Although I live an hour north of Auckland (Wellsford/Warkworth) I am happy to work locally or in the wider Auckland area where I normally teach.
My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)
As a practising artist my work explores cultural identity. It has predominately looked at the duality of artefacts, the value of history and the complexities of human connection in order to show how artefacts can be both personal adornment and remnants of material culture. Here, the Māori story is rendered with contemporary materials; it’s a simple, effective weave. It is social and personal, cultural and human. It includes you. My studio practice is interdisciplinary. It combines components of print, weaving and installation; to address tikanga Māori traditions within a contemporary context. Primarily the backbone of my practice is the medium of print. I have studied Māori weaving for several years now, transforming my art practice. The combination of these interests has made me push the print medium into three-dimensional forms, weaving works and compiling multiple layers of colour and patterning, referencing the weaves of Raranga Whakairo. A love of process and the science behind many print processes drives me and helps me to develop my ideas, informing everything else I do. I went through art school where departments existed and real skills were being taught. Those skills are the foundations of my art and teaching practice today.
My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with
Since graduating with a master’s degree in fine art and returning home from overseas, I have continued to develop my professional practice as a contemporary artist. Alongside my professional career, I have held tutoring positions in both academic and community institutions working with the wider community. I have exhibited extensively in New Zealand in both group and solo exhibitions since the mid ‘90s. I have exhibited internationally participating in exhibitions in London, Melbourne, Sydney, United States and Norway. In 2008 I was successful in an application for the artist in school programme, where I worked for a term at a school an hour and a half north of Auckland. I live locally, so working in a local school really appealed to me as it was an opportunity to meet the locals and to share my knowledge and practice with the children. I designed and delivered a mixed-media course from new entrants through to year eight. I managed and planned resources effectively to achieve good outcomes. Good preparation and planning was key to this job, especially when working with different year levels to assist and support teaching staff.
Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes
As an artist I have had the opportunity to go into many schools around the country designing specialist workshops to support students and art teachers in their educational programmes. Where there has been a need, I have also provided professional development workshops for teachers to upskill in technical print processes. For the last five years I have been teaching as a part-time print tutor, covering all forms of print. Most of my students are adults who have put a day aside each week to keep their creative practice alive. At times it feels like a mentor class, as my regular students are creating bodies of work under my supervision. I have worked in a number of teaching institutions working across a variety of ages, cultures and environments. They have all had their challenges and I have had to adapt to meet the needs of the students and working levels. Teaching for me is about that one student where you can see the glint in their eye and the smile on their face, when students realise they are capable of achieving the task. This is where magic is created.
Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice
Working in the 'Creative in Schools’ programme for me is about giving back. It will provide the opportunity to share my skills and knowledge in my specialised areas of printmaking and weaving. Students will work in a creative environment in order to express themselves by working with their hands and exploring their sense of identity. This represents my tikanga, as I feel very privileged to have been taught by some incredible teachers who cared, mentored, and followed my practice. I imagine it could look like; Art work could form an exhibition based around a whare or fale. If a school has its own wharenui on site then this architectural framework could provide inspiration and a learning space. The creation of artworks would look at the material culture of how we adorn our houses. One example is tapa cloth woodcut prints could hang as wallpaper displaying different motifs relating to the student’s culture. Another is tukutuku panel’s relief printed with stencils exploring the student’s whakapapa. A collaborative weaving component could also amalgamate all of these cultural threads. Creating a living breathing space where ideas of whakapapa, tikanga Māori and the sense of place within the whare or fale structural forms.