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He Pānui

'Sustainable' business as Resistance ( & tino rangatiratanga)

'Sustainable' business as Resistance ( & tino rangatiratanga)

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”- Annie Dillard.

Each day, a small but definitive act of resistance against the tides of capitalism, consumption, more, more, bigger, growth, profit. And a gradual leaning in toward time, space, movement, observation, creativity and presence. Continue reading

Creativity as a balm in an aching world

One of my goals for the year was to commit writting and blogging more frequently. In part, to build a deeper relationship with you, but also, to create a discipline of the act and art of writing. Something I greatly enjoy- but leave for so long that I forget, until I return to it months later and rediscover it.

Anyway.

Fortnightly seemed achievable. 

I sat down last week to write and become utterly tangled and paralyzed by the thought of it. 

Of sending whakaaro into the world, of inviting you to spend your time and attention to read, when the whole world, or so it feels, is a giant shitstorm for lack of a better word.

What could I possibly say or contribute to your day that wasn’t even more noise. I was at a saturation point.
It’s deafening, heavy, pōuri. The commentary and updates are endless. 

I could feel the fidgety, displaced, unsettled anxiousness of it coursing through me. My attention span felt shot - and perhaps yours too. 

Too much bad news that feels impossible to impact, control or alter in any way.

 

So instead of writing to you, I went outside and ripped out weeds from the garden, hands caked in mud and spent from the exertion of it. I collected peaches from our tree and stewed apples for the winter. I cooked for our whānau and we ate together. I sketched, poorly, plans for a next sewing project. Sewed a button back on. Resisted refreshing the news.

Small, practical, attentiveness. 

I observed myself as I went, replicating practices I’ve seen my parents do. And theirs.

Reflecting on the wisdoms we inherit, passed down through generations through necessity and osmosis, that we only recognise as wisdoms when we pare back the noise of daily living.

I noticed in these small practices, both an escape and a refuge.

They all demand focus and attention.

Pulling roots from the whenua, pushing thread through fabric methodically, peeling and cutting fruit, the process of preparing a meal.

Many of them take you out of your hinengaro- your mind, and into your tinana- your body. The physical act of weeding and harvesting, both exhausting and cathartic.

They provide a refuge, a space where in some small way, you are in control of the outcome.

And each of these practices, is, in it’s own flavor, an expression of tino rangatiratanga. Of self determination. A small but practical step in favor of a tomorrow we hope for.

So in the week since I have been conscious and a little more intentional in limiting the endless flow of news in. And each time I feel as if the world is spinning faster and more precariously, I turn my mind and body to the practical making of something.

It feels like there couldn’t have been a better time to receive the first installment of our Aho Fabric collection. Metres of fabric that we intend to sell by the metre, for those of you who find solace in making too. Even if you wouldn't naturally consider yourself ‘creative’ or a ‘maker’, it’s my hunch that the process is more important than the outcome. Many of my practical skills have come from watching youtube, doing it wrong then learning from the mistakes - you don’t need to be an expert to try things!

Like many of our collections, this collection has come to life because it’s something I have long searched for, for my own home and wardrobe and life, and have never found. We’ve all seen the ‘kiwiana’, ‘māori-inspired’ China-manufactured quilting cottons- and I for one have so so many questions about their origins and ethics. 

So it is with great relief and excitement that we’re getting prepared to share these textiles with you. They’re made from 85% Certified Organic Cotton and 15% Flax, refined, spun and woven by a team who practice fair trade, Dyed and printed using non-toxic dyes in a factory that operates a closed loop water operation (dying and printing fabrics is traditionally both intensely water intensive and incredibly toxic - both for the workers and their environments).

All of the designs come with a paku (small) description as well as care details. It’s a soft, light but robust weave - softer than quilting cotton and slightly more textured.

We’ve still got a few more steps to go before these will be live on the website (photography, website back-end building as well as the practical aspects of configuring our studio space for easier cutting), but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as they’re live!

First on my to-make wish list are;
A lamp shade
A quilt
Curtains for our Kāinga
A jumpsuit
A dress
A couple of tote bags
A custom bean bag cover.

What are you dreaming up for yours?

 

Continue reading

Art and Business: A tension and release

Art and Business: A tension and release

There's a tension I’ve found, between being a Creative or Artist, and a business owner. Between process and outcome. Some musings on how to dance between spaces, and work arounds I'm building into life.

 

Continue reading

When the personal becomes political

When the personal becomes political
The other night we shared a photo of Willow Jean Prime wearing our Manawa Titī dress that was captured in connection to the Waitangi commemorations. She was standing next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

And to be honest, I wasn’t prepared and hadn’t fully anticipated the reaction or some of the backlash that we’d encounter by sharing the image. Continue reading

The Whakapapa of our cotton (Part 7/7) How our paper packaging is made

The Whakapapa of our cotton (Part 7/7) How our paper packaging is made
All of our paper packaging is made from 100% cotton, created from the waste generated in the production of ours and other cotton products. We visited this incredible initiative during our visit and were blown away by the way technology  and innovation is being interwoven into this recycling scheme that runs entirely off solar electricity generated onsite with a completely closed loop water system. Continue reading

The Whakapapa of our cotton (Part 6/7) Sewing and assembly

The Whakapapa of our cotton (Part 6/7) Sewing and assembly
It's easy to forget as consumers 1000's of km's from the point of origin, that each and every garment and item we purchase is sewn by real people, with whānau, tamariki and dreams for the future. We visited our team in India with a dream of meeting kānohi ki kānohi- face to face. To share and learn and seek connections. Continue reading

The Whakapapa of our Cotton (Part 3/7) Spinning the threads

The Whakapapa of our Cotton (Part 3/7) Spinning the threads
From a ball of cotton, not dissimilar to what you may have under your bathroom sink, to a finer and finer thread, our cotton is processed into threads after it leaves the Gin. One of the worlds most ancient skills and technologies transformed into a highly refined, industrial process that enables the production of the fabrics we clothe our bodies with each day. Continue reading

The Whakapapa of our Cotton (Part 4/7) Weaving the fabric

The Whakapapa of our Cotton (Part 4/7) Weaving the fabric
Take a look at your tshirt. At the individual threads. See how far you can follow one, what the weave looks like, smooth or textured, tight or loose. After the cotton is made into thread, it is woven on incredibly complex and efficient industrial scale looms. Our cotton fabrics are woven to our exact specifications, over and under, over and under. Aho and whenu in a dance of tension and ease, creating fabric. Continue reading
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