All posts by Maureen Unasa

Maureen Unasa is a contrarian Samoan woman unravelling life, love and culture through the art of Samoan weaving

Coming in to my own

Maori flax putiputi weaving books
Maori flax weaving books I used to learn how to make flowers (putiputi)

Points of view, in my opinion confuse me.  Maybe the english language has just gotten more confusing than before.  I won’t even go into the efficient language of the mobile phone world which has spilled over into the rest of the world.  LOL.

My kids have picked up on saying, “No offence”, before they make a statement that might offend someone.  For  (a real life) example; “No offence mum, but I think your bum is big”.  OMG. Shock horror.  I know it is big and I am not offended by the truth.  But that is me.  So while I am not offended I still do shush or remind my children not to point that out with other people.  Especially when said children whisper really LOUD on the bus directly opposite the person. “That’s  Not nice”, then replaces innocent honesty.

Oh, it’s such a mixed message world we live in.  If we teach honesty then I think we could accept honesty graciously. 🙂   Teasing and bullying  could be the reason why we curb any sort of remarks about the obvious.  I also remind my children not to make judgements about others, treat others the way you want to be treated, how would you feel, etc…..and to “LOOK AT YOURSELF first”.

Learning about my own Samoan culture is intriguing.  The present day practises of culture appear to vary slightly through opinions.  “That’s NOT how you do it” was what I heard often at my uncles funeral earlier this year.  (It wasn’t about me because of course I had no idea how to do anything ha ha)  I thought it was interesting however and wondered if this is how it was.  Different for different Samoans.

Samoan Weaving HQ by Maureen Unasa
Finding my “own” Samoan culture

The evolution of culture.  The foundations are the same with a few new interpretations as time goes by.

It seems as though I will be finding my “own” Samoan culture.  Seeking my own path.

Traditional weaving and style is what I seek to learn more about, while utilising present day contemporary materials.

Curling ribbon is obviously my favourite medium followed closely by raffia.  Synthetic poly string is now a new candidate for my weaving testing.

So, do my choices of materials  and style of weaving make me less of a Samoan weaver?  I wonder?

Finding my weaving art and style is literally a work in progress.  Currently, I combine Samoan mat weaving with Maori flax flowers (putiputi)weaving.

I acknowledge the Maori people for providing such an extensive selection of resources both online and the good old fashioned books and workshops to share their weaving.  The two books I bought have taught me how to weave Maori putiputi.

Learning to make the Maori putiputi work for my chosen material of curling ribbon is a breakthrough for me.  It seems that the curling ribbon can be too slippery to use for fine mat weaving.  Hmmmm.  I beg to differ.

Embracing my Samoan culture is not about using it to separate myself from other cultures.  Learning and sharing together is the practise of commUNITY.

Weave your life your way 🙂

The F word

Samoan inspired bangles
Took these bangles for a test drive to the city

Fu…..n in the city does not translate into “good toimes” for me.

Picture someone wandering around in slow motion while the people of the city bustle past.  Professional circus artists with mobile phones in one hand while perfectly balancing coffee and handbag(or other attachment) in the other.

Head down with indiscreet coloured leads protruding from ears which work their way down into their bodies or other fixtures.

Concerned, I wonder if they are walking around on miniature life support that’s strapped to them.  Oh.  They must have taken the blue pill.  This is the matrix.

I must have taken the red pill.  These are just the thoughts of a suburban stay at home mother of five exploring art in the city.  So ironic.  Loathe the city, Loving the art.

“Suburban mother of five lost in the city” will be the Tuesday headlines.

Exploring  the work of other artists and their mediums was inspiring.  Still in awe at how I got lost in this city of art.

I took up the opportunity to do some work with artist Anne Laerkesen who runs the Artists Residency Program.  This program provides the space for artists to MAKE.  Without a space, I believe these amazing artists freedom to create, would be limited.

Being in that space felt like I was home.  In my element.(I know weird aye)  Maybe it was the company.  It wasn’t all about art.  It was about life, culture, parenting (lol, Just because I have five kids doesn’t make me the authority), inspiration and  challenges.  Clique I know, but “Life is Art”.

Artists are actually real people you know.  Not the airy fairy cans of soup that I had once thought.  AAAaaand there are so many forms of art.  I feel like mother bear who just came out of hibernation.

Defining my path in the art that I want to MAKE became clearer during this opportunity.  Excited much!

Weaving with black gold and white curling ribbon
Road to fulfilment

Programs like this one obviously don’t arise out of thin air. Even air has a cost in some instances now.

I have heard the “f” word come up in lots of conversations recently.  You know…..F…U…..NDING.

Anne Laerkesen has done a lot of work to get funding and provide the much needed space for these artists.  She has a huge heart for the community while exploring the art of motherhood and her own art practise.

I hate the “f” word.  I figure that the Tuesday Oz Lotto has now jack potted to $100 million next week, I won’t need any “f” for all the things I want to accomplish.  Not that I am like a real artist….yet.

PLAN B for my journey is still unknown but I know it will show itself.

Mother bear has come out of her cave and is going to eat up everything life has to offer.  Grrrrrrrrr

Grrrrreat week to all of you 🙂