Tell us what you do and why you do it.
I am an artist and loom weaver based in Tairua, where I make commissioned textiles and artworks for exhibitions. My works respond to issues that affect contemporary society.
When did you start weaving and why?
In 2018 I started weaving with a loom I found on Trade Me. Initially I just wanted to try out a new craft form and got hooked. Currently I have four different looms, all of which were made here in Aotearoa and I think that shows how prevalent weaving used to be.
You have an exhibition at Masterworks coming up, what are you showing?
The exhibition “redwhiteblue” focusses on the mass-produced “Hong Kong shopper” bag. It follows a previous project I did with my mum Doris Tsui that replicated the bag pattern with cross-stitching. This time, I wanted to look at the possibilities of abstracting and redesigning it. There are woven bag forms, beaded necklaces, drawings on graph paper, and a set of framed beaded and woven pieces.
We love the political slants to your work.
While I think art is meaningful in itself, I tend to “weave” contemporary issues into my work as a way to help make sense of them and portray them visually. I’ve woven child poverty rates into a set of tableware and United Nations women’s inequality statistics into wall hangings. The “Hong Kong shopper” bag is a loaded object, which comes with various derogatory names. These bags are a common sight in airports and at borders where they represent migration, both voluntary and involuntary.
You often weave using out-of-stock or discontinued lines.
Working sustainably is important so I like to source locally produced, recycled, deadstock or non-synthetic materials where possible.
Kathryn Tsui: redwhiteblue
18 February to 18 March