Images- Orex gallery, Auckland

You can see the gallery site here

This work has taken a lot of energy to make, at a time when it feels like there isn’t much energy to tap into in the world. I now have a studio at home, and te taiao – nature, has been where my energy has come from. I look out of my windows at the bush and see manuka, a huge sky, my chicken, duck and dog lying close to each other, resting in the sun. It’s a quiet, and strong energy, one that is interconnected, and full of life force. For many years I have worked right in the middle of the city, and would leave the studio to walk to the same cafe every day, sometimes to meet a friend, but also just to be around people. Just quietly being a part of the threads of noise, movement, colour and connection.

This time, in my breaks, I lay on the earth, just like my animals. Papatῡānuku, she is so deep, dark and warm. She says, relax, you are part of it all.

And back in I go, to thread together, stitch together, strengthen and embellish and celebrate little pieces of everything, that come together to be this, what I get to share with you now.

Joint support, 850 x 600 x 150mm approx, silk, canvas, wool, thread, wood, paint, 2022 (detail)

Making art is a way of being, a method, a way for me to understand the world. That everything is connected, and there are ways that go easy, and ways that resist. That there are moments of opening, where things are possible. Practice taking them, take a chance. My work of listening to people, letting them surprise me, is the same as listening to materials – what they want to be, and where they can really sing. Let them be there. In the garden, I have plants that have really struggled, until I moved them, and they were next to the right neighbour. Company really matters. So it is a practice – trying out this next to this, or this?

Open body sailing, 1200 x 800 x 600mm approx, silk, canvas, leather, rope, knitting, wool, thread, wood, paint, 2022

And humour. They are always funny, and they knock me around when I get too serious, too tight. Life force is colourful, energetic, fun, wriggly, sexy, strong. And it’s here, all the time, even as we live through these difficult, disconnected times. It’s something to tap into, always flowing.

It’s right outside the door, clucking and rolling in the dirt and reminding me to play, live, and try, because all of those things are vital to living, and we need more of them than ever. 

This show has taken a year and a half to make, been delayed, and made it all the way to Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. It is, as ever, a gift, an offering. May your life force be strong, may you be well, mauri ora e te whanau.

With grateful thanks to Kaia Hawkins, who has kept me moving, Bridget Kelly, who has kept me soft and strong, Jack Trolove, for all the sharing and knowing, and Creek Waddington, who always knows what to do. The animal teachers – Patches the cat, Bert the dog, Milla the chicken, and Mister Duck.

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