Proceedings of the AICCM TSIG Symposium, Sydney, Australia 19 to 22 May, 2016

A number of new methods and technologies for investigating Maori textiles have emerged from ten years of research in the Department of Applied Sciences – Clothing and Textile Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Research projects undertaken include development of numerous identification methods for textile plants endemic to New Zealand (bright field microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Micro-Computed tomography (micro- CT), Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM)); exploration and improvement of safe display parameters for naturally-dyed Maori textiles (artificial light-ageing, micro- fading); and testing the efficacy of consolidants recommended for remedial conservation treatment of black-dyed muka (fbre) from harakeke (New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax). Of note is the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the work undertaken (research partnerships with iwi (Maori tribal grouping), customary weaving practitioners, New Zealand museums, conservation laboratories and other University departments), in addition to the adaptation of international standard textile testing methods to better reflect the artefact types of interest (for instance testing of fibre aggregates rather than woven European fabrics). Research outcomes are of relevance to practitioners and artists as well as those caring for Maori taonga, and have added to knowledge about both Maori textiles, and plants and dyes used in Maori textiles production.

KEYWORDS: Maori textiles, plant material identification, test methods, analysis, consultation, interdisciplinary, textiles conservation

AICCM Textile Special Interest Group 2016 Symposium: Emerging Technologies in Textile Conservation
Paper author:
Catherine A. Smith, Bronwyn J. Lowe & Rachel A. Paterson