Confluent 2015 exhibition opening this Friday! This is an annual collaboration between local  poets and artists.
Join and enjoy poems and art works in different media over a beer or wine and some nibbles!con-fluent 2015

This is  a taster of my work reflecting on a poem of Hal Gimpelson.
confluent

 

As part of the Matariki Celebrations on the Kapiti Coast environmental jeweller JoAnna Mere and myself were weaving stars with kids using Harakeke (New Zealand flax). Matariki is the Māori name for a cluster of stars (the Pleiades), which arise in mid winter. Matariki symbolize the start of the Māori new year, the end of the harvest, when food was abundant but is also a time to remember the deceased.
In Māori language matariki means “eyes of god”.

For me it was the first time to give a workshop with kids but surprisingly enough those little ones were really lovely, keen on learning, and all of them left happily with a woven star and more ideas to follow up at home. Thanks to JoAnna for this experience and to Mahara Gallery, the initiators and hosts of this event.

Weaving workshop with Birgit MoffattJoAnna Mere

Happy kids

Weaving workshop with Birgit Moffatt Weaving workshop with Birgit Moffatt

Weaving workshop with Birgit MoffattWeaving workshop with Birgit Moffatt

Wintertime is snuggle time, it has to be warm and cosy inside. I made these snuggeries from harakeke (NZ flax) and red hot poker pulp which I harvested and stored in the freezer earlier this year.

harakeke paper snuggery by Birgit Moffatt harakeke paper snuggery by Birgit Moffatt
Harakeke and linen fibres

harakeke paper snuggery by Birgit Moffatt
Red hot poker

harakeke paper snuggery by Birgit Moffatt harakeke paper snuggery by Birgit Moffatt harakeke paper snuggery by Birgit Moffatt
Harakeke and red hot poker

 

 

 

an idea further developed. I knotted those kowhai seed pods together to achieve a bit more structure and see what came out of this. Thanks Elise, she is such a patient hat model.kowhai seedpods by Birgit Moffatt kowhai seedpods by Birgit Moffatt kowhai seedpods by Birgit Moffatt kowhai seedpods by Birgit Moffatt

Done! I always wanted to be able to weave a hat, I had the opportunity to learn some new techniques in my raranga (flax weaving course) in Levin, NZ.  So I gave it a go!harakeke potae by Birgit Moffatt harakeke potae by Birgit Moffatt

 

The brim maybe a bit short but it fits perfect. I am going to give it away as that is a Maori custom, to give the first new woven type of weaving away. Really good to know I can weave another one:)harakeke potae by Birgit Moffatt harakeke potae by Birgit Moffatt harakeke potae by Birgit Moffatt

 

The cold time of the year has arrived, so making comfortable  and warming merino scarves using eco print felt just right.

A walk on our farm and through my neighborhood picking the last colorful leaves. Good that the natives don’t loose their leaves during winter time.eco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatt

Placing the leaves on merino knit fabric (wool and natural dyes have an affinity for each other), then rolled in bundles.eco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatt eco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatteco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatt

Letting the pot (here a copper pot which function as mordant) sitting on the fireplace feels somehow very natural and saves energy.eco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatt

This is a range of my merino eco prints, some dyed with botanical dyes afterwards to give them a softer looking finish.eco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatt eco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatt eco print on merino fabric by Birgit Moffatt

If you haven’t seen the breathtaking sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy you must do now. His work is so beautiful, fragile, strong, soft, hard. Its so inspirational that I had to go in my studio to have a play with some kowhai and harakeke (NZ flax) seed pods. I made them for the moment to enjoy and to give them back to the bush afterward.Kowhai seed pods sculpture by Birgit Moffatt Kowhai seed pods sculpture by Birgit Moffatt Kowhai seed pods sculpture by Birgit Moffatt

I was very pleased with my little seed pods sculptures, making them was also very calming and relaxing.Harakeke flax seed pods sculpture by Birgit Moffatt Harakeke flax seed pods sculpture by Birgit Moffatt

Just came back from a 5 days workshop in Whanganui to meet the lovely Australian artist Meredith Woolnough and to learn some of her sewing techniques.

Here are some of her samples she brought to show us. She basically sews with her sewing machine using the free motion food onto soluble paper which will wash away later. This way she creates wonderful fragile flat or sulptural pieces she frames or put in resin.sample samples  Whangnui-9

I had a few arguments with my new sewing machine as I haven’t done hardly any machine sewing in my life but just when I lost confidence in her (and me) the magic happened: I did my first sculpture, some threads are lost and hanging loose but I still like my very organically looking shape and the shadows.

stitched by Birgit Moffatt     I also tried to put objects into resin, one piece is stitched and the other is harakeke paper. The almost transparent look is amazing.

harkeke paper in resin by Birgit Moffatt stitch in resin by Birgit MoffattGetting braver I stitched three leaf shapes to be mounted on foam board.

leaf machine emboidered by Birgit Moffatt leaf machine stitched by Birgit Moffatt

At the end of the week we had a little exhibition showcasing everybody’s lovely works. It was a week full of learning, sharing and fun thanks to the organizers Trisha and Julz, the tutors, and the crew from Ad astra hostel. Sure I will be back next year!

Whangnui-14 Whangnui-12 students work Whangnui-13

It is amazing to work with such a versatile plant, harakeke (engl. flax, phormium tenax) is not only such a valuable plant for weaving, rope making and medicinal use to name a few. You can make paper out of 100 percent harakeke fibres. During this years studies I have the opportunity to learn to make harakeke paper.

I used my waste bits from harvesting for weaving, cutting pieces about 1 to 2cm long (its a very time intense occupation,). I cut about 500g and soaked the whole lot for about 48 hours in water. Then it had to be boiled with in water with added soda ash (I used washing crystals from the supermarket).boiling flax pieces

boiling harakeke

Boiled for about 3 hours, it depends on the harakeke how long it needs to be boiled, important is that the leaf starts to fall to bits. Finished that, I rinsed it well till the leaves dont feel slimy anymore. Afterwards it goes into the flax beater (Hollander) which beats the fibres till its ready to use (it took about 20 min).beating paper in the hollander

Clare and the hollander (beater)

I personally like to have it beaten so there are still fibers visible.

The pulp is then ready for the actual paper making. It took a bit to figure out the proportion of water to pulp, I guess its personal preference and depending on the use if you want to have thicker or thinner paper.paper pulp Birgit Moffatt
yummy pulp

These are a few examples of my paper, which I will use in my art work. I didnt size my paper as I dont intend to write on it at that stage.Harakekepaper (8)
detail harakeke paper, so gorgeous

silk, eco print stitched on flax paper
eco printed silk stitched on harakeke paper

leaf embedded in harakeke flax paper
dyed akeake leaf embedded in harakeke paper

crunched harakeke paper
just lovely crunched up paper (crunched wet and let dry so it keeps the shape)

finished flax paper by Birgit Moffatt
a simple sheet

flax/harakeke earrings made by Birgit MoffattMy gorgeous colorful harakeke earrings are now available at Mahara Gallery in Waikanae and Expressions Gallery in Upper Hut.  The perfect original gift from Aotearoa/New Zealand.