Posts categorized as Craft History

Guess who’s coming to dinner? Ethel Tweedie’s celebrity table-cloths

What dinner party conversation riled up this well dressed gent?

Following a recent blog post featuring a suffragette signature handkerchief, I became curious about the origins of what is collectively known as ‘signature cloths’. Just when did signature cloths become ‘a thing’ and what was their purpose?  Rozsika Parker, author of The Subversive Stitch, describes signature cloths as a ‘female social tradition by which guests would embroider their signatures for their hostess to commemorate… Read more »

The power of lace – making European Splendour 1500-1800, Te Papa

Maker unknown, lace collar, linen, Europe. Gift of Mrs M W Aitken, 1970. Te Papa (PC001724). © photographer Justine Olsen.

Lace is fascinating for its changing and divisive role in history. Desired for its beauty and admired for its technical expertise, the best quality was restricted in use for monarchs and nobility.  While sumptuary laws during the 1500 and early 1600s claimed to protect local industries, lace actually helped identify social rank of the individual…. Read more »

Pukerua Bay School Museum visit European Splendour

Entering Splendour, Photograph by Justine Olsen, © Te Papa

The European Splendour 1500-1800 exhibition opened on Friday 16 September in Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa. Our friends from Pukerua Bay School Museum: Aurelia (aged 9), Paddy (aged 11), Isaac (aged 12) and their teacher Cat Lunjevich, came to visit and spent time in conversation with our curators Justine and Mark. They have kindly written this post… Read more »

Paul Annear (1947-2016)

Black and white photo of Paul Annear

Studio jeweller, craftsman Te Papa sadly bids farewell to contemporary studio jeweller Paul Annear who passed away on 24 April in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Characterful and enigmatic, Paul loved materials and the process of craft making. He studied anthropology and psychology at the University of Auckland- subjects that helped inform his jewellery in the years… Read more »

Annual Costume & Textile symposium: registrations open


The Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand has just opened registrations for its symposium which is taking place at Massey University, Wellington on 7- 8 July. The year’s theme, Nature Now, provides the opportunity to explore historical, contemporary and even future connections between nature, dress and textiles. The symposium is open to members and non-members alike. Held annually, it… Read more »

Barry Brickell (1935-2016)

[Barry Brickell], 1956, Auckland, by Steve Rumsey. Purchased 1998. Te Papa (F.009393)

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to an extraordinary New Zealander – potter, artist, railway enthusiast, conservationist and a self confessed ‘practical visionary’. Our condolences go to Barry’s family and many friends. Barry was a second generation studio potter, following the pioneering achievements of potters including Len Castle who mentored Barry as a… Read more »

Call for papers: Costume & Textile Association of NZ symposium

Nature Now The Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand is calling for papers for their 2016 symposium, the theme of which is Nature Now. The symposium will take place 7-8 July 2016 at Massey University, Wellington. The natural world has long been a source of raw materials for textiles and clothing, from dyes to… Read more »

Dreaming of the modern – Helen Hitchings

Photo of Helen Hitchings

It was while Helen Hitchings (1920-2002) was in hospital during the early 1940s that the idea of forming a gallery came to her. The Gallery of Helen Hitchings was opened in Wellington in 1949, her mission to promote an awareness of ‘good domestic design’, made by New Zealanders– up to date examples of modernism free… Read more »

Captain Cook’s inspirational waistcoats

Alison Larkin's replica of Captain Cook's waistcoat on display at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby, 2015. Photo courtesy of Alison Larkin.

Te Papa’s Captain Cook waistcoat During Te Papa’s recent ‘Open House’ weekend many visitors on the Costume & Textile Store tour were captivated by Captain Cook’s waistcoat, or at least a waistcoat reputed to have been worn by the great explorer. The beautifully embroidered waistcoat is said to have come from a house where James Cook once stayed.  The… Read more »

The Lethbridge Sisters – inspiring designers a century on

Students from Massey Univesities

The industrious Lethbridge sisters Earlier this year Te Papa was approached by Red Strand Design. Based in Cork and London, the company specialises in design-based cultural and education projects. They invited us to take part in Passion & Legacy, a project inspired by the incredible stitch work of the ‘Lethbridge Sisters’, Julia Baroness Carew (1863-1922) and Lady Jane Cory (1865-1947)…. Read more »