My mum learnt to do taaniko weaving at Turakina Maori Girls school, and I can't remember what age I was when she showed me. It was probably a long time after I had first begun nagging her about it though. She had a graph book, and we used to look at patterns and adjust the designs to suit what we were making. I remember one time she had been asked by someone to make one for their Maori Warden cap, it was just squares and she moaned everyday about how boring the pattern was to make!
These images are drawn from Sidney Moko-Mead's book The Art of Taaniko weaving and the copy I have published in 1968 was owned by my pakeha grandmother, who taught Taankio weaving in Rotorua. She was also adept at many pakeha handcrafts including fine embroidery and tatting. The hands below are drawn from an image Rangimarie Hetet's hands which when I saw them, reminded me of the knowledge of the hands that was passed down to me by my Mum and Nanna.
I have added ink and water colour pencil's to the original etching prints, to highlight the intricacy of the handiwork and the designs.
So I have been collecting gorgeous collages on my pinterest and having been thinking that I really want to do some, so I have made one of my old books into a 'visual diary' of sorts. I have a long way to go to loosen up, but in the process, I discovered how beautifully colour pencils and ink pens draw onto the old book paper
A few months ago I made these 3 etching plates, which layer over each other, and put one of the best prints into an exhibition for Matariki. I want to do some more prints from the same plates for an upcoming exhibition, and to experiment with the colours more.
One thing about media skill, it is really hard to produce quality results immediately after taking a break for a couple of months. It takes time to refresh the skill knowledge, to re-tie those links between eye and hand and brain! and with printing, this means making quite a few prints to re-find that rythym. And with etching, that takes time.
These 'knowing hands' are improving, but I still think another day or 2 of printing is needed to really bring out their beauty. I am loving the colours though.
The kitchen table today
A couple of days ago I went to the local Sallies to drop off some pre-loved items and as usual, I came home with some more pre-loved items. I've been thinking about small works for an upcoming exhibition, and what to use as a canvas for them. I browsed through the placemats, wooden and metal trays, the picture frame section and then noticed these books - 10c each - what gorgeous covers they have - so here are my canvases, a play with colour pencils shows there is plenty of potential here.
Just need to get busy with experimenting. Draw, paint, print or collage? Or maybe all 4!