All posts by Maureen Unasa

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

Walking on the Edge

Walking on the edge…107cm wide and 25cm long

Flashbacks of my interactive distribution days with a multi level marketing (MLM) company hit me, as my patience wanes in getting to two meters wide.

The business model and strategy was simple if, I did the work and followed the plan.  Develop nine partnerships wide before working with the partnerships that have proven themselves.  That is to create depth and a solid business trunk structure.  Yip!  It all made sense.  And I didn’t follow the plan.

I wasn’t successful in that venture however the self development program was phenomenal.  Huge win in transforming my way of seeing things.

The same is occurring with my project now.  A profound process of unravelling my life and Samoan heritage while following a loose plan.  I feel the result will be perfectly matched for me.  It always is.

I am at the stage where I just want to see the finished product.  Measuring the width and being half way there was so exciting.  The beginning corner and edge being loose prompted the thoughts of creating depth now and adding stability to the weaving.

Oh but I haven’t gone nine wide yet.  I mean two meters wide.  Nahhh! I will begin this edge and then go back to the width again.

Well, it satisfied my impatience and  made a nice change to weave a different part of this gold curling ribbon mat.

But wait!  Will walking (working) on the edge determine whether or not I succeed?

Hovering fearfully  is a new thought of whether there is a certain protocol and order to weaving as with a traditional pandanus fine mat.  I know there are superstitions in my culture and I really don’t want to invite any unnecessarily in to my life through innocent ignorance.  Whether I believe superstitions or not doesn’t matter…”I ain’t stupid”.

Anxiously googling my little heart away, I find nothing.  If anyone reading recognises any breaking of protocol….PLEASE TELL ME!

My intentions are all pure love for community and culture and I hope that the Gods will find that in my favour!

Roll on our first family trip to the motherland to find all that I seek.



Life is a blank canvas

Mustard Sandy base colour for 5 land panels.

A blank canvas is the perfect clear space for creating whatever you want.

Art is life. Life is Art.

My blank canvas here was a simple calico panel.  A mustard sandy base has been painted onto five of these blank calico canvas panels.

There are fifteen calico panels in total for the art project.  Three rows with five calico panels in each row.  A Samoan inspired landscape theme of air, land and water.

  • The top row of five will be the air or sky row.
  • The middle row of five will be the land row.
  • The bottom row of five will be the sea or water row.

Letting go of being at the extreme end of my control specturm has been liberating.  Being in control is not required for all circumstances.  Art is one such area in life where boundaries are blurred if existing at all.

Art gives moderation a new meaning.  Knowing when and where your extremes can be applied liberally while recognising when allowing vulnerability may be the only strength required to bring about the best.

Thank you to the beautiful Year 4/5 students who added the first colour of life to all 15 of my calico panels including these beautiful mustard sandy base coloured panels for the Samoan Tapa inspired land row.

First Stencil: Black stencil on to mustard/sandy base

Love is in the details.  If you know me well, then you will know that I love DETAILS.

My control twitch has been temporarily medicated by creating the stencils that will layer on the Tapa inspired land row.  Three stencils in total beginning with this black stencil as a guide for the next two stencils.

Using rollers may work if it was a smaller one than the 7cm width that I used.  Most of the black paint was wasted on the stencil instead of the calico panel beneath.

I began using a small paint brush to improve the result until (lightbulb) I finally figured out to use a foam sponge (that I ripped out of an old chair cushion) on the fifth panel.  Better late than never.  After all, I was trialling the process for the Year 6 students to complete the next two stencils.

Mission accomplished!  I will be recommending to the Year 6 children the sponging technique for the next stencils.

Black stenciling works better with a sponge rather than a roller.

Ta daaa!  Drum roll please for getting it right in the end.

It is so exciting to experience TRANSFORMATION taking place.  It kind of looks like an autobot transformer too.  By the last stencil it definitely will be “more than meets the eye”.

5 black outlined panels ready for next stencil.

All five land row panels are now a stencil closer to completion.

If you want to follow the progress of this Art project then SUBSCRIBE and keep up to date.