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Mary applies technology to tivaevae design

Mary applies technology to tivaevae design

Mary Ama at Corban Estate Arts Centre by Otiz Frizzell’s Pacifica mural.

It’s still tivaevae - the intricate appliqué art of the Cook Islands – but with a difference.

Instead of labouring for months and years to produce a single quilt to give as a gift of love and friendship, designer Mary Ama has produced a range of tivaevae much more speedily, at the Corban Estate Arts Centre.

“In these designs, the traditional and the contemporary meet half way – the embroidery machine can do things overnight that used to take a very long time,” says Mary.

Mary Ama’s designs will be showcased at the Auckland Home Show from 14 – 18 September 2005.

Waitakere City’s Pacific Island Advisory Board Co-ordinator and tivaevae (textile arts) teacher Mary says the traditionally hand-worked Cook Island needlework quilts have great intrinsic value and are treasured as family heirlooms.

“It is my ultimate goal to give back what I have learned, by taking tivaevae to the world from the daily life of Cook Islands women where is has been practised for generations.

“Normally, tivaevae is not easy to come by because it is done by hand and given as a sign of affection. That’s why I decided to make a range of cushions so that more people can share in the art,” she says.

Mary and the team still work in the traditional communal way on designs of large colourful cushions on which frangipani, breadfruit, hibiscus, roses, orchids and water lilies feature strongly.

Mary is one of five Pacific designers showcased by The Pacific Arts Development Centre at the Home Show. Tahitian/Fijian/kiwi furniture designer Fletcher Vaughan, , Niuean weaver Matafetu Smith, Samoan/Danish contemporary visual artist Sheyne Tuffery and Tongan tapa designer/ architect Tomui Kaloni present authentic, high quality Pacific designs and artworks.


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