Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the stars

Manawatu Standard - - Arts - By Michelle Duff

Take one bulb of gar­lic, seven sis­ters, a poet, and a print­maker, and leave them overnight un­der the Plaides star con­stel­la­tion.

Without even adding eye of newt, the re­sults you’ll get from th­ese un­usual in­gre­di­ents are very in­ter­est­ing in­deed.

Just ask poet He­len Lehn­dorf and print­maker Vir­ginia Jamieson.

A few months ago, the lo­cal pair met by chance at the Palmer­ston North City Li­brary. Lehn­dorf was speak­ing about her po­etry, and Jamieson was looking for in­spi­ra­tion for a project she had in mind.

The two got talk­ing, and re­alised they had cre­ativ­ity in com­mon.

With the Plaides star con­stel­la­tion set to reap­pear in the sky, they de­cided the theme of Matariki, or the Maori New Year, would be their in­spi­ra­tion.

Lehn­dorf roped six other word-savvy women into join­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tion, and the re­sult­ing ex­hi­bi­tion, Eyes in the Skies is at Square Edge in time for Mon­tana po­etry day to­day.

Seven po­ems and seven prints grace the walls of the gallery, each work cen­tred around an in­di­vid­ual in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Matariki.

Jamieson made three prints first, and asked poets to write words in­spired by the im­ages.

She was then given po­ems by the re­main­ing four poets, and had to cre­ate a pic­ture to il­lus­trate the verses.

It wasn’t an easy task, Jamieson says.

‘‘It was nerve-rack­ing for me, there’s that slightly scary feel­ing of ‘do I un­der­stand the poem’, which in it­self sparks an in­ter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion.

‘‘You bring your own kinds of mean­ings to things.’’ The words the poets penned from looking at her art are in­trigu­ing too, she says.

From an im­age Jamieson drew of a crop, Lehn­dorf wrote the poem Gar­lic plant­ing time, draw­ing on her own love of na­ture.

It wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily what Jamieson had in­tended – but was won­der­ful to see a dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tion, she says.

Lehn­dorf, who works as a creative writ­ing tu­tor at Massey Uni­ver­sity, agreed work­ing cre­atively with oth­ers has in­ter­est­ing mo­ments.

‘‘I love col­lab­o­rat­ing, be­cause as a writer it’s very soli­tary work. If I get the chance to col­lab­o­rate, I jump at it, it’s in­vig­o­rat­ing and it ef­fects pos­i­tively the work I go on to do my­self.’’

Art­fully carved:

Left: The Eyes In The Skies ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes War­ren War­brick’s Huia, carved from To­tara.

In­spired:

Poet He­len Lehn­dorf has formed po­etry group Seven Sis­ters, which has col­lab­o­rated with print­maker and mu­si­cian Vir­ginia Jamieson for an ex­hi­bi­tion and per­for­mance cel­e­brat­ing Mon­tana Po­etry day and Matariki. works by sculp­tor and mu­si­cian War­ren...

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