2017 Leslie Taylor

Leslie Taylor received ATA’s Award for Excellence for her work, “My Journey.” The tapestry was exhibited in New Zealand Creative Fibre National Exhibition – Entwine at Chateau on the Park, April 2017. The show was sponsored by Creative Fibre Canterbury Area.

Leslie says of her work:

“’My Journey’ is taken from a place on Banks Peninsula, NZ, called Camp Bay. Between 1863- 1877 early settlers and sailors who became ill with contagious diseases while on board ships were put ashore at a quarantine station called Camp Bay. Seventy pour souls are buried here, unable to survive the atrocious weather and conditions. Initially only canvas tents were provided for shelter, later timber buildings were erected, hence the name Camp Bay.

This Award has given me new insight into my tapestry weaving and design. Most of my designs are based on the landscape around me and transcribed into a format that works for me with Tapestry.

I was born in 1945, went to school in Christchurch, served my apprenticeship as a carpenter and went landscape gardening, running my own business. I have 3 gold medals for cake decorating, and I also make pottery. The design side of my work has continued into my tapestry as it has given me an eye for shape, form and line. This, along with my Maori heritage, play a large part in my designs.

Working on my own design, gives me a sense of achievement. I chose colors as I go from what I have available. I prefer to work this way. I never paint my cartoons, as it would be impossible to match colors without dyeing wool. I wind colors together over a piece of cardboard to see how they work together, blending colors to create the desired effect.

Tapestry for me combines so many different senses, the visual, emotional and spiritual and in many cases the bringing together of my heritage. These patterns can often be seen in my work. In this piece, the koru plays an important part of the design. The circular pattern is derived from the unfurling Silver Fern frond and symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace. It is an integral symbol in Maori art, carving and tattoos. To incorporate these designs into my tapestries allows me a freedom that is so special. I want to weave forever.”

Leslie Taylor, “My Journey”