Necessary Traditions – the Main Event

Facebook image2.jpgIn central Ōtautahi Christchurch on Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th November 2018 you will find something happening that is very new and different yet as old as time – Necessary Traditions, our festival of resourceful craft and other necessary traditions. More about the kaupapa behind the festival here.

Enjoy time at the The Arts Centre watching skilled resourceful people show how and share why they do their work. You’ll see over 40 practitioners demonstrate their necessary traditions: watch a knife or a nail being forged, shoes being made in two different ways, Rongōa Māori healing traditions from local plants, a basket being woven from nothing but willow sticks, a cup carved from a log, a blanket from a local fleece, a book bound from waste paper, a chair from a tree, dye colour from plants and much more. See the magic of materials being transformed into use & beauty by skilled dedicatedpractitioners.

This main festival event runs from 10am to 5pm on both days. Tickets are available via this link and are essential to see all the craftspeople at work.

Necessary Traditions 2018 Line-Up

We are so delighted to have this group of resourceful practitioners with us for this year’s festival. The list, so far, of what you’ll see:

Beeswax candle making by Jeff Robinson, Blacksmithing by Chris Daube, Bookbinding by Sandy Corbett, Boot/Shoe making by Louise Ayling, Boot/Shoe making by Louise Clifton of Shoe School, Buttonhole hand-sewing & Darning by Steven Park of 6×4, Ceramics with local pigments & clays by Tatyanna Meharry, Doll making by Hilary Jean Tapper, Dying with plants by Arina Terekhova of Blue Gum Fibres, Felting by Simone Bensorp of Wild Felt, Fine Woodworking by the Centre for Fine Woodworking, Foraging by Peter Langlands, Greenwood Garden Rake making by Greg Quinn, Growing your own food by Angela Clifford, Hand block printing by Kuva Zakheim, Heritage Earthbuilding by Kerry Mulligan, Knitting and spinning by the Spinners & Weavers Guild, Kintsugi repair by Yuka O’Shannessy & Yoko Shimoyama, An Astute Assembly, Kuksa & Spoon-carving by Alex Yerks from USA, Leatherwork by Peter OBrien of Village Leather Craft,  Mandolin making by David Simpson, Mutual Aid Networks by Gen de Spa, Pin-hole photography & Camera Obscura by Stefan Roberts, Preserving the season’s bounty by Kate McMillan, Rag Rug-making by Vita Cochran, Sydney, Raranga Harakeke Weaving by Benita Wakefield & whānau, Refurbishing jewellery by Jacky Morren, Repair, refurbishment, & recycling of e-technology by Alan Liefting, Rongōa Māori healing traditions from local plants by Chelita Kahutianui Zainey of Manaaki Māmā, Sewing from reused cloth by Sylvia Houston, Soap-making by Anthea Madill, Spoon-carving by Douglas Horrell of Cleft Craft, Story-telling by Sharon Moreham, String-making by Rekindle, Sustainable Household products by Samantha Fay, Tī kōuka weaving by Rekindle, Timebanking by Addington Timebank, Traditional Chair-making by Richard Hare, Upholstery by Nigel Cook, Willow basket weaving by Peter Greer, and many more.

More about:

Alex Yerks 

alex-red-shirt-e1538716488246.jpegWe are so happy to have Alex Yerks here for our Necessary Traditions Festival, all the way from Upstate New York. Actually, we fixed the festival dates around Alex as he happens to be teaching in Australia at Spoonjam just before! He is one of our great inspirations and so it is an honour and a great joy that he is here for this inaugural festival. His approach to carving, the tools he uses and the techniques he has developed, epitomise the ethos of the Necessary Traditions festival; that so much can be made with so little.

alex yerks spoonAlex has been carving professionally with axe and knife for most of a decade, and we adore both the objects he carves, and the fact he dedicates his life to his craft. He is often on the road teaching, and continues to inspire many with his unique and ever-developing practice. You’ll get to see and hear Alex demonstrate at the festival on the Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th November 2018.  He is also teaching 2 workshops: Spoon-carving from 13th to 14th November, & Kuksa-carving  15th to 17th November 2018

Vita Cochran 


Once based in Christchurch, Vita returns from Sydney to share a resourceful textile practice taught to her by her grandmother; the art of rag-rug making. This craft has been practised for centuries, and developed out of necessity when textiles were very valuable; and now enables the reuse of textiles otherwise going to landfill. She began making handbags and other objects in 2000, and her work is held in the collections of Te Papa Tongarewa, the Otago Museum, the Dowse & Objectspace. Vita’s work is seen at NG Boutique in Christchurch and she is represented by Anna Miles Gallery.

Vita will be sharing the making of a large communal rag-rug at the main festival event on the 10th & 11th November, and then teaching workshops from the 12th November. Details to follow.

Tatyanna Meharry

Tatyanna Meharry Portrait by Justyn DenneyTatyanna is a skilled and considered practitioner, and a ceramics teacher in much demand in Ōtautahi Christchurch. One of the inspiring parts of her practice is her research, mapping, collection, documentation and use of local earth which she processes into clay for ceramics, and into pigment for glazing.

At Necessary Traditions 2018, Tatyanna is sharing two workshops – one involves learning to make clay from locally found raw clay materials, and the other involves combing layers of local clay and inclusions to produce a pair of stratified ceramic bowls that will appear as landscapes when fired. Tatyanna Meharry by Justyn Denney DSC_5088

In late September 2018, Tatyanna & her sister won the Supreme Award at the World of Wearable Art, for the second time. Congratulate her when you see her at the festival!

Richard Hare


Richard will be returning to the Arts Centre from Northland to demonstrate and teach this ancient style of Windsor chair-making with the simplest of pre-Industrial Revolution hand tools and a pole-lathe. A traditional chairmaker, Richard holds a unique set of skills that he has honed over many years of practice. His skills and experience are evident in the set of furniture seen upstairs in the Boys High Building at the Arts Centre, which he made whilst teaching the Rekindle team. He is the only chairmaker of this type teaching this ancient skills in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Richard will be demonstrating some aspects of chair-making at the main festival event, and then teaching a 7 day Windsor chair workshop from the 13th November.  Details to follow.

Yuka O’Shannessy & Yoko Shimoyama 

Yuka and Yono- print.jpg.jpeg

Yuka & Yoko, from An Astute Assembly, are coming to Christchurch from Auckland to show and teach the ancient Japanese technique of Kintsugi, where broken objects (mostly ceramics) are repaired and often leaves them more beautiful than in their original state. 

Yoko & Yuka will be sharing the art of Kintsugi at the main festival event, and teaching a workshop on the 12th November.  Details to follow.

Steven Junil Park 


Steven Junil Park is based in Ōtautahi Christchurch.  Steven began 6×4 as an art project some years ago now, and this has grown into an exceptional and ongoing multi-faceted practice that demonstrates a hugely diverse array of skills and material interests. His practice explores and masters object-making including clothing, jewellery, shoes and furniture. He makes individual works that often feature reused, natural dyed, or locally found materials. Steven’s work is seen in Christchurch at the NG Boutique.

Steven will be demonstrating some aspects of his practice at the main festival event, and running workshops on Friday 16th November 2018. Details to follow.

Louise Clifton  

DSC_2949The shoemaking industry has largely disappeared in New Zealand, and with it a depth of knowledge. In order to bring home the craft, resourceful Shoe School founder & teacher Louise Clifton has travelled all over the world to learn from Master shoemakers. Louise gives people the skills to make their own shoes as a means of catalyzing the regeneration of the local shoemaking industry, and because she believes craft and hand-skills are an essential part of our human experience.

Louise will be sharing her shoe-making skills at the main festival event, and teaching three 1 day Sneaker workshops, using leather sourced as offcuts from local businesses from the 12th November. Details to follow.

Through this festival we aim to strengthen the livelihood, network and legacy of those skilled people who uphold necessary traditions. We also hope to inspire people to consider what their necessary traditions for a healthy future are.