In the first month of his landscape architecture degree at Lincoln University in 2000, Nigel was tasked with selecting a piece of New Zealand writing and using that as a basis for producing a mixed-media item using the Landscape School’s latest scanner.
He told me about all this yesterday after reading the Theme: Woven post that I’d published. He still has the scan on his computer so I had a look at it and his take on “weaving” intrigued me. I decided it would make an interesting blog-post to follow on from what I published yesterday.
So, going back to 2000…
Nigel found that Baxter’s poem At Taieri Mouth resonated and he then came up with the idea of weaving together some words, flax leaves (Phormium tenax) and a fishing net. He had no access to a fishing net so he drew a basic one. He scribed selected lines of the poem onto some real flax leaves and then constructed the item – it was about two inches thick. He experimented with the scanner until he got a result with sufficient depth of field to keep the integrity of the story he sought to convey.
** Click to Enlarge **
At Taieri Mouth – James K. Baxter
Flax-pods unload their pollen
Above the steel-bright cauldron
Of Taieri, the old water-dragon
Sliding out from a stone gullet
Below the Maori-ground. Scrub horses
Come down at night to smash the fences
Of the whaler’s children. Trypots have rusted
Leaving the oil of anger in the blood
Of those who live in two-roomed houses
Mending nets or watching from a window
The great south sky fill up with curdled snow.
Their cows eat kelp along the beaches.
The purple sailor drowned in thigh boots
Drifting where the currents go
Cannot see the flame some girl has lighted
In a glass chimney, but in five days’ time
With bladder-weed around his throat
Will ride the drunken breakers in
O’Sullivan, V. Ed. 1979. An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.
For a photo of the Taieri River near the Mouth, taken as part of a homage to Baxter:
Compiled by Liz with assistance from Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)