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Whitireia Hosts Aotearoa Arts Forum

Whitireia Hosts Aotearoa Arts Forum

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The first week of October saw Whitireia’s Kapiti Campus host the third Aotearoa Textile Forum. The forum, run out of Australia and hosted in New Zealand by Whitireia has now become an annual event at the Kapiti campus.

The forum begins on a larger scale in Australia and tutors then travel to New Zealand to complete the last five days of the forum at Whitireia. Boasting numerous international artists, workshops were facilitated by: Mary Hettmansperger (USA) ‘Woven Jewellery’, Glenys Mann (Aust) ‘Fibre as Metaphor’, Alexander Pilin (Russia) ‘Felt’, Pauline Verrinder (UK) with ‘Encrusted Surfaces’ and Catherine O’Leary (Aust) – creating ‘Unique Body Wraps’.

The workshops included felting, jewellery making, creative machine embroidery and dying. There was a strong focus on sustainability and renewable resources. Tutors not only taught techniques and projects, but encouraged creativity, process and individual direction.
“I thought the forum was a fantastic success.” Said first time attendee, Mary Beggs. “It opened up many new doors for all of us, from experienced felters to a total novice. What people achieved in the few days was very impressive.”

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The forum is timed to coincide with the World of Wearable Art Awards (WOW) in Wellington –and with the move of the WOW event to Wellington, the Australian organisers - the Australian Forum for Textile Arts (TAFTA), have decided to move the forum from its home in Nelson for the past two years, to Wellington. Visual Arts Tutor Deb Donnelly invited the organisers to consider the Kapiti campus as a venue and forum co-ordinator Glenys Mann says, “I came out and had a look and found that the facilities and the support from the campus were amazing.”
“TAFTAs philosophy was to reach regional textiles communities; hence Kapiti was a ‘good fit’ with the admin staff efficient and well capable of hosting the forum in a semi rural setting.” Said Donnelly.
Donnelly said they had 75 participants this year. “It’s proven to be much more popular than last year.” Glenys said enrolments nine months out from the forum are double what they were in 2007. Market research undertaken by Donnelly during this years forum, promises a number of returnees and a growing interest in the event, from both students and tutors. TAFTA have made a commitment to run the event in New Zealand for five years.
Donnelly, who is travelling to International Shibori Symposium in France- theme ‘Textiles in Nature’ 30 October – 10 November to present a workshop on eco dyes on felt, has invited Yoshiko Wada - one of the world’s foremost researchers on Shibori techniques- to tutor at Textiles and Fibre Forum Aotearoa-New Zealand in 2009

Students came from all over New Zealand to participate, with five travelling from overseas to attend. Debbie Leung, Hong Kong Arts practitioner and Craft student, for Aotearoa Textiles; says she “learnt so much and met so many people that inspire my felting life, it is amazing. I would like to know more about next years' programme for the forum”.

An exhibition of the work produced, was held at the campus on the Sunday morning; open to the public to view and purchase products from the forum. “There were so many beautifully crafted original garments - jacket, wraps, hats, vests,” said Dean of Arts and Communications, Kaye Jujnovich.


Aotearoa Textile Forum is working with the 2009 NZ Quilters Symposium Easter in Wellington www.quiltsymposiumnz.org

and 10th Southern Hemisphere Felters Convergence to be held at Copthorne Wairarapa set for 27 September – 2 October

Deb Donnelly is attending the International Shibori Symposium in France. For details visit www.shibori.org

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