Still more exhibitions…

Georgina May Young - cotton embroidery on vintage Zweigart Kingston Linen

Georgina May Young – cotton embroidery on vintage Zweigart Kingston Linen

This is getting ridiculous. Over the past two months, this blog has highlighted almost a dozen exhibitions around the country featuring some dress or textile interest, and there’s almost as many on the list to note between now and the end of October. Here’s the first few, either closing or opening this week.

One that almost got away is Labour of Body at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson, which finishes on 15 September. More images at the Arts Diary link below include Arielle Walker’s foraged natural dyes on vintage wool blanket, and Kathryn Tsui and Doris Tsui’s cross stitch work, as well as Georgina May Young’s embroidery above. The arc of the exhibition is the different narratives of these artists who work in textiles, from the traditions of embroidery and weaving to fibre installations and masks.

Tivaevae gown, Karen Walker and Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās, led by Aitutaki-born Tukua Turia

Tivaevae gown, Karen Walker and Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās, led by Aitutaki-born Tukua Turia

Meanwhile, just opening (at last) is the new New Zealand Fashion Museum exhibition, Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now, at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Titirangi, Auckland. The museum’s call for funding for its new blue mannequins took only a few days to reach its target, and they’re ready for their debut. It will be fabulous, as always. Congratulations, Doris and team, we look forward to the publication, and to next year, when NZFM celebrates its 10th anniversary.

And in Dunedin, opening on 9 September is the latest in a series of annual collaborations between University of Otago scientists and Otago Polytechnic and local artists. Art and Water: Mountains to the Sea presents artworks inspired by the scientific research, and this year includes several textile works: weaving by Christine Keller and Pam McKinlay, Vivien Dwyer’s tapestry, Stella Lange’s knitting, Georgina Young’s embroidery, and Heramahina Eketone’s raranga. The exhibition runs from 9-21 September at the Otago Museum HD Skinner Annex If you aren’t going to be in Dunedin, but think it sounds interesting, the polytech information page also includes a link to an online catalogue.

Coming soon – more in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. If you know of others, Contact us. If you’d like to review something you’ve seen for Context, likewise.




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It’s symposium month – Nelson beckons

LOGO A-Common-Thread-redIt’s September, and that means it’s only a few weeks now until CTANZ members and other textile / costume aficionados converge in Nelson for A Common Thread, the 2019 symposium. It looks like a terrific programme, featuring the important universal issues – sustainability, the threads shared across communities and across history, examinations of threads themselves, among many interpretations of the theme.

The organisers have also included opportunities for us to explore textiles currently being exhibited at the Suter, and elsewhere, plus free time and options of field trips. It’s going to be a great weekend: if you haven’t already, today’s a great day to register.

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Auckland to Ashburton, via Nelson and Wellington

There are textile/ costume events and exhibitions up the wazoo over the next two months. Most important of these is the CTANZ symposium in Nelson 27-29 September. Register before 1 September and you could win a $25 gift voucher from lovely Nelson craft supplies shop, Broomfields & Co. But register, because the programme’s terrific.

Kicking off on 26 August is this year’s NZ Fashion Week, which includes the usual industry events, the usual more open fashion weekend, and a great programme in partnership with Auckland’s Central City Library, with a focus on sustainable fashion.

Hands-on and hand-made sewing workshops encouraging renewable fashion, fashionable talks, clothes swaps, 3D and block printing and upcycled miniature fashion for toys are on offer from 26 August to 1 September to help champion a sustainable approach to self-expression.

Masterworks buttons 2019

Also just opened in Auckland, though on for a month, is Masterworks Gallery’s biennial “Button’ exhibition, showing just over 20 artists  using a variety of materials from textiles, embroidery, metals, stone, wood, paper, ceramic and stone. If this seems familiar, it’s because the Gallery had such a hit when they invited button art in 2017 that they decided to make it regular.

While Auckland’s doing fashion week, Wellington’s doing food, with Wellington on a Plate. But it’s not without textile innovation, with Australian artist Chili Philly in town to combine cooking and hooking with No Way Crochet at Te Auaha, NZ Institute of Creativity. As interviewed on Nine to Noon, with a lot of giggling, because everyone needs a giant crochet lemon meringue pie in their head.

Another biennial exhibition opening on 25 August is a bit further afield: the Ashburton Embroiderers’ Guild’s Gathering of Threads at the Ashburton Art Gallery.  The Ashburton guild, one of 58! guilds affiliated in NZ, began 47 years ago and became a guild in 1978.




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An August fabricolage

imagesThis weekend Aucklanders have the temptation of the Vintage Textile Fair‘s all-genuine-vintage clothes, furs, handbags, linen, shoes, jewellery, lace, buttons, patterns, books, fabric, etc etc. The ultimate in recycling, at Alexandra Park Raceway, Sunday 25 August, 10am-4pm, $10 entry.

There’s also an Original Vintage + Retro Fashion Pop-Up Shop in Dunedin Friday 6  and Saturday 7 September, at St Peter’s Anglican Church Hall, Hillside Road, 11.30am-6pm and 10am-4.30pm respectively. Cash only, bring your own bags.

The NZ Fashion Museum‘s already had a great response to a Boosted call for donations so the Moana Currents exhibition will have shiny new mannequins. Because the existing set are are “way too fashion store window”, the NZFM team is commissioning 16 “new people”, of varying shapes and sizes, in a new-people blue, and adorned with Pacific tattoo art to complement the modern Pacific fashion of the exhibition, which opens in September at Te Uru.

If you’re looking for ways to support New Zealand’s cultural sector, Creative New Zealand would like your input into into its plan for supporting sustainable careers in the arts. Arts practitioners and advocates are invited to offer feedback on principles that could contribute to a culture sector that will nurture its talent to survive and thrive.

A bit further afield, but if Victoria’s on your agenda between now and the end of the year, Bendigo Art Gallery maintains its admirable record of fabulous textile and dress exhibitions with two just opened. Desert Lines: Batik from Central Australia brings together around 60 selected works from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, while Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, exclusive to Bendigo Art Gallery in Australia, showcases more than 100 garments and hats from the master’s heyday. Both run 17 August – November.

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Symposium update

CTANZ A Common Thread Symposium 2019

The 2019 symposium is just over a month away and we have some new announcements, notably the unveiling of the programme, which looks fabulous. Over 20 presentations from around 30 presenters, with the usual mix of familiar and new names and faces and range of topics. Download and share the poster and programme and get on with registering – those who do so by the end of August will go in the draw for one of two $25 gift vouchers from the lovely Broomfields & Co handcraft shop.

CTANZ Symposium 2019 Programme August

The schedule is spread out over three days with free time for visitors to check out the city. As well as the Suter exhibitions, it’s the final weekend for the Nelson exhibition of Areez Katki’s Bildungsroman collection (as featured in the Context which has just arrived in members’ letterboxes), in which Katki uses needle based crafts to explore his Zoroastrian and Parsi heritage. You may have read Jane Groufsky’s wonderful review of this exhibition; if you missed it in Auckland and won’t get to see it on its next stop in Dunedin, this is fortuitous.

Also noted in the handsome new Context is that this is a CTANZ election year, as Vicki Mossong has come to the end of her time as president. The Auckland-based committee has given generously of time, energy and enthusiasm over the past few years, and deserve the handover of the baton to another team. If you’re interested, nominations (nominee, nominator and seconder to sign) can be made at the AGM or sent ahead of time via the Membership Secretary

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Calls for papers

Art Association of Australia and NZ, December 2019

A very last minute call for papers for the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand (AAANZ) conference to be held at the University of Auckland and Unitec Institute of Technology 3-6 December 2019. The theme, Ngā Tūtaki – Encounter/s: Agency, Embodiment, Exchange, Ecologies, includes an invitation for papers on a session on The Inclusive Turn: Fashion’s ‘Other’ Bodies, to be convened by Dr Laini Burton: Griffith University, and exploring the proposition that “the 21st century fashion industry has embraced what might otherwise be expressed as ‘The Inclusive Turn’. Moving beyond the archetypal fashion model (tall, slim, white), corporal variations are now appearing on the runway and in media campaigns. Historically marginalised bodies—non-white, non-binary, transgender, older, plus-size, and differently-abled—are beginning to receive recognition, propelling the agentic capacity of fashion’s ‘Other’ bodies to represent themselves, and be represented… Papers will address topics that include, but are not limited to: Adaptive/accessible fashion; analyses of fashion media and/or exhibitions; body positivity; decolonising fashion; the economics of inclusivity; size-inclusive fashion; feminist/queer interpretations of diversity in fashion; idealised bodies in fashion history; historical precedents of diversity in fashion; modest fashion; and, visibility and representation.”

Conference website

Submit paper proposals to: but you’ll have to be quick, closing date is Friday 16 August.

Fashion in the Library

On a slightly longer time frame, there’s also an invitation for submissions by 1 December 2019 for a special Fashion in the Library issue of Library Trends (publication August 2021) on the “intersection of fashion and libraries”, which is perceived as an “increasingly productive vector for inquiry”. There’s a reason for the L in GLAM, so if this seems like a heaven-made match to you, you’ll find further details here


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New exhibitions

Barbara Graf, image supplied.

Barbara Graf, image supplied.

Throughout August – September, there are textiles floating through galleries from Dunedin to Auckland. Here’s a brief rundown.

Dunedin School of Art Gallery: Corporeal Explorations, 6-16 August. Be in quick for this exhibition of work by DSA Artist in Residence, Barbara Graf. Barbara is an artist and lecturer at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the Textile Department. In her work she investigates body representations and develops flexible sculptures as a second skin. The main media are drawing, sculpture, photography and film. Since 2004 she has been working in artistic research projects dealing with medical issues.

Moving up the island to Nelson, the Suter Art Gallery’s current mixed media collaborative show by Alexis Neal and Elke Finkenauer, Something to Remember, runs to 6 October. In September, just in time for the CTANZ symposium in Nelson, it will be joined by Dunedin textile artist Jay Hutchinson’s The archaeology of the discarded, forgotten and thrown away, which builds on Hutchinson’s work from the last two years as well as presenting new ‘discarded’ objects and an ambitious full sized embroidered fence.

Across the strait, for August only, is Suffrage in Stitches at Wellington Museum. The project, was developed for last year’s Suffrage 125  by Suffrage in Stitches, matches the length of the original petition and consists of 546 individually designed fabric panels (number of pages in the original petition) telling the stories of those who signed the petition or relatives who’ve influenced the 546 makers. The work includes the names of 546 women and over 27,000 hand-stitched marks, one for each signature on the petition, along with multiple surface decoration techniques.

Cynthia Johnson quilt, image Jess Johnson, supplied

Cynthia Johnson quilt, image Jess Johnson, supplied

Up in Tauranga, you might not expect textiles in an exhibition on virtual reality, but Terminus is created by Simon Ward and Jess Johnson, and Jess collaborates with her quilter mother Cynthia Johnson on large scale collaborative wall hangings, a selection of which feature in the exhibition, which runs through to late October at Tauranga Art Gallery.

Photograph by Mara Sommer courtesy of NZ Fashion Museum

Photograph by Mara Sommer courtesy of NZ Fashion Museum

Finally, for now, there’s Auckland. At Auckland Museum, there’s bags of interest at Carried Away. which unpacks over 150 bags from the museum’s collection (until 1 December). But the upcoming highlight is the NZ Fashion Museum’s new exhibition in partnership with Te Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now.  Curated by Doris de Pont and Dan Ahwa, Moana Currents celebrates contemporary expression in jewellery, clothing, textile, and body adornment in New Zealand. Complimented by art installations, video and performances the exhibition undresses the layers of references and invites the audience to consider the making of Aotearoa style. This three-part project includes the Te Uru exhibition, which opens 7 September and runs until 1 December, and the Fashion Museum’s usual accompanying book and online exhibition at



Posted in Artists, Auckland, Craft, Dunedin, Embroidery, Exhibitions, Fabric, Museums, Nelson, New Zealand Fashion Museum, Suffrage, Tauranga, Textiles, Wellington | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Symposium 2019 – registrations are open

LOGO A-Common-Thread-red

The countdown has begun to this year’s CTANZ symposium, A Common Thread, hosted by the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson. Registrations are open, and the organising team is beginning to share the teaser details. We’ll post when the programme comes up, but do keep an eye on the symposium page as well.

This year’s lineup includes speakers from around New Zealand and as far as Australia. The opening speaker, Yasmeen Jones-Chollet is passionate about an issue which affects us all:. the conditions of the fashion worker.  In April she demonstrated in Nelson’s CBD for 16 hours a day for 8 days “in order to present a real time, tactile example of the lives that so many are being forced into, through our demand for fast fashion and our ignorance and/or apathy as to the story behind the production of each item”.

The Suter’s exhibition programme for September includes Jay Hutchinson’s textiles, the archaeology of the discarded, forgotten and thrown away, and a collaborative mixed media exhibition by Alexis Neal and Elke Finkenauer, Something to Remember. Friday evening’s programme includes an exhibition floor talk, while there’s non-programme time on Saturday and Sunday mornings to allow for checking out Nelson’s markets or going on a field trip to one of Nelson’s attractions – the Broadgreen Historic House or the World of Wearable Art and Classic Car Museum.

We look forward to sharing with you more details of the programme a bit closer to the time. Roll on September!


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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.

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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