Tag Archives: Samoan weaving

Fraudster Alert!

Yesterdays creation 13/02/13
Yesterdays creation 13/02/13

Doubting myself and the skill of my hands is like spiralling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. Never read the book but I watched Australian MKR.  The Tasmanian contestants used the “Wonderland” theme and I was starting to feel like them in their kitchen. I didn’t want to cry though because according to the mother and daughter beauty queens team, “Crying is a sign of weakness”. Makes me want to slap the daughter and see if I can produce some tears.

Ooops pardon me. This is not a post about “My Kitchen Rules”.

Feedback in Samoa (ok just my family lol) on my little weaving creations were very humbling (cue outward humility while doing my jig and waving hands in the air in my mind). Yeah, I do “humble” really well on the outside.

My family were “astounded” I say, at how I could weave. I didn’t know whether to be offended at first. They were baffled at how I could weave when I don’t live in Samoa.  Secondly, how could I  possibly weave with something as delicate as curling ribbon. (Well you know, I’m just awesome)

(Cue professional sounding expert) I shared my story with them.  The kids school project and learning from a master weaver to create what is now dubbed as “The Golden Mat”. (oooo I love that) Explained the intricacies of working with ribbon and the satisfaction it brings me to create cultural art with contemporary materials. (Can’t remember what made up Samoan words I used)

Ooooo’s, ahhhhh’s and Samoan wow’s (oka oka ia oe, ese lou poto – wow to you, you are so clever). Yeah tell me about it, I non-humbly say in my head.  At least it wasn’t the other kind of  “WOW” I got from my uncles with the added handspans making me out the size of a whale.

Cute little pink gift bag prototype.
Cute little pink gift bag prototype.

Seeking some serious weaving tutorials from my family of weaving experts kind of didn’t really happen except the one time I was taught how to make a pola (Samoan blind and when pola’s are attached together they work like roman blinds).

Tables turned, I showed one family member how to make flowers and lilies so she can bust out her awesomeness when it’s her turn to decorate the church. I showed mum how to make fancy lolly lei’s (ula lole) and left her some arrangements she can unravel in her own time. I have verbal contracts (lol) to supply SWHQ bling for a souvenir shop that my aunty is going to incorporate (undoubtedly the most relaxation I ever got) at Sevemanaia Beach Fale’s in Savai’i (that was totally a plug and you gotta go there)

WOW!  Just reminiscing on my trip I feel I am on the right track with my weaving. Unique and original. Personal and handmade from the heART. I think I have shaken the “fraudster” now I think back to those reactions.

There is so much I want to do and only one pair of hands. The mind is furiously creating and filing ideas.

BREATHE LADY! (cause otherwise I might will die if I don’t)

Before anyone asks me for orders or my family harasses me again to SELL SELL SELL, I have this to say…..

Seriously tested my love for curling ribbon - was a fiddly one especially when you teach yourself
Seriously tested my love for curling ribbon

Everything I do is an expression of who I am.
I work from the heart.
It satisfies my soul.
The process is unravelling myself and my life.

My intention is always to produce ART first.
Secondly, to serve the communities I am a part of.

The money will come. There is a (loose) plan.

So you better start saving now bwahahahahaha. Hopefully I am not all unravelled and get all tangled up.


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 🙂