Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Flax Weaving together

A month ago I shared with the children my taonga, my flax kete, woven during a weekend workshop with Jo Samuel. The children were fascinated and began to make plans. They wanted to make flax bows - and were eager to teach me this skill.

Unfortunately it was raining - and flax can not be cut in the rain. This is Maori protocol. Cutting flax in the rain can damage the flax bush over time. So we waited for a time that was best for ourselves and the flax.

Today, with sunshine and enthusiasm - a group of us gathered around the flax. The small group saw the structure of the harakeke bush and were shown how its cut. The outer leaves of the flax fan are the ones we cut. The inner leaves are the pepe (baby) - cutting them cuts the life out of the flax bush.

We saw many examples of unhealthy leaves on our flax - an indication that not enough air is getting through the bushes (another working bee?)

Back inside the kindergarten our group grew and the children saw and experienced the grain of the fiber on the flax. We learnt and took turns splitting the leaves and preparing them for weaving. Olivia demonstrated flax bows. Then I demonstrated the weaving of the flax and creation of a putiputi (flower). Everyone was keen to get hands on experience.

Unfortunately we did not have enough time, healthy flax, or supporting adults today for the large and interested group of weavers. If you have knowledge and skills in this area - we would love your help and support.

Watch the slide show and marvel at the children's newly acquired skills.

1 comment:

Team 3 said...

Way to go Manaia Kindergaten! It's great to see what you have been up to. I loved looking at the photos of you all creating your harakeke flowers. Ka Pai To Mahi.