textile/adjacent - TheSeeHere

textile/adjacent is provoked by textile’s material markers, considering texture, colour, form, structure, value, culture and meaning.

Adjacent: close or near, sharing a border

In the spirit of the whakataukī whiria te tāngata - weaving or binding the people together - TheSeeHere* presents a multi-artist show with work by; Vivien Atkinson, Becky Bliss, Pam Brabants, Sandy Connon, Mel Ford, Marilyn Jones, Greta Menzies, Sarah Read, Caroline Thomas, Nina van Duijnhoven and Tia Venning.

*TheSeeHere is an artist-run window gallery founded in 2010, currently located at 85 Ghuznee St, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.  The collective is dedicated to producing work that engages with its physical parameters as a window gallery. Their work is experimental and explorative.

The artist collective behind TheSeeHere presents an exhibition with works sharing a common thread. The eleven members, with their individual practices and histories responded to a prompt to create textile-adjacent work for the Threads Textile Festival in Wellington as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts in 2022 and was originally shown at the Backroom Gallery in Anvil House Studio, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. 

This show is an opportunity for TheSeeHere members to show their work collectively, unconstrained by the limited space of the window gallery in which they exhibit individually for a month every year. Weaving together work from different perspectives offers up possibilities for enriching conversations and even some (polite) arguments between the works, the artists and the viewers. Of course, with a diverse group of artists/practices there are going to be many interesting stories – these are told in the individual artist statements which are in the exhibition room sheet.


Becky Bliss
Colour of Change, 2020
2020, Plaster resin, paint, mild steel

These brooches are a graphical representation of the globally complex and undesirable issues of temperature change over 120 years in the Pacific.
The textile industry was one of the first to be mechanised, so it seems appropriate to reference it in these brooches, using the grid of woven fabric.
Global warming has been known about for over 150 years. Instead of heeding the warnings we multiplied our reliance on fossil fuels, resulting in a dependence that will not easily be broken.

Becky Bliss graduated from Whitireia in 2010 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts majoring in contemporary jewellery. Her current works look at social issues such as global warming, fair pay and equal employment opportunities.


Caroline Thomas
An Antidote for Imposter Syndrome
2022, Curtain weights, brass, copper, wood, paint

This work is Caroline’s attempt to combat Imposter Syndrome.

Her piece acknowledges the fact that many people find it impossible to shake the dreaded grasp of Imposter Syndrome. No success is ever good enough to erase the threat that they will be found out and revealed as undeserving. Failure and missing out on opportunities further compound the belief that everyone knows they are frauds, just as they know it themselves.

Caroline’s work asks you to value and believe in what you do so that any perceived success or failure does not matter. Regardless of whether others recognise the worth of a work, or dismiss its merit - what matters is that the work is loved by its maker.

Caroline was born in the UK to Kiwi parents. She moved to Aotearoa in 2007 and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Contemporary Jewellery from Whitereia, NZ in 2013. Since then she has exhibited widely in NZ and internationally and is a current member of TheSeeHere and Occupation: Artist. She has also participated in the HandShake jewellery mentoring programme.


Greta Menzies
A Conversational Skin
2014, Silk Georgette, cotton, ink

Greta Menzies is a visual artist whose multidisciplinary practice sits at the intersection of art and design. This work is one of nine ‘pelts’ from a project called Conversational Skins, which imagined an alternative relationship with textiles/clothing in which the fabric was treasured, rather than a disposable item.

Using zero-waste cutting techniques so that no cloth was discarded, Greta created a garment from the flat fabric. After wearing the garment for a time she then restored the fabric back to a flat form using various ‘healing’ techniques. The cycle was repeated - flat, form, flat, form etc, resulting in multiple garments from the same cloth. From this action a series of ‘scars’ evolved, a record of its history drawn on the surface of the fabric.

Thinking of these fabrics as ‘heirloom pelts’ , as a literal second skin that was shaped through cutting and healing, Greta imagined a more poetic relationship with fashioning the body, seeking to avoid the slave-labour and waste of the fashion/textile industry while embracing the shape-shifting qualities of clothing.

Greta Menzies is a visual artist whose multidisciplinary practice sits at the intersection of art and design. She has a Bachelor of Textile Design and a Master of Design from Massey University College of Creative Arts.


Marilyn Jones
A Good Yellow
2022, House paint, galvanised steel wire, heat shrink tubing, found photograph

Marilyn’s mother was an excellent seamstress who sewed many of the family’s clothes, from corduroy trousers to Sunday Best. One garment that Marilyn remembers in particular is the inspiration for this piece – a going-to-church dress made when she was about six years old. A short-sleeved yellow wool dress pieced from the remnants of another project, it had a trim at the neck crocheted from white angora yarn. When reminded of the dress, her mother remembered that the dress was ‘a good yellow’. Marilyn can still recall the feel of the soft, fluffy trim and the sensation of the bumpy crochet between her fingers. The wire and heat shrink tube stand in for the angora and she has shaped and manipulated the wire using hand movements that evoke the action of crochet.

Marilyn is a multimedia artist who is interested in the interplay between textiles, wire and printmaking. Within her practice she realises the potential for sketches, abstractions and combinations that evoke textile mechanisms. She constantly dives into her rich treasure trove of resources seeking inspiration for new projects. She was born and raised in Auckland and is now based in New Plymouth. Marilyn completed her BFA (Hons) at Massey University, Wellington.


Mel Ford
2009 – ongoing, Artist’s hair

Artists’ own hair gathered as detritus and felted into small incremental balls from 2009 to the present time.

This work is an attempt to document an incremental transition during which I, as the maker, have traded beauty for wisdom and in doing so have become more accustomed to wearing the crown of a crone. To date this work remains unfinished.

Time, like many textile processes, can be viewed as linear, cyclical, repetitive or layered. Incremental moments are accumulated and bound together as we each weave our own version of life’s rich tapestry. Change is constant.

Mel Ford graduated from Ilam in 1989 with a Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in Painting. Her creative practice often examines multiples of similar found discarded objects/materials which she organizes according to specific criteria. Many of her works contain references to passing time.


Nina van Duijnhoven
The (un)seen
2022, Japanese rice paper, black cotton thread, pastel

Nina’s work explores environmental issues and spiritual beliefs such as impermanence and non-attachment. She examines the human connection to material possessions, emotions, ideas and beliefs. Working in the discipline of contemporary jewellery, she has a particular interest in the relationships and attachments formed between jewellery, its makers, owners and audience.

In this work, two sheets of Japanese rice paper represent the conscious and subconscious, the thread in between portrays the memories, there are spaces for fragments, blanks and even false recollections. Memories are part of who we are. For some they are vivid and connect us strongly to the past, but for others they are fleeting wisps, their incompleteness troubling.

Nina completed her Bachelor of Applied Arts, majoring in Contemporary Jewellery at Whitireia, New Zealand in 2018. Nina was a participant in Handshake 6 and 7. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and was selected for Schmuck 2020.


Pam Brabants
Portrait of my Father, in his own words
2022, Found hankies, cotton thread

Pam Brabants is a visual artist who creates in a variety of mediums including large scale pencil drawings often incorporating repetitive texts, self-published comic books, hand-stitched pieces, sculpture using found objects and fabric, and reductive collage using found record covers. Acting as an observational participant, Pam uses pathos, irony and humour. She comments " I want my works to act as anecdotes or records of human events or frailties."

The serendipity of this exhibition gave both context and purpose to this work, planned (Pam had bought the tourist hankies on her last visit to Ireland 6 months before the beginning of the Pandemic) and begun some time ago. It references her Father, who died many years before, a larger-than-life Irishman, the use of hankies, his troublesome sinuses and the embroidered sayings' his often-pithy view of the world grown from his experiences.

Pam completed a BA in Fine Art Sculpture and an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, London, in 2000.


Sandy Connon
Goodness Knows
2022, Found wool scraps, embroidery cotton

My Mum is a maker, out of necessity originally but then her and Dad both stitched and made generously. My interest in making is down to them.

I started this work after my Father died and I was helping my Mother navigate her solo journey after 68 years of marriage. My Mum’s repeated anguished phrase, “Goodness Knows” seemed a fitting title for these pieces.

It was a time of absence and everyday presence, reminders of a long life and an uncertain future. For me, being here in Auckland was a complicated navigation of love, duty and familial triggers.Making these pieces made me smile though, as I filtered memories and pondered who I am.

Sandy Connon is a Wellington photographer/maker, based in Newtown.


Sarah Read
Navigation Aids
2019–22, Glass beads, thread

Sarah Read lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and works mostly in the field of contemporary jewellery. She started using glass beads in 2019, when time and space for making were limited by circumstance. They enabled her to be productive in places not designated for art activity, and to work in short bursts as time permitted. Since then, learning as she goes, she’s produced countless experimental samplers, some of which she’s later combined into 2- or 3-D forms.

There’s a lot to be said for having something to do with one’s hands whilst processing unbearable news. From the bush fires in early 2020 to today’s heartbreak in Ukraine, via Covid-19, othering, disunity and private grief, there’s been plenty of need for that tiny pause when the silk moves through the glass. In. Out. Becky Richards’ essay On Crafting and Coping (eloquent, pertinent; well worth a read) explains why it’s currently so hard to do anything requiring conceptual thought, whilst repetitive, manual tasks with predictable rhythms (eg thread a bead, thread another bead, repeat all day) remain accessible (compulsive even), existential dread notwithstanding.
It is difficult to make a map in splintered times. - Deborah Levy

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Contemporary Jewellery from Whitireia New Zealand.


Tia Venning
Aroha is a Verb
2019–22, Organic cotton t-shirt, embroidery thread, aluminium, brass, enamel paint

This work is an exploration of a deeper understanding of the Māori word, ‘Aroha’. Frequently translated simply as ‘love’, the true meaning of aroha is often missed and its true definition has become confined; flat; one-dimensional.

To truly understand Aroha is to feel its presence as a driving force to act for the betterment of others. It is a tangible value that is to be expressed through one's actions and generosity, and it is given unconditionally without expectation of reciprocity.

Felt, sensed, gifted, absorbed, shared; aroha is a verb.


Vivien Atkinson
A reminder to remember (necklace)
2022, Cord

This work is inspired by the scores (sets of instructions) used by the avant-garde Fluxus artists beginning in the late 1950s. Reacting against the elite and institutional hierarchy of both the commercial and public gallery systems, the instructions stretched from making art of everyday actions, to bizarre /surrealistic and utterly impossible concepts.

During periods of lock-down and isolation, walking has become a way many folk have adopted to relieve stress and keep active and fit. The benefits of being in the fresh air and natural environment, even if it is only along city streets, are many. I wrote instructions for things to do/observe during 7 walks – this necklace is the result. The project is designed to encourage noticing – capturing and remembering the significant/special moments that help to dispel the gloom and lethargy that now hangs over us all.

Atkinson was born in Australia but is now based in Wellington, New Zealand. She has degrees in Fine Art (Massey University, RMIT) and Applied Art (Whitereia). Her practice stems from a continuing interest in research and aspects of memory, identity, nostalgia and social history.