Friday, 26 July 2013

Knitted kete

In New Zealand kete are traditionally baskets woven from harakeke or flax. They are beautiful, practical and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to suit many different purposes. In Maori tradition they feature in the creation myths as the three baskets of knowledge retrieved by the god Tane. One interpretation of what each basket represents is the basket of light is present knowledge, the basket of darkness is things unknown, and the basket of pursuit is the knowledge humans currently seek. 

When picking up the knitting needles a couple of years ago, kete seemed (to me) like the perfect choice of something to knit. 

First and foremost they are beautiful, tactile objects. They can also tell a story of place and purpose through the materials they are made from, their shape and their form, and  they can represent the holding and sharing of knowledge. 

I wanted to create a series of kete that spoke of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and my place here. I was also interested in exploring the merging of cultural traditions of European hand-crafts, as passed down to me from my Grandmother, with the traditional Maori form of kete, which I have grown up with and have always loved. The size and scale of the kete is such that they all fit into the palm of your hand. The largest, Nikau is 11 x 12 cm while the smallest, the little green "woven" one at the bottom of the page is 5 x 7 cm. 


Pohutukawa II


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