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Art & Wellbeing is the home of Maori Contemporary artist Alice Spittle. 

Alice finds it hard to define herself as a painter, weaver or mixed media artist but she would consider herself as a Maori contemporary artist, exploring life creatively through as many art forms as she can. Each art form inspires and compliments the others and they allow her to stay motivated and focused on her passion.

Alice has been passionate about raranga since she first started weaving in 2001. However, it was only in 2017 that Alice discovered her grandmother was a weaver and wove kete (baskets) for her local Marae as well as kakahu (clothing). 

Her mother has always encouraged her to be creative but after this discovery it was made clear where her unexplained, overwhelming passion for all things raranga came from.

Alice decided to take her passion and turn it into her future. She attended Te Wānanga O Raukawa (The University of Ōtaki) in 2001. Here she studied Māori Art and History with some basic reo (language). It was here that everything started to make sense, her passion became something she could pursue. She is very thankful to have these institutions available so that people are able to learn from kaumātua (elders) and the knowledge and traditions of the Māori culture are preserved. 

After completing a year of study Alice moved back to her hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. It was here that she found her own kaumātua (elders) and mentors who helped to support and guide her on her journey and still do today. She felt honoured to be able to be apart of their lives as they not only helped to refine her skills but also shared with her their personal knowledge and stories (this is like the honour of being passed down a family recipe). Through their stories and teaching she learnt that raranga is something that encompasses our lives. It’s about how we see the world and how we look after our family, Papatūānuku (Mother Nature) and overall how we connect to the whenua (land).

The sharing of Māori language, culture and tikanga is an important part of keeping the Māori culture (and all it encompasses) alive. 

Māori and many others are fighting hard to keep the culture alive and helping it thrive in New Zealand. Māori have established educational institutions dedicated to teaching all aspects of the Māori culture from arts to language and everything in between. Having these institutions available means that there are pathways for kaumātua (elders) to pass their knowledge on to others. 

Alice and her work have also been featured in The Christchurch Press, Mana Magazine NZ, The Courier Mail Brisbane, Indie Road Magazine Australia, Coal Coast Magazine Australia, Fibres of Being, Tommie Magazine Sydney, Maori TV, the ABC Sunshine Coast and more. 

Exhibitions & Events:

  • Waiata ki te Wai with Yo-Yo Ma, Christchurch, NZ

  • The Australian Museum, Sydney

  • Spirit Weavers Gathering, California, USA

  • Woodford Folk Festival, Queensland, Australia

  • The Planting Festival, Queensland

  • Artisan Camp, Woodford, Queensland

  • WOW (Women of the World) Festival, Brisbane Powerhouse

  • Jamboree Creative Weekend, NSW

  • Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania

  • Camp Creative, Bellingen

  • Horizon Arts and Culture Festival, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

  • Art Street Maleny, Queensland

  • Fish Hooks and Moving Trees Touring exhibition - Brisbane, Bundaberg, Mackay and Gladstone, Queensland

  • BEMAC Gallery, The Queensland Multicultural Centre, Brisbane

  • Gold and Green Stone Exhibition, Arts Centre, Gold Coast

  • Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand

  • Te Toi Mana Gallery, Arts Centre, Christchurch

Weaving Workshops:

 

Alice has been teaching traditional NZ Maori basket weaving throughout NZ and Australia and is more than happy to travel nationally and internationally.  She has worked in exhibitions, events, schools and community groups to personal workshops in peoples homes. 

Raranga (Weaving) Workshops:

Connect with nature and get creative while using traditional New Zealand Maori techniques along with your own contemporary ideas to explore this amazing plant and fibre.  Alice will teach you the traditional techniques of weaving with New Zealand harakeke (flax) and together you will explore and discuss the processes, traditions, Tikanga (protocols) around weaving as well as how to nurture the plant and how to harvest sustainably.  All materials and resources are provided.

Whether you are a beginner or have experience in other weaving techniques, you will enjoy a day (or weekend) of weaving in a safe and nurturing environment that suits all abilities.

Some workshops Alice can provide are:

Putiputi (Flowers) & Bracelets

  • Time: 3 hours

  • Cost: $45 pp

  • These workshops require 10 people min / 15 people max

Learn to weave a Kete (basket)

  • Time: 6 hours (60 min break)

  • Cost: $85 pp

  • These workshops require 10 people min / 12 people max

Learn to weave a Waikawa (Bush basket)

  • Time: 6 hours (60 min break)

  • Cost:  $85 pp

  • These workshops require 8 people min / 10 people max

If you are interested in hosting a workshop, please get in touch below or visit our workshop page for upcoming workshops and events.