sunset (woven with the guidance of Vivien Dwyer), a participatory weaving project in Ōku Moana (My Oceans) in the International New Zealand Science Festival, 2018.






Posted in Dunedin, Shopping, Students, Sustainability, Symposium, Textiles | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment