Creative Fibre National Education Event 2018

HILDE BLANKAfter schooling and tertiary education in Germany I lived in Southern France, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Sri Lanka for the next 20 years, and more recently in Fiji. In the mid-nineties I settled with my family in New Zealand. I was always involved with craft groups and in 1996/99 I started to spin and weave, and a few years later to felt. Since 2006 I have participated in more than 30 exhibitions and fashion shows both in Auckland and at national level, receiving several awards. In 2008 I exhibited 80 pieces in an exhibition I named ‘Felt Precious’ at The Lakehouse Arts Centre, Takapuna. At the moment I explore weaving with finer yarns, and spinning art yarns for using in weaving and knitting.
Between 1999 and 2014 I attended many weaving and felting workshops with New Zealand and overseas tutors. I have also taken workshops on pattern-making and drafting, botanical drawing, shibori techniques, fashion illustration, eco dyeing, and deconstructed screen printing.
SANDRA BROOKSSandra has been braiding and weaving bands for over 15 years and is interested in a wide variety of techniques. She is passionate about creating bands that can be used for a variety of purposes. She enjoys tablet weaving as it provides great flexibility in designing and creating bands with various patterns and fibres. Sandra is also a loom weaver and an embroiderer.
SUZY BROWNSuzy Brown has a background in many things ranging from farm work to academic teaching, She learned to spin over 18 years ago at the urging of her aunt and the call of the old woolshed where the lessons were held. Suzy has joined up with Majacraft where, amongst other things, she participates in the development of new fibre tools and related products. Her craftwork is curiosity driven and experimental at all times. She coined the term ‘Yarn Architect’ to describe her interest in constructing yarns that combine both traditional and contemporary techniques. She also loves to mix up textures and fibre preparations to build multiplied and layered yarns which she often uses in her other love, freeform weaving.
LOUISE COOKTeacher, fibre artist, and SAORI weaver, Louise began SAORI weaving in 2011 and immediately experienced the freedom the SAORI techniques offered, ‘to weave from the heart’. A SAORI weaver is able to ‘weave their true self’ through the cloth they make with the personality of each artist shown in their creation.
Louise decided she needed to follow up on this amazing weaving style and visited SAORINOMORI in Osaka, Japan in 2013 then again in 2015. She was invited to join the SAORI Global Community and share SAORI techniques in New Zealand. While in Japan Louise studied and passed the SAORI Hand Weaving Skills tests, Grades 2, 3 and A. She has also successfully completed a workshop in dress designing by draping SAORI hand woven cloth. At WoolOn she won the supreme award in 2015, was highly commended in 2017, and her garments have been accepted into several Creative Fibre national fashion shows.
RENE CORDER EVANSBorn and educated in New Zealand, Rene Corder Evans has always had a love for fine wools, textiles and all things New Zealand; although in her twenties she followed her heart and moved to Canada. In 1996 she was introduced to the Fashion Design Program at University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in Canada and graduated with a Diploma of Fashion Design in 1999. From 2001–2012 Rene was a Textile Instructor within the Fashion Design Program at UFV. She divided her time between creating one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces, teaching weaving at the University level, and her career as a business administrator, enjoying the challenges of all three. During this time she also taught felt-making at the annual international Maiwa Textile Symposiums, at HGA Convergence in Denver and for numerous textile guilds. In 2012 Rene retired and now spends time in New Zealand and Canada, finding more time for textile arts and teaching. She is enjoying being involved with Creative Fibre and feels honoured to have won several national awards for her fashion runway garments.
ISLA FABUIsla Fabu is a designer, artist and emerging HoopYogini instructor living, spinning and creating in South Taranaki. She was born on an island in the Baltic Sea, studied interior design, and communications design, in Germany. She also lived and worked as a freelance designer in Berlin, Italy and Ireland 2011. Isla learned spinning in Ireland and has been passionate about exploring natural fibres, botanical dyes and sustainable ‘slow’ processes ever since.
ALISON FRANCISAlison is a handweaver who works in her home-based weaving studio. She likes to weave fabrics of all kinds, and enjoys matching the structure and hand dyed yarns to the inspiration behind the fabric. She is increasingly sewing her fabrics into garments and these are often made to be presented in exhibitions or as commissions for her clients. She is also happy to receive commissions to weave fabrics for someone else’s project, and enjoys the collaboration that occurs during this process. As much as she enjoys the technical process of weaving, her training in the School of Design at Unitec added another dimension to her work. Before the loom is even warped, a design process is embarked upon to take the project from a concept to a fully resolved woven article. Working from ideas and exploring these through drawing, collage painting, and more, helps to enrich the concept in a way that supports the final work. This dual approach makes the weaver’s work even more satisfying.
Pam was introduced to the ancient craft of feltmaking in 2004 and has continued to develop new techniques ever since while creating fashion garments, homewares, sculpture and wall art. Only eco-friendly principles and natural, renewable materials are used in her work. All dyes are derived from plants, mostly from surrounding bushland and her garden, which hosts many dye plants. Pam embraces the move to ecologically sound, slow and handmade textiles which offers her new and exciting challenges. She has won awards for her work and exhibits widely.
SABIN IMHASLYAfter my first felting workshop more than ten years ago I was so fascinated by the endless possibilities of felt that I decided to attend the three year felting education in Ballenberg, Switzerland. Over the years I widened my knowledge and skills in felting, dyeing and eco-printing. My twin sister Susan and I run our studio Twinfelt ( together. We create fine art objects, garments, fashion accessories and interior design. Our work is displayed in two internationally published books about felt art – Felt Passion and Worldwide Colours of Felt. Teaching felting and getting others hooked by the magic of how loose fibres turn into something firm is very rewarding for me.
CHERYL LYALLI live on Waiheke Island on top of a hill with my two spinning wheels Little Gem and Aura, and my wool, fibre and fabric stash. I was five years old when I learnt to crochet. I finally learnt to knit when I was 17 years old, thanks to Nan, who was also left-handed. I attended art school doing a BFA for a year then I discovered that the Aldgate TAFE in the Adelaide Hills taught spinning, weaving and dyeing so I quit art school to follow my passion – fibre. After I finished homeschooling my daughter for 17 years and running my bespoke fairy wing business I had more time to devote to fibrecrafts again and in 2009 became the convener of Waiheke Spinners and Weavers. I started teaching at Auckland area retreats not long after I joined Creative Fibre. I currently work at New Zealand Fabrics and Yarn in Auckland. This gives me a lot of commuting time to knit and crochet.
ELAINE MACGREGORI have always had a passion for creating. I knit, spin, felt, dye, stitch, and love to give every craft a go. I enjoy experimenting, using lots of colour and texture in my creations which often end up looking very different to my starting vision. I enjoy teaching – it’s a great thrill being able to share something new with students, and I learn a lot from them too.
MARGARET MAYMargaret has been knitting since childhood, and spinning since her early 30s. She loves knitting items with texture and patterns, especially lace and cables, and wears her lace shawls year round. She loves teaching and sharing her knowledge and joy in her crafts with others.
ANNETTE MONTGOMERYI have always been a very hands-on and creative person. My mother, a seamstress and avid crafter, set the seed of textile arts from a young age installing the saying, ‘there is no such word as can’t’. In the 1990s I designed and made alternative clothes from hand dyed and hand painted fabrics incorporating leather and lace. I am very passionate about design and this is what brought me back to grass roots and spinning as this breaks down the barriers and gives me the freedom in design. I love the planning and enjoy seeing materials/fibre come to life through one's own hands.
SHARON PASSAUI grew up knitting, I don’t remember learning but I was taught by my mother and grandmother on the farm I grew up on. Mum and Nana both spin and knit so I learned a lot by observing. I learned to crochet at about 18, and to spin at about 24, and have even been known to give drop spindling a go. Most of what I have learned beyond basic knitting has been self-taught through reading, and trial and error. I spent nine years in the Royal New Zealand Navy which restricted the time I had to craft, but it allowed me to travel the world. After I left the navy I travelled on my own through Europe and South America. To see crafts in other cultures was eye-opening, to see such incredible talent, and yet nothing was too far removed from the crafts that we do here in little old New Zealand. I now work for a knitwear company and am a machine knitter/technician in training. I like to be challenged in the work that I do, so I am always looking for things that I have not tried before, I’ll give anything a go, and I love to share what I learn.
RAEWYN PENROSERaewyn is a professional fibre artist, operating her gallery/studio near Coromandel. From a background of woolcrafts and weaving, she became totally hooked on the felt-making process in the early 90s. Her time is divided between creating products for her gallery and running felt-making workshops that cover a wide variety of techniques, suitable for students of all skill levels. Raewyn describes felt-making as ‘painting with wool’. Fine New Zealand Merino wool is her primary base material for her creations, often complemented with other fibres such as silk. Felt is a totally natural, lightweight and durable fabric – colour, texture, form and functionality can be combined into a wide range of unique outcomes. Raewyn is constantly experimenting to develop new techniques and and enjoys the sharing of knowledge with her students.
NYNKE PIEBENGAIn my early twenties, I was introduced to weaving in the Netherlands. It was ‘love at first sight’. In 1966 I came to New Zealand and married a sheep farmer. Although life with four children was busy, I had a strong need to do something for myself and weaving was the obvious choice. I could do it at home, and was available when needed on the farm. There was an excellent weaver in my area who was willing to teach me. I was very fortunate to participate in the last weaving course at the Nelson Polytechnic. I did four units to gain my Adult Teachers Certificate. I love working with colour and the loom is my tool to combine colours and make something beautiful. I work within the restraints of the loom, and that also provides me with a challenge. One has to know the basic ‘rules’, before trying to alter them, and ultimately play. Once the designing is done and the weaving starts, I enjoy the rhythm of the craft – I feel as if I am part of the loom, and the loom part of me.
MARILYN REA-MENZIESMarilyn has been drawing and painting since the age of 12. Originally trained as a teacher, she discovered very young in life that her greatest passion lies in art. Marilyn believes that drawing is the basis of all good work. A devoted artist since the 1970s, she works from her studio in Hamilton, the Marilyn Rea-Menzies Arts Studio.
Marilyn's tapestries adorn many public spaces and private homes both in New Zealand and overseas. Her lively tapestry portraits have won the hearts, as well as the tears of many. Her latest public tapestry commission was the double sided Kowhai Screen at Government House in Wellington. Marilyn also paints, draws and has produced a large amount of work in mixed-medium, including photography.
SHONA SCHOFIELDPassionate about fibres and textiles, Shona enjoys many fibre-related arts from dyeing and spinning to feltmaking. Her biggest love is designing, producing and wearing her unique handmade felt creations. Since joining Creative Fibre in 1991, Shona has developed techniques to create unique textiles. She has exhibited her felt designs in fashion parades, shops and galleries in New Zealand and Australia and has won many awards for her work. Shona feels she is always learning and loves to inspire others in her workshops.
BEV VELLENOWETHEleven years ago we found our piece of beachfront paradise at Maraenui in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. When checking out the shops in our new town of Opotiki I discovered a gallery-type shop and enquired about learning to weave. Next I was enrolling at Te Wananga o Aotearoa for the Raranga Programme. This course taught me about harakeke, but more than that, it took me on an enlightening and satisfying cultural journey. I worked among like-minded people who were always such an inspiration. I continue on with my passion, with a particular focus on muka (harakeke fibre). Like in any craft there is always something new to learn. I find plenty of inspiration from our beach setting and the raw materials that surround me here in the eastern bay. I really enjoy being able to share my knowledge and hope others will also be inspired.