Film: Tī kōuka string workshop

A brilliant activity for folk of all ages to learn, this workshop film shares with you a way to make string and rope from tī kōuka (cabbage tree/cordyline australis) leaves. This 13 minute film with Gemma Stratton will guide you through the simple process of making strong, durable and beautiful string from fallen soaked tī kōuka leaves. 

Additional films: You will also receive two other films including

1. an introduction to Rekindle and our workshops which explains the kaupapa or the central idea behind our sharing of these resourceful skills. This film also sets the context of our work here in Aotearoa New Zealand, and acknowledges Māori as tangata whenua, those indigenous to this land. 

2. an introduction to how we prepare to work with tī kōuka leaves, and how we consider carefully as pākehā our work with tī kōuka in the context of this being a vital part of the ecosystem we live within, and tūpuna or ancestor to Māori.

You'll need: A pile of 20 or more leaves that have fallen from tī kōuka (cabbage tree/Cordyline Australis), soaked for 24-48 hours in water. Or you could try a similar natural fibre that you have where you are, or you could try with scrap textiles even. Scissors. Water & a bucket, bath or tarpaulin to soak your leaves in. 

Background to this technique: This way of making string from this material is a non-traditional use of the tī kōuka in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Māori have many traditions in caring for and working with this precious plant, of which this is not one. We honour the longstanding relationship between Māori and tī kōuka and weave mindfully in the context of the impacts of colonisation on craft practices here. 

The technique taught here is one that Gemma learnt from Juliet Arnott, Rekindle's founder and craftsperson. Juliet learnt this in England where her family are from, from Marcus Bennington in Devon.

Your Tutor: Gemma Stratton has been a resident craftperson at Rekindle and is one of our regular tutors. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Canterbury School of Fine Arts, and weaves her long-held dedication to resourcefulness into everything she touches. Gemma's explorations of the life in tī kōuka have lead to her spending many hours weaving baskets, lampshades and making brushes.   @g.m.stratton

This trailer below will give you a sense for the wonderful film work by Hilary Jean Tapper and sound by Alexander Yerks, and sound by Kuva Zakheim.

We are grateful that the production of these films was made possible by a grant from Creative New Zealand, and the dedication of the tutors involved. 

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