TAPA-stry in the Mist - Tivaivai Embroidery Mural Workshop

TAPA-stry in the Mist - Tivaivai Embroidery Mural Workshop

Tapa-stry in the Mist is a collaborative workshop and mural project that will take place over three days at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The finished work will feature in a showcase exhibition ‘VAKA 500’ on Thursday 13 April 2017 at the Green Rooms, Station Road in Wood Green.

The mural aims to reflect the impact women and families faced when men from the Pacific and around the world were called to fight in World War I. A group of five heritage embroiderers from the Cook Islands have come to London to share stories, knowledge and skills with London’s textile and fabric enthusiasts and artisans.

The showcase exhibition VAKA 500 - Lest we forget 500 Cook Island Soldiers – is a celebration and acknowledgement to 500 Cook Island Soldiers that travelled from their remote islands in the Pacific to fight in World War One. This showcase aims to set the scene for a larger exhibition that will take place in London in 2018.

‘Tivaivai’ is the Pacific name used in reference to a form of embroidery that was introduced, to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, by the London Missionary Society wives around 1825. ‘Tivaivai’ also means bedcover and ‘tuitui’ means sewing.

The form of craft was taught during a period of time where religion became accepted and made the practice important to exchange and conversation was part of a wider religious conversion process.

Flour bags used for stitching came from London Missionary boats carrying supplies from the United Kingdom and around the Pacific. As markets and traffic throughout the Pacific increased around the 1870’s colours start to appear and in the 1920’s accessibility to additional fabrics occur. Fabric was soon to replace natural fibres including traditional tapa cloth and grass.

Today creations are freestyle and influenced directly from the surrounding environment of the islands. It is high likely, according to those who participate in this contemporary form that the skill and craft will die out with this older generation.

This workshop is part of the National Maritime Museum Pacific Community Consultation Process.

During the session we will be discussing the next stage of the project 'MISSIONARY LEGACY'.

Please feel free to come to the three days, or drop in and say hello during project hours. We look forward to seeing you there and having you contribute.

Attend Contact

Time & Date

Monday, 10 April 2017, 12:00 AM - Wednesday, 12 April 2017, 12:00 AM


Park Row, Greenwich, London, SE 10 9NF

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