Twinkling in the winter sky just before dawn, Matariki (the Pleiades) signals the Maori New Year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life. In the 21st century, observing Matariki has become popular again. Heaven-bound kites, hot-air balloons and fireworks help mark the occasion.
Around the time of Winter Solstice, New Zealanders come together to observe Matariki and celebrate the return of the light. My daughters have enjoyed a wonderful two days at school of ‘Art Attack’ making some beautiful artworks, inspired by Matariki. One of the activities involved weaving and they loved it so much that I’ve had to go out and buy more wool!
Here’s one of their finished pieces, symbolising the seven stars of the Pleiades constellation (Matariki in Maori).
My oldest daughter, nearly twelve, didn’t get to do ‘Art Attack’ (as she’s in middle school now… aww, miss out on all the fun!), but she created a beautiful weaving of her own, which she’s hung in her room.
She’s also been busy on her sewing machine. We went away for the weekend and she asked me to pack the sewing machine and the iron! She made a gorgeous cover for her sewing machine and stitched on the pocket organiser she’d made too. She has also made a couple of bags, using velcro to make a secure fastener.
I’m looking forward to more of their Matariki inspired art coming home from school. I’ve seen it displayed along the corridors of the school. There’s amazing chalk drawings, painted pebbles and gorgeous, waxy crayon stars.
If you’d like to do your own weaving, simply tie two skewer sticks together. Take about one metre of wool and tie it onto the sticks at the centre. Then start weaving the wool around, wrapping it around each stick once, before moving onto the next stick. When the metre of wool (or however much you like, for your design) is coming to an end, tie on a different colour of wool. Continue in a circle, wrapping the wool around the stick and moving onto the next, moving outward to cover the sticks. You will be left with a beautiful ‘eye’ like star!
One final thing to share (that was a gorgeous, happy heart, moment for Mum & Dad this week), the girls found a huge roll of brown paper, that had been used as packing with something or other on a delivery to the home, and set to work drawing away to their hearts content! Whilst they drew, hubby was busy creating music, there was also some kinetic sand ‘baking’ and some ‘free range’ dancing after all the drawing.
This is winter at its best!
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