Manawatu Standard

Taking inspiratio­n from the stars

- 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.’’

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