It has been a while since my last post about my 100 days a Journey, but in fact todays post ties in with what I have started about 6 month ago. Bark, along with vines and mahoe (whitey wood) sticks are still dominating my studio work at the moment.

I wouldn’t have thought that I could use those natural materials in so many different ways and whenever I think I am running out of ideas, something new pops up (and keeps me busy). I have been given some bark by friends as well, which adds another layer to the work, each piece has its own little story. What excites me most about working with those materials is that every new piece makes me thinking about how to transform it to its best advantage, every piece has their own challenges, their weaknesses and strengths. Each little taonga is alive and I can only create work with its agreement. You might think I am weird, but I do have silent conversations with my materials in my studio and with the trees in the ngahere (forest).

The forest is the biggest gift/taonga up here in the Ōtaki Gorge, it plays a major roll in my arts practice. Recently I have visited a friend on the other side of the Tararua Ranges and she took me for a walk to ‘her’ forest. The best gift she could have given me. On my way home, I found (by pure accident – yeah right) this little poem by Mary Oliver which I want to share with you because it so resonates with me and the walk that day.

How I go to the Woods

Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend
for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying
as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible
I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an up rise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned.

I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.

This is, very much to the point, what my next solo exhibition is about. Thanks to some twists and turns in my social media channels I met Viv Davy. Viv is the owner of the from out of the blue gallery in Opunake/Taranaki, a small and very lovely gallery just by the sea. The gallery is devoted to all things fibre and textile and I feel very grateful about Viv’s invitation to exhibit my work in her gallery. Even better, she offered me to do an Artist in Residency, so I will be able to start creating new work in response to the place and coastal environment. As part of my residency I will do an artist talk and a workshop, details follow soon on my workshop page.

The exhibition opens on the 18th of February and runs until the 27th of March, opening Thursday – Monday 1pm – 5pm.