11 Oct 2022

Combining a talent of weaving with te ao Maori

From Afternoons, 1:21 pm on 11 October 2022

Artists Lissy Robinson-Cole and Rudi Robinson have been exploring mātauranga Māori through the colourful art of crochet. 

They tell Jesse Mullligan about their latest project Wharenui Harikora and their ongoing love of yarn as a creative tool. 

Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole

Photo: Lissy and Rudi Robinson-Cole

“I feel like the crochet found us in a way,” Lissy says. 

"I don’t know exactly what drove me to the shops to buy some hooks and some wool but as soon as I started working with the crochet it was just a complete obsession. 

“It just connected something so deeply within myself to everything, to my soul’s purpose, to just a deep sense of joy and satisfaction.” 

Rudi was “lovingly forced onboard the crochet train”, Lissy jokes. 

They’re now working with wool to create a wharenui – something Rudi says has never been done before. 

Wharenui Harikora is a refracting prism of tūpuna inspired light that shines across the sky like a rainbow.” 

The Wharenui Harikoa made out of crochet.

The Wharenui Harikoa at The Dowse. Photo: Facebook / Lissy Cole Designs / Nick Taylor⁣⁣

The couple work with kaleidoscope of colours to bring joy and aroha to themselves, their whānau and everyone else, Lissy says. 

“They are loud and proud colours, they glow in the dark and take our work to the atua space. They just are celebratory colour sand what we’re finding is that barriers are really broken for lots of different people in accessing our work and obviously the medium is so soft, and it really takes people to a nostalgic place, or a memory of a beloved nanny.” 

People can be part of the kaupapa by buying a ball of wool to be used in the work - a tangible way for people to weave their stories, hopes, and aspirations into the whare, Lissy says. 

“A whare is nothing without its people, without whānau...the wharenui is a place for us all to come and congregate together.” 

Wharenui Harikora will be at The Dowse Museum until February 2023.