Ani and Croc share artistic knowledge

Saturday October 18, 2014 Written by Published in Culture
Internationally renowned local artists Ani O’Neill and her husband Croc are multi-talented creatives who will share their knowledge through the CITTI Community Education Programme. 14101533 Internationally renowned local artists Ani O’Neill and her husband Croc are multi-talented creatives who will share their knowledge through the CITTI Community Education Programme. 14101533

Internationally renowned local artists Ani O’Neill and her husband Croc are multi-talented creatives.

Ani runs her Fresh Local shop at the Punanga Nui Market selling hand-printed t-shirts, crocheted beanies, flowers and other artworks.
An international tattooist, Croc hand tattoos using traditional tatau tools he has handcrafted. This month and next, the duo will offer a small taste of their artistic knowledge through Cook Islands Tertiary and Training Institute’s Community Education Program for anyone interested in learning more.
Ani O’Neill will run a ‘how to crochet a beanie’ workshop on November 10, 11 and 12 at CITTI Ngatangiia from 5 to 7pm.
First time learners will learn about crochet tools and materials, and how to use three basic crochet stitches to make and complete a simple beanie.
Ani learned to crochet from her Cook Islands grandmother Mama Pareu Ebera Nia in Auckland.
“She taught me how to make tivaivai, dance costumes, ei, sew and all the home and crafts skills,” says Ani.
Unlike her peers who wanted to go outside and play, Ani enjoyed sitting next to her grandmother and watching.
“I have friends who remember growing up forced to learn these skills and if you’re forced - you don’t learn well,” she says.
In the early 1990’s Ani used and applied her grandmother’s knowledge to her studies at ELAM School of Fine Arts at Auckland University, specialising in the sculpture department. Some of her first sculptures used crochet, sewing and fresh flowers.
In 2009 The Auckland City Art Gallery bought one of her major pieces, ‘Fresh Eke’ a giant colourful crocheted octopus with 101 crocheted babies.
Fresh Eke has travelled to Paris and Lithuania.
After making several large crochet artworks that put Ani on the international art map - one of her biggest projects was called ‘The Buddy System’ where over a few months she taught people how to crochet wool flowers with the help of a small team of ‘co-buddies’.
All of the flowers made were displayed and connected together on the wall of the art gallery, which grew and grew.
When the exhibition finished, the flowers were put into envelopes and sent off to their loved ones.
“Everything starts with three basic stitches,” said Ani, “once you know how to crochet these, you can make anything. It’s easy to learn... just takes a bit of patience.”
Croc will run a two-day ‘Ta Tatau’ workshop on October 28 and 30 at 6pm at CITTI Ngatangiia.
This workshop is open to anyone interested in gaining an insight of traditional Polynesian tattooing.
Learners will learn about the history of this art form in the Pacific and see a live demonstration using traditional tatau tools.
“It’s about the respect for the traditional tools,” says Croc.
 “I started experimenting on myself with hand pushing using a short stick. Later I was introduced to Ta Moko artist Inia Taylor III. I showed great interest in Polynesian style tatau and tools. With Inia’s guidance I made some traditional ivi tools (no steel needles) and began to use them on myself - solid black bands across my shins. Over time, still under Inia’s watch, I developed the technique.  I never had any intention to learn machine and I believe that to be a good traditional tattooer it takes time and commitment - especially if you are making your own tools.”
To sign up for courses call Violet Tisam at the CITTI on 21471.

1 comment

  • Comment Link noa Saturday, 25 October 2014 09:22 posted by noa

    Wow what a cool story, I love you sitting with the Nannies Ani learning to crochet inspiring. It's amazing when artists follow their passion and live the life. Neat XX

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