Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence Annie Mackenzie is the first weaver to take up the residency, which is managed by the Sarjeant Gallery te Whare o Rehua Whanganui.

Mackenzie creates hand-loomed artworks and is interested in the notion that people communicate about their culture through textiles.

Some of her own cultural roots are in Scotland.

"All cultures have weaving, it's a very ancient practice. My dad's grandmother and extended family had been weavers in the Scottish mills, so they had been involved in the commercial production of textiles.


"I definitely feel an affinity with weaving," Mackenzie says.

Her inspiration for the residency arose from textiles she saw in the works of Edith Collier. On her loom in the cottage studio a length of blue and white weaving is taking shape. The work is linked to one of Collier's paintings of a girl sitting on a bed with a blue and white bedspread.

"I started looking at [Edith Collier's] paintings and the textiles in them. Quite often in paintings, especially portraiture, you see the domestic stuff that's around in life at the time."

Whanganui artist Edith Collier. Photo / Supplied
Whanganui artist Edith Collier. Photo / Supplied

The colours and their interactions are much subtler than simple blue and white.

"Playing with the colours is quite delicious – there is something wonderful in learning about colour with weaving – you are crossing the warp and the weft and unexpected things happen. This weave I'm doing at the moment is double weave and the way the different colours cross is unexpected – the ways the blues and the greens play with each other."

Joanna Margaret Paul has also come more closely to her attention during the residency.

"I saw her name on a building in town so I went to the Sarjeant and looked at some of her works. That's the other wonderful thing about the residency: you can go and look at the artworks whenever you want to. She is like Edith Collier in that she painted a lot of interiors, more domestic spaces. And there are a lot of textiles in her work.

"I feel kind of sad that I missed her. There is something about her method of working that I can relate to. I get the impression that she didn't see her artwork as being separate from just living a life – rather it was part and parcel, and she just fitted it in around whatever else was happening. I relate to that."

Tylee Cottage hosts artist-in-residence Annie Mackenzie. Photo / File
Tylee Cottage hosts artist-in-residence Annie Mackenzie. Photo / File

Mackenzie studied sculpture for her degree at Ilam School of Fine Arts in Christchurch, a background she draws on when creating weaving installations that have been exhibited at galleries such as The Dowse Art Gallery in Lower Hutt and Enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington.

Although she was not formally trained in weaving, Mackenzie acknowledges the weaving skills she has learned from older women members of the Wellington guilds she has belonged to for the past five years, skills and expertise that have contributed to her winning the 2016 National Creative Fibre New Weavers Award.

The work Mackenzie creates as part of her residency will be exhibited at the Sarjeant Gallery next year.