MELISSA ROBINSON COLE - NGĀTI HINEAMARU, NGĀTI KAHU
Lissy’s purpose is Joy, pure and simple. As a child, Lissy spent countless hours with her father, renowned fashion designer, Colin Cole in his salon exploring what she calls a magical playground of fabric, beads, feathers and trim. Lissy says she has been heavily influenced by her father whose generosity of spirit and high creativity has impacted how she sees life, and how she expresses herself through her own creativity.
Even 30 years after his death, Lissy feels her father beaming with joy when she creates.
Experimenting with all forms of textiles her aesthetic today is bold, joyful and unapologetic.
Lissy pushes back on societal pressures to conform to a certain look or way of being and believes that we need to stand in our own unique magnificence.
Crocheting has become an avenue of joy which has opened up a whole new creative flow for Lissy who collaborates with her husband artist and sculptor, Rudi Robinson. Together they are exploring crochet from a Te Ao Māori lens, incorporating sculptural and architectural forms to create large scale three-dimensional art installations.
Their kaupapa of joy is paramount to their aesthetic which they bring to their communities through the use of neon and bright coloured yarn, reflecting their love of life and desire to uplift people’s spirits.
Lissy and Rudi hope their art allows an opportunity for people to encounter and interact with crochet in new and meaningful ways which spark imagination, conversation and connection.
RUDI ROBINSON - WAIKATO/NGĀTI PĀOA, NGĀRUAHINE
Empowering people is the essential ingredient for Rudi and his art reflects his deep love for people. Growing up in the small forestry village of Kaingaroa, Rudi’s close connection to his whanau has instilled in him a strong sense of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga.
Attending Hato Tipene as a teenager, Rudi’s journey to develop and explore his own creative expression was born. Immersed in Te Ao Maori, a deep love for his culture is imbued into each piece Rudi creates. Rudi has worked predominantly with metals over the past 15 years and has worked with acclaimed Maori sculptor Eugene Kara at Te Puia Arts and Crafts Institute to design and create a fully carved bronze pataka. The pataka which holds the declaration of independence for indigenous peoples was completed in 2016.
For over a decade Rudi has worked as a trade and welding tutor using this medium to inspire the lives of students to aim high. Now, Rudi collaborates with Lissy on crochet projects bringing joy and inspiration to their communities. This has led him to explore more sculptural elements for crochet projects sparking new ideas and ways of connecting both his love for his culture and creating art which inspires people to see and connect with their environments differently.