Thanks to Dr Amy Twigger-Holroyd et al for this wonderful article - Wrestling with Tradition: Revitalising the Orkney Chair and Other Culturally Significant Crafts, 2017 in Design & Culture. This article refers to my amateur first attempt at an Orkney Chair and to the more recent stunning work by Gareth Neal & Kevin Gauld which I saw in 2014 at the New Craftsmen in London.
The article is available to read in full here. This article sparked memories of the making of this chair...
In 2004 I saw my first Orkney chair at Kettles Yard and soon after I decided to drive from Norfolk where I was living, to the Orkney Isles to find out about this tradition. I didn’t have a plan, thought I could just head up there and find out.
And so I worked as a woofer at to Wheems Farm with Christina & Mike. Then when I could I headed to the Corrigall Farm Museum and learned about the history of black oat straw and how extraordinary it’s multiplicity of uses was.
The volunteer at the museum suggested a give Harry Flett a call as he knew most about this, but as I drove off from the museum I saw some straw in stooks in a field and two older gentleman stacking it on their trailer.
I wandered out into the field and explained why I was there. They, Harry Flett & his friend, were completely un-phased by my random pilgrimage and set about helping me walk all about the field to select the best stooks for my first Orkney chair. He suggested I went and talked with Jackie Miller, one of the chair makers, and I did. I had a lovely few hours with Jackie & Marlene of Scapa Crafts and learnt much just by watching and talking. Then I headed to Marwick bay to harvest driftwood as was the tradition of years before when milled timber was scarce. With the oat straw & driftwood in the car I headed back to my studio in Norwich and spent a couple of weeks making my first chair. This chair & it’s origin and all of the resourcefulness inherent in this tradition are a huge part of why my work now focuses on resourcefulness i.e. making what we need from what we have.
Happy new year!
Want to come and learn to make things from tī kōuka/cabbage tree leaves? Free sessions begin again this week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 12-4pm in our Pop-Up container workshop at 100 Peterborough Street, opposite the Peterborough Street Library.
Bring your sunscreen & water, and don't wear your best clothes! Suitable for all ages.
Thanks to Christchurch City Council and their Enliven Places Programme, and to Life in Vacant Spaces for making this possible.
Delighted to be open again at our Resourceful Ōtautahi Pop-Up Workshop at 100 Peterborough Street, opposite the Peterborough Street Library, central Christchurch city.
We will be there offering free workshops on Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays from 12 to 4pm. And other session times are available for booking by groups. These workshops compliment the other workshops we offer at Ferrymead Heritage Park, there are more details here about those.
These workshops give you the opportunity to come and spend time in the central city, learning skills that put undervalued natural resources into use. You can learn to make string and weave with tī kōuka or cabbage tree leaves, or carve a peg from a stick, or even once you're practiced your whittling skills you could carve a spoon, and build up to make some larger objects. We will support you to safely and successfully learn new resourceful skills.
These workshops have been wonderfully supported by Christchurch City Council, TreeTech, Mackleys, Containers & More, Four Seasons Tree Care, and Life in Vacant Spaces.
We could not be more grateful to the Christchurch City Council for enabling these resourceful experiences in our city.
On September 26th 2017, Pecha Kucha Christchurch ran their largest night yet to coincide with the Social Enterprise World Forum in Christchurch. Rekindle's Founder Juliet Arnott was invited to share her journey. This is the first time Juliet had publicly spoken about her journey towards resourcefulness.
From 27-29th September 2017 the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) is coming to Ōtautahi Christchurch. This will be a wonderful few days.
Rekindle is involved in the Forum in the following ways:
Super lovely to help with a workshop yesterday all about weaving willow/hazel to create planter bed edges, with the awesome crew at Richmond Community Garden. Such an exciting project.
We'll be running a public workshop in mid August if you'd like to learn too!
It's a wonderful feeling to make the most of the resources we have #resourcefulōtautahi
A work in progress, look forward to showing you the finished article!
29th June 2017
We are SO delighted to receive this grant from Christchurch City Council for our Resourceful Ōtautahi initiative. This grant will enable us to deliver a series of free public workshops in the central city at our pop-up craft workshop at 100 Peterborough Street.
Resourceful Ōtautahi is all about using craft and local resources to experience how good it feels to be resourceful, and to feel that we can make what we need from what we have, together.
We have a few bits and pieces to organise and then these workshops will be announced. More soon!
We are super grateful to Christchurch City Council, Life in Vacant Spaces, Trent Hiles, Mackleys, Containers & More and TreeTech for making Resourceful Ōtautahi possible.
It is with more delight than words can say, that I share with you the news that our Resourceful Skills Workshops are underway in central Ōtautahi Christchurch. To begin we are running workshops that focus on skills that enable functional use of cabbage tree/tī kōuka leaves from 10am to 2pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays. This includes string and rope making, basket and mat weaving.
These workshops are open to anyone, and over time we will be increasing the hours that these workshops are available. Resourceful Ōtautahi wouldn't be what it is without the generous support of Christchurch City Council, Life in Vacant Spaces, Trent Hiles, Mackleys, Containers & More and TreeTech.
Ruby & Alice with Pip the dog and Alice's beautiful tī kōuka basket
Our first day of string-making on the Resourceful Ōtautahi site, 100 Peterborough Street, Ōtautahi Christchurch.