Focussed on re-contextualising craft, Margaret Lewis takes stitchcraft from the traditional to the contemporary in its use of non-traditional materials (paintball masks to protect protestors, chicken wire to stitch a fence, sifters and sieves to stitch contemporary samplers and vintage racquets to volleying a conversation) to make social observation and commentary.
Lewis sees her role as an artist and producer is to bridge aesthetics, explore the application of innovative materials, champion excellence in making and to engage different communities in the creation of unique art-works.
Lewis is a contemporary textile artist using traditional crafting techniques (knitting, crochet, embroidery, macrame) and re- contextualising them by her use of unexpected materials. Self taught her practice could be described as ‘making a silk-purse out of a sow’s ear’, in that her works use easily found (and often discarded) items as her canvas. Originally designing hand crafted fashion her practice changed focus after many of her works (and materials) were destroyed in a fire in 2013. Since then her focus has changed to making works with and for communities. Her works have been exhibited at the Waikato Museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Splore and ACL Festivals, as well as NZ Sculpture OnShore. She has spoken at UK Conference ‘Making Futures’, CTANZ Fibre Connecting People Symposium and also the CCD Summit Aotearoa.
Artweek AKL Director,Deborah White in describing her work says,
“it is not enough to make “art for arts’ sake”, for the benefit of private collectors or influenced by what is currently trending instead her work takes a socially conscious attitude in the ideas presented and the materials used, the end result is well developed and powerful.”
Curator, Producer and Street Artist Ross Liew says, ‘the street loves nana’
“is based on community action and effort. ..It reinterprets a familiar yet fading knowledge into a contemporary context.
…Hers is an invitation to participate in the very making of the work; without the audience who become active collaborators, the work would not exist.”
Her practice is shaped by:
● Applying the skills and practices of handmaking to create innovative, contemporary artifacts that surprise and delight audiences and stimulate engagement and conversation
● Ensuring that older generations from different cultures pass on handmaking skills to younger generations so that they do not die out
● Encouraging people to explore different means and media for creative exploration and making