Matariki marvels at Estuary Arts Centre

From left, Te marama o matariki – a watercolour, pen and ink work by Patricia Hollis. Mosaic by Rachel Sutton.

A group exhibition on now at Estuary Arts Centre features work in many forms of media but all related to the theme of Matariki, or Maori New Year.

The show is part of the Auckland Matariki Festival and all the work has been made by members of the arts centre.

Works include mosaics, mixed media and paintings.

There is also an opportunity to learn harakeke/flax weaving with Bernadette Ross.

Bernadette says her workshop will teach people how to make a two-corner kete, from scratch – including splitting the flax leaves, softening them, and weaving through to the finished basket.

“The kete is what everyone learns first when you start to weave,” she says. “It’s a great way to discover the whole process.”

Bernadette made her own first kete in 2010 and now wins awards for her woven artworks.

A back injury forced her to give up a career as a landscape gardener, which led her to complete a four-year Bachelor of Visual Art course, majoring in raranga, or weaving. Creating contemporary woven art is now her full-time job.

Bernadette says even the most creative and beautiful woven works are rooted in the practical, functional past of harakeke – its use for making things like mats, kete and cloaks. Bernadette supplies all the materials, including the harakeke, for her workshops.

Matariki exhibition, Estuary Arts Centre, Western Reserve, Ōrewa, July 3-30. The Introduction to Weaving Harakeke with Bernadette Ross workshops are on July 15 and 16. Info at Estuary Arts Centre.