Film: Tī kōuka placemat workshop

This workshop film shares with you a way to weave a mat or placemat from tī kōuka (cabbage tree/cordyline australis) leaves. This 30 minute film with Juliet Arnott guides you the full process of weaving from scratch, with dried and soaked tī kōuka leaves. The weaving of the mat will take approximately 4 hours.

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 30-40 or more leaves that have fallen from tī kōuka (cabbage tree, Cordyline Australis), these leaves need to be soaked in water for 24-48 hours. Or you could try a similar natural fibre that you have where you are, or something else altogether like scrap fabric. Scissors. A sacking needle like this. Water. A bucket, bath or tarpaulin to soak your leaves in. A stack of books  or another weight to flatten your mat afterwards.

Background to this technique: This placemat 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 comes from knowledge learnt by Juliet Arnott in England and Scotland where her family comes from, most especially through willow weaving with Norah Kennedy at the Kingcombe Centre, in Dorset, England. 

Your tutor: Juliet is a craftsperson and occupational therapist. She founded Rekindle in 2010 after years of practicing craft which involves caring for overlooked materials often wasted and the wellbeing this purpose gives. Since 2016 Juliet's work has focused on creating opportunities for resourcefulness as the antithesis to wastefulness. Juliet continues to run Rekindle and is now based in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa.  @ju_and_pip

This trailer below will give you a sense for the beautiful film work by Hilary Jean Tapper with music 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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