a gath­er­ing of tal­ents


NZ Life & Leisure - - Country Life -

Elise Ruther­ford, pho­tog­ra­pher

Pho­tog­ra­pher Elise Ruther­ford ( 25) knows what it takes to be a ru­ral woman – she lit­er­ally wrote the book on it. As a fine arts stu­dent at Can­ter­bury Univer­sity, she pho­tographed and wrote an ode to women in agri­cul­ture called In­side Out. Grow­ing up on a North Can­ter­bury deer farm pro­vided plenty of in­spi­ra­tion for her love of pho­tog­ra­phy, and her cam­era is never far from hand when she’s at Craig­forth Farm in Pi­geon Bay, Akaroa, where she lives with her part­ner An­gus. Whether work­ing on the farm, shear­ing or on a mo­tor­bike, the cam­era is her con­stant com­pan­ion. An as­pir­ing Na­tional Geo­graphic pho­tog­ra­pher, Elise’s images are of rolling land­scapes painted with the sea­sons, of solemn sheep in stock­yards and well­wrapped merino tip­toe­ing through crisp snow in Omarama. She sees her­self as a sto­ry­teller, telling tales through her images of farm­ing life, beauty, grit, hard work and mo­ments of ease. eliseruther­ford.com

McLean & Co, weavers

Rod and Sue McLean never planned on be­com­ing ar­ti­san weavers. It all sort of fell into their lap – as much as three 100-year- old cast- iron looms can. The Oa­maru cou­ple be­came the own­ers of the rare Hat­ter­s­ley Do­mes­tic Weav­ing Sys­tem (the looms) in 2006 af­ter a chance meet­ing with their pre­vi­ous cus­to­dian. “The lady be­fore us wanted to sell them to some­one who would hon­our the tra­di­tion, un­der­stand the looms and love them. She knew I had a cre­ative back­ground in em­broi­dery and that Rod was a plumber and there­fore good with fix­ing things – we were the per­fect fit.” Dur­ing the fol­low­ing decade, Rod not only com­pletely re­stored the ma­chines but also dis­cov­ered all there was to know about the looms, which were once used in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of World War I sol­diers in the Isle of Har­ris in Scot­land’s Outer He­brides. Sue joined him full time in 2014 and to­gether the cou­ple weave, sew and sell tar­tan and wo­ven items un­der the brand McLean & Co. “We’ve found a real niche mar­ket of peo­ple look­ing for tra­di­tional fab­rics – but some­thing dif­fer­ent,” says Sue. “We’ve taught our­selves ev­ery­thing through trial and er­ror, us­ing what­ever wool we can af­ford. And now we are able to work full time, tak­ing com­mis­sions and cre­at­ing beau­ti­ful tex­tiles. More peo­ple are mov­ing away from mass- pro­duced and want some­thing with soul that’s lo­cally made.” It was the de­mand for the dis­tinct that en­cour­aged Rod, Sue and friends to open an ar­ti­sans’ col­lec­tive called Crafted in Oa­maru’s his­toric precinct. It’s also how they came to find The Mar­ket­place – the McLeans are cur­rently weav­ing the Dome Hills tar­tan for Sarah and her mother- in- law Cindy from the wool of Cindy’s black sheep. “It’s such a won­der­ful time to have a small busi­ness. We may feel like we are work­ing in iso­la­tion, but we are all con­nected.” mcleanandco. nz

The Dome Hills tar­tan (above).

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