Christine Keller is a senior professional weaver from Dunedin. She operates the LoomRoom in Dunedin which you can explore through her website https://christinekeller.co.nz/
As a long standing and very valued member of The Surface Design Association, Christine joined in the exhibition call for ‘Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud’ on from January 20th 2022 – February 28th 2022, the annual regional exhibition for members of the NZ regional group of the SDA. A gentle, whimsical woven salute to the recurrent influences of our geographical horizons, created with hand-spun and dyed wool :
Living on an Island ( 30cm x 200 cm approx.)
I come from the Northern part of Germany. Hamburg. The highest mountain in my hometown is 92 m high. Growing up I was surrounded by an ocean of houses but when I did see the county I could see very far with many lines to the landscape. We say that “we see in the morning who will visit us in the afternoon”. Landscape and home was always flat for me.
Now I live in Dunedin which is known as the city of seven hills. I am surrounded to landscape which is foreign to me and the hills make me feel boxed in.
Living on an island and close to the ocean gives me the option at any time to see the huge skies over the flat. The Ocean and water is, again, foreign and at times scary to me but the sky is familiar.
Given an estate of wool from a spinner, I found a few balls of wool spun in the colours of sky and land of my childhood and I was attracted by those right away. Weaving it in with a very fine Mohair warp provided me with the layers and layers of horizons I appreciate when looking at the space where the sea meets the sky. The ocean is the next best thing I have in my new home to ground me to my old home which I do miss deep down inside.
Christine was the tutor in residence for “Weaving Comes to Town” in Opunake from 2nd September – 6th September 2021This was a wonderfully creative and stimulating experience for all the people involved.
Christine was one of the SDA artists in the exhibition “Diaries” on at ‘from out of the blue studio gallery’ until September 13th 2021. Many details about the diary work can be found on Christine’s web site https://christinekeller.co.nz/pages/copy-of-for-the-wall-woven-diary.
Many of Christine’s projects have an environmental concern underpinning them – this includes the work she created for Dreaming of the Future. Christine writes about Think while you do the Dishes:
We have to change. In our attitude to objects, consumption and agriculture.
During the last few years I started the production of hand-woven Kitchen towels in Dunedin as a means of storytelling. They are simple everyday objects which cost much more than their mass-produced sisters due to time and effort gone into them. They have added value due to the touch of the maker. They are good at what they do – they dry dishes, they give pleasure. They are an individual object which has been made by a local human. Future owners might find a link to a website in the hanging label. This is where the object starts to tell a story.
In the first series I have responded to the research of Adan E. Suazo in Peace and Conflict Studies who told me about conflict arising when people sell their water rights. I am deeply concerned about our future consequences of selling off our rights to water and food to entities out of New Zealand. This towel links you to the website of aotearoawateraction.org which is a group of brave men and women fighting for our water rights to stay within the country and the people. The colours are inspired by the colours of images of bottled water, pin stripes and river-coloured prison bars. These bars represent my worry that once those rights are gone for us, we are stuck with the consequences.
I hope that I can interest more people to buy less, buy local and treat their objects well enough to last a very long time.
These art towels are so soft, you can tell by touching them that they would dry any object quickly without any residue. They are timeless handcrafted bespoke collectibles. A very gentle way to lead people into thinking more about selling water rights to bottling companies, water shortages, water conservation and water quality at a time when these issues are becoming very central to our survival as people and the health of the planet and our own special Aotearoa.
Christine has provided us with her bio and an overview of her artistic career. What a privilege to have such a highly esteemed weaver participating in this Exhibition.
German born New Zealand based artist Christine Keller positions her work between textile design, contemporary art, new media research and innovation. She is interested in the clash of tradition and new technologies, and its social and political implications on communities and individuals. In recent years, people and environment and the consequences for a future in times of climate change has become the focus of her action and production. As a result of her involvement with the international textiles community (member of SDA (America), ETN (Europe), CTANZ, Creative Fibre, and PWN (all NZ)) she has been living away from her home country for over twenty years. Her work has been exhibited internationally since 1994 (Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, USA) and has featured for example in the publications, Techno Textiles 1 and 2 (1998, 2005) by Marie O’Mahony, Warp and Weft (2012) by Jessica Hemmings, and Textiles – The Art of Mankind (2012) by Marie Schoeser. She is an award-winning designer, especially for the innovation of her woven and felted design work for ‘Handweberei Rosenwinkel’ (1998-2001) in Germany. Since 1994 she has been involved with the Centre for Contemporary Textiles in Montreal Canada where she developed an affinity with hand woven Jacquard work. Christine Keller holds a MFA from Concordia University (2004) and a Dipl. Des. In Textile Design from Gesamthochschule Kassel (1993) (equivalent to Masters), at the end of her Apprenticeship in Loom Weaving in Hamburg she has been awarded as the Best new Hand Weaver in Germany in 1987. After her MFA she has investigated electronic textiles as associate researcher at XS-labs in Montreal, with Prof Joanna Berzowska as main investigator. Christine has taught Textile Design, Weaving and Fine Arts in Germany, Mongolia, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In July 2005 she was invited to come to the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic as Academic Leader of the Textile Section and held that position until restructuring in 2010. Since 2011 she has been dreaming of a place where people can come together and learn and produce textile work, especially weaving, and where she can share her knowledge while there is also space for her own growth as an artist. In 2013 she started to teach community weaving classes. Today Dunedin’s LoomRoom, her custom build, self-funded studio is run like a social enterprise and has become an institution in Dunedin and Otago with about 25 students of all ages and backgrounds per term. In 2016 Christine became dual citizen of New Zealand and Germany. She lives with her husband in Dunedin.
2001 Alen-Mueller-Hellwig Award for submission to the culture of Northern Germany, Lübeck, Germany
2000 Innovation Award, Innovation State Award of the Lower Saxony Chamber of Crafts, Peine, Germany
2000 Förderpreis Lower Saxony Award for the Designing Crafts, Hanover, Germany
2000 Merit Award “Measure for Measure” exhibition at the 11th Surface Design Conference, KCAI Kansas City Art Institute, MO
2000 Textile Culture Haslach, 2nd Price, at international juried exhibition, Haslach, Austria
1994 Semi-Finalist at “The International Textile Design Contest of the Fashion Foundation” 1994, Tokyo, Japan
Her work is collected by
Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum of Arts and Crafts)
Deutsches Märchen und Wesersagenmuseum, Bad Oeynhausen (German Fairytale Museum)
Christine’s beautiful kitchen towels are now available through the gallery web shop. Please contact the gallery if you require any more information.