About the Artist:
We are very much looking forward to bringing Auckland-based artist, Margaret Lewis down to Christchurch to take part in First Thursdays: Welcome.
Margaret Lewis is a contemporary textile artist using traditional crafting techniques (knitting, crochet, embroidery, macrame) and re- contextualising them by her use of unexpected materials. Self taught her practice could be described as ‘making a silk-purse out of a sow’s ear’, in that her works use easily found (and often discarded) items as her canvas. Originally designing hand crafted fashion her practice changed focus after many of her works (and materials) were destroyed in a fire in 2013. Since then her works have been exhibited at the Waikato Museum, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Splore and ACL Festivals, as well as NZ Sculpture OnShore. She has spoken at UK Conference ‘Making Futures’, CTANZ Fibre Connecting People Symposium and also the CCD Summit Aotearoa.
Lewis sees her role as an artist and producer is to bridge aesthetics, explore the application of innovative materials, champion excellence in making and to engage different communities in the creation of unique art-works. As part of First Thursdays: Welcome, a chain link fence will become a canvas for a temporary artwork, which the public can take part in creating.
About the work:
I want this to (m)end
Once the headlines have faded there comes the grim reality of picking up the pieces. Post the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch and the repair work seems endless. Disruption (not in the business innovation sense), homelessness and displacement are ever-present if not always acknowledged, an unpleasant current.
Combine this with a recent collaboration with people who have experienced homelessness (‘stuck in the maze // from housed to homeless’) and those issues of disruption and displacement seemed fitting to explore for Sydenham. Research showed that in the days of Sydenham Borough Council it followed the values of its motto ‘deeds not words’. This historic focus on action was echoed in one particular piece of writing that people contributed to ‘stuck in the maze’ – ‘I want this to (m)end’, something I’m sure will resonate with all Christchurch residents.
Over three days (5 – 7 December) we will work the text ‘I want this to (m)end’ on the chain link fence at 456 Colombo St. Come and watch the progress or lend a helping hand.
If you are interested in taking part in installing this work, get in touch via our 'volunteer' page!
 In 1876, Sydenham became a Borough with its own governance and revenue gathering. It followed its own motto “Deeds not Words” and was soon renown for its quality roads, sewers/drainage and street lighting. By 1876 a Post Office had been established in the area and by 1878 the tramlines had been constructed as far as Brougham Street. Sydenham was Christchurch’s first Borough outside the inner city and had a population of 6,500 by 1876 – half the size of Christchurch City, and equal to all the other suburbs combined. It was already developing its own distinctive character: radical, dissenting and working class, a heartland of left-wing politics in New Zealand. The Borough of Sydenham was amalgamated with the city in 1903.