Symposium 2020 – it’s not as late as you think

“Jackie O” printed textile by Joanna Campbell. Collection of Auckland Museum 2018.5.1, All Rights Reserved.

“Jackie O” printed textile by Joanna Campbell. Collection of Auckland Museum 2018.5.1, All Rights Reserved.

As you busy yourself with tying up the loose ends on your abstract for this year’s CTANZ symposium, Vision: Hindsight, Foresight, Insight, scheduled for Auckland at the end of July, some good news. Yes, they were due today, but out of the goodness of their hearts, the organising team have extended the deadline to next Monday, 16 March, instead. So, you have another few days to refine that great new idea you’ve had. The Auckland team look forward to receiving it.

Some more official stuff – have you joined or rejoined? Please pay your membership by the end of March. If you’re already a member, you know the drill: direct credit and let Bronwyn Simes know you’ve done so. If you’re new, drop Bronwyn a line about joining, she’ll be delighted to hear from you.


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Happy 2020

“Jackie O” printed textile by Joanna Campbell. Collection of Auckland Museum 2018.5.1, All Rights Reserved.

“Jackie O” printed textile by Joanna Campbell. Collection of Auckland Museum 2018.5.1, All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to another year. We hope you’ve all been able to enjoy relaxing time with family and friends, and members should have received their copies of the glorious summer issue of Context just before Christmas for their holiday reading.

This issue included three papers from the Nelson symposium: the 2020 symposium in Auckland will be earlier, 31 July – 2 August, and the call for papers is now open. You have a couple of months to scope out your perspective on 2020’s Vision: Hindsight, Foresight, Insight theme; abstracts are due in early March. Full details on the symposium page.

Also in the latest issue, reviews of several of many of the textile exhibitions from throughout 2019. If you’re in Wellington, or visiting, you can see Suffrage in Stitches at the Wellington Museum until early April. Other exhibitions around the country include The Pompoms at Christchurch’s CoCA gallery. Designers Julieanne Eason and Carl Pavletich of Shades Arcade have used more than 150 metres of crimson fabric for “an immersive installation made up of ten giant pompoms which dance and swirl to a choreographed routine” (until 2 February). The Dunedin textile community is looking forward to the opening on 10 January of Areez Katki’s much-lauded Bildungsroman, featuring embroideries drawn from exploration of his cultural heritage (Indian/Iranian/Zoroastrastrian). Areez will be in Dunedin for the opening weekend to present a talk on Saturday 11 January at 1pm, and a hands-on workshop 2-4pm (booking required).

Other  exhibitions still on through January in the North Island include Nomads, the exhibition at the Dowse featuring Zena Abbott and Emma Fitts. In Auckland, there’s jewellery: at Te Uru, Handshake 5, and at Objectspace, Elena Gee: World/Body/Myth. Objectspace is also currently exhbiting Ena Snuggles, a quilt created by Mark Braunius in collaboration with Brenda Ronowicz.

There’s more to come during the year, so we’ll keep you posted. Thanks to all of you who have let us know about other events and exhibitions during 2019 and keep the information coming.


Posted in Artists, Auckland, Christchurch, Context Magazine, Dunedin, Embroidery, Exhibitions, Lectures & Talks, Suffrage, Textiles, Wellington, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More talks about dressing, and art, and men

To round off the year, some more interesting talks in Dunedin and Wellington connected to Massey’s Millennial Masculinities conference (at the College of Creative Arts, 10-11 December). Keynote speakers Professor Christopher Breward and Dr Shaun Cole will speak at Te Papa and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Thursday 12 December, 6.30-7.30pm, Soundings Theatre, Te Papa

Collecting & Exhibiting LGBTQI Fashion & Dress

Join Dr Shaun Cole, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, to celebrate and analyse the history of LGBTQI fashion representation in museums and galleries across the world. Enjoy a glass of bubbly after work and explore this fabulous world of fashion which is coming into the spotlight ever more.

Also on Thursday 12 December, 6.30-7.30pm, Dunedin Public Art Gallery

A History of Fashion in Art

Professor Christopher Breward, Director of Collection and Research, National Gallery of Scotland is detouring from Wellington to Dunedin to reflect on examples of fashion painting from the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland’s  representations of fabrics and clothing, their textures and social meanings.

Christopher will return to Wellington for one further Friends of Te Papa session:

Saturday 14 December, 11am-12pm, Rangimarie, L3, Te Papa 

History of the Suit

This lecture, based on Christopher’s recent celebrated book ‘The Suit: Form, Function & Style’ (Reaktion, 2017), unpicks the story of this most familiar ensemble, from its emergence in Western Europe and the Mughal Courts in the seventeenth-century to today.

The Dunedin lecture is free, the Wellington events are organised by Friends of Te Papa and presented in partnership with Te Papa and Massey University. More details, including ticketing for the Te Papa sessions, available through the links above.


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Crafting Aotearoa

tui apronEvery couple of decades, someone takes stock of craft/object art in Aotearoa New Zealand. There was Doreen Blumhardt and Brian Brake’s Craft New Zealand in 1982 and Helen Schamroth’s 100 New Zealand Craft Artists in 1998, both of which won national book awards. The latest in this line is the recently released Crafting Aotearoa, co-edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa U Māhina-Tuai and Damian Skinner, published by Te Papa Press. Unlike its predecessors, its temporal and geographical scope is wide, covering three centuries across the wider Moana / Pacific region. It almost goes without saying that this is a substantial and handsome work which will take some time for anyone to digest; it includes nearly 70 essays by dozens of experts. A significant tranche relate to textile crafts, and CTANZ members are among the many contributors: Stella Lange on school needlework, Natalie Smith on wearable art and Jane Groufsky on quilting, just for starters.

While the book itself will be consumed bite by bite, courtesy of Auckland Museum, there’s more, a selection of online essays as a sister project. Again featuring several CTANZ names, the six sections include  Textiles and Jewellery and adornment.  Among the topics here, Jane Groufsky offers some insight into one of her specialist subjects, bird-related textiles such as the tui apron above. Enjoy this little trove of gems!



Posted in Auckland, Books, Craft, CTANZ people, Embroidery, Jewellery, Maori, Pacific Islands, Textiles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking ahead to Symposium 2020

A heads-up that next year’s symposium has a date – 31 July – 2 August; a place – Auckland University of Technology; and a theme – Vision: Hindsight, Foresight, Insight.

The symposium page has been updated so you can start envisaging what you might want to think about in advance of the call for papers, which will be coming soon. We’ll keep you posted.



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New exhibitions – Auckland and Wellington

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Just opened this weekend (19 October), textile exhibitions at two of the country’s most recognised centres of craft/object art. At Objectspace in Auckland, Mulame is the first solo exhibition by Lema Shamamba, a community leader, educator, mother and storyteller who arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2009 as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mulame’s work originated as stories first drawn to overcome language barriers, then further translated into embroidered narratives, equally personal and political. (Keep an eye out for a review of Malame in the next issue of Context.)

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Mulame: Lema Shamamba, Objectspace 19 Oct-24 Nov 2019

Credit: Zena Abbott, Fibre Fall No. 1, date unknown. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, gifted by the Abbott Family 2018. Image supplied.

Credit: Zena Abbott, Fibre Fall No. 1, date unknown. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, gifted by the Abbott Family 2018. Image supplied.

At the other end of the island, the Dowse has just opened Nomads, featuring the work of pioneering textile artist Zena Abbott (1922-1993) and the contemporary artist Emma Fitts. Abbott was one of New Zealand’s first professional weavers; in 1987, inspired by a documentary about the Nomad Weavers of Turkey, she developed a collaborative project with the Pakuranga Arts Society Fibre Group, Nomads on the Move. The current exhibition includes Abbott’s original Nomads work and other examples of her work from the Dowse collection, as well as Emma Fitts’s contemporary interpretation.

During the exhibition run, the Dowse has arranged a screening of The Black Tent, a 2019 German documentary about the desert tents of the Yoruk nomads.

Nomads: Zena Abbott & Emma Fitts, The Dowse, Lower Hutt, 19 Oct 2019 – 26 Jan 2020 (The Black Tent, 2 November, 2pm)


Also noted:

Posted in Artists, Auckland, Australia, Christchurch, Dowse Art Museum, Embroidery, Emma Fitts, knitting, Objectspace, Radio NZ, Weaving, Wellington | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s on next…

Now that the symposium is behind us, it’s time to think about the next project. Here’s a few opportunities that may be of interest.

Does a conference in Sweden or Bristol sound like fun for 2020? Check out the call for papers (closing soon) for two Association of Dress Historians conferences next year.

Air miles are not required for a couple of other writing opportunities. New Lit Salon Press is seeking short stories for with a fashion focus for Dress You Up: A Capsule Collection of Fashionable Fiction for the Stylish Reader – works of fiction that directly address the significance of clothes and accessories, with the object at the story’s core. If you have something in that might fit the brief (no pun intended), closing date is 1 December.

Back in Aotearoa, the Handshake Project is looking to support developing craft writers and craft professionals! Deadline is on Nov 22, you must be a NZ citizen with a B.A.

A further symposium footnote on media synchronicity during the weekend. Elizabeth Kozlowski and Surface Design were mentioned during the AGM; on Sunday’s Standing Room Only, Lynn Freeman interviewed Elizabeth’s SD collaborator, Lisa Sinner about her work.




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A Common Thread, Nelson 2019

LOGO A-Common-Thread-redSome people don’t see the point of sitting around talking about dress and textiles for a week, but those that do turn up for the annual CTANZ symposium. This year’s, A Common Thread, was held at Nelson’s Suter Gallery the last weekend of September and they were fabulous hosts, with a fabulous programme.

The symposium’s keynote speaker, activist Yasmeen Maria Jones-Chollet, explained the Enslaved by Demand protests she’s staged for the past two years to draw attention to the human and environmental costs of the clothing industry, mass-producing bags and earrings in sweat shop conditions. It was the first of many presentations that addressed issues of justice, current and historical, and a full-throttle start to a full day.

Over the next three days, we heard from producers, artists, curators and researchers about their work making cloth, stories of learning and technology, local national, and international history, the threads of communities. Recidivists caught up with each other’s latest projects; it was also a delight to welcome newcomers both as attendees and presenters and hope we’ve enticed them to join and return. Over 20 presentations, nearly 30 presenters, and moments that moved us to laughter and reflection. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

Between sessions, we had time to explore Nelson, and the Suter’s serendipitously fabric-related exhibitions, a dinner overlooking Nelson’s harbour, scenic bus routes to local textile attractions.

Profuse thanks to the Suter for their warmth and hospitality, and to the generous sponsors who indulged us with various treats. The most profuse thanks however to Paula Haines-Bellamy and the rest of the organising team: Andrea Barnard, Karen Richards, Pam Saunders, Jo Kinross and Moya Montgomery, for a job so well done.

The symposium also means an AGM, and this year saw the election of a new committee, which for the next term will be led by Stella Lange and Natalie Smith as co-presidents and based in Dunedin. Bronwyn Simes will be taking over as treasurer/membership secretary and Moira White as secretary. As immediate past president, Vicki Mossong remains on the committee, as do Jennifer Matheson and Jane Groufsky in Auckland, and Karin Warnaar in Dunedin.

We formally acknowledge the contribution over many years of Kim Smith, outgoing vice-president, treasurer and membership secretary, Angela Lassig, secretary and former president, and of course Vicki. The new committee will take over at the start of the CTANZ year on 1 January. The Auckland team will then turn their attention to organising the 2020 symposium, details of which will be announced shortly. We get to unpack (literally and figuratively) from the Nelson weekend first.


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Indian textiles lecture series at Te Papa 26-29 September

During the 2019 World of Wearable Art season the Friends of Te Papa is hosting three illustrated lectures by Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob on traditional Indian textiles, their history, their connections and their future. Set over 3 one hour sessions Shani and Joji will explore Indigo dye, ikat weaving and the revitalisation of hand-looms in modern fashion houses.

Sari to Sarong_v4

Colour me Indigo – Thursday 26 September 5pm (Te Marae)

Indigo is an ancient dye that attracted the name ‘Blue Gold’ for its strong performance as a high-value trading commodity in ancient times as it was considered a luxury item. It has been used in many civilisations and was popular in Mayan, Egyptian, Japanese, African and Indian cultures. It still is a star performer in today’s fashion in the form of Shibori, tie-dye fabrics and of course the much-loved denim. There is more to indigo than its dreamy blues. Join us on this multi-media journey to uncover the world of indigo and enjoy some fun and entertaining facts that will make you see indigo in a totally different shade.  Also, enjoy viewing the display of all things Indigo!

Sari to Sarong – Saturday 28 September 2pm (Rangimarie)

What is the common thread that ties India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia? It is the ‘Ikat’ weave. The word ‘Ikat’ means ‘tie’ in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages and refers to the tie and dye weaving technique which has been used for centuries to create beautiful artisanal Ikat handlooms.

This multi-media presentation will take you on a journey from the Ikat saree weaving Indian sub-continent to the sarong or panel ikat weaving traditions of the South East Asian countries and show how they are historically linked since ancient times. You will get to appreciate the different types of ikat that are unique to these countries, the stories they tell and their significance in these cultures. There will be examples of ikat weaves from Thailand, Cambodia, India and Indonesia on display so you can touch and feel them.

Indian Fashion: Old is New – Sunday 29 September 2pm (Rangimarie)

Let us take you on a colourful and breathtaking virtual trip to India to see how Indian fashion (clothes, jewellery and accessories) has evolved over the years and the impact it has on the international fashion houses to this day. More and more Indian designers are embracing the traditional handloom weaves, tie and dye, block printing, embroidery, metal work and other embellishing techniques to create fashion that not only honours the rich heritage but also delivers to the modern senses and palate. In India, while traditional wear is still valued, there is now a growing trend of fusion that is taking the old and giving it an exciting modern twist. This multi-media presentation will visually present gorgeous, stylish Indian fusion wearables that will knock your socks off.

Growing trend of fusion_v4

Shani Pillai is of South Indian heritage and has textiles weaving in her DNA from her father’s side of the family. Her mother tongue is Tamil, she also speaks fluent English, Bahasa Malaysia and understands Cantonese.  Joji Jacob’s origins are in Kerala. He speaks fluent English, Hindi and Malayalam (his mother tongue), understands several Indian languages, and has experienced the cultures of several regions of India due to his father’s varied postings in the Indian Army. Their boutique tour business is fast gaining international recognition, with Chanel Fashion House being their latest client.

They are passionate about their cultural heritage and the traditions and arts passed down through the generations. This was distilled when they learnt of Benarasi brocade weavers committing suicide due to cheap Chinese imports robbing them of their traditional livelihood, it was the catalyst that made them decide to support these communities of artisans. This passion has propelled them to off the beaten track villages in different parts of India, through their Threads of Tradition textiles tours, en route meeting and seeing master textile artisans at work. They support selected community development groups that are helping and inspiring communities to develop and maintain their traditional livelihoods.

To book tickets visit The Friends of Te Papa event page. Tickets include refreshments and free parking at Te Papa.


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Symposium, Nelson’s now just a week away

Suter event banner@2x-8A few last minute notes from the Nelson symposium team.

Presenter Deb Donnelly will be exhibiting some of her work at the gallery over the weekend. The kasuri indigo hand loomed  Moving Continents textiles provide a visual bridge for the life of 1950s Japanese immigration to NZ.

Meanwhile, two early registrants for Symposium 2019, Linda Warner and Grace Lai won  the $25.00 Broomfields Vouchers, with thanks to Andrea Dell of Broomfields for her generosity.

The field trips are  full but there are dinner tickets still available.

Thank you to all Nelson registrants for their commitment. It’s going to be a stimulating and enjoyable weekend; we look forward to seeing everyone at the Suter on Friday week.

For more details

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