Cross stitch translation

My Mum Doris Tsui is an avid cross stitcher so I asked her to translate the tartan pattern from the common ‘Hong Kong Shopper’ into a cross stitch. We are currently stitching the different colour variations of these mass produced bags which is a time intensive process.

Although cross stitch is known as a hobby craft stitch, it is also thought to be the oldest form of hand embroidery and can be found throughout the world, similarly these affordable bags can be seen around the world in airport, market places and laundromats.

Commonly known as Ahmah (domestic servant) bags in Hong Kong. This cross stitch project with my Mum has a somewhat biographical link. As a family we lived in Hong Kong from 1978 to 1982. My Father is originally from Hong Kong and my Mum is second generation New Zealand born Chinese.

Kathryn and Doris Tsui, Ahmah bags (2018)

Overlapping – Tea paintings

This new series of watercolours began while researching dyes made with natural materials and kitchen waste.

These works on paper are painted with layers of Ceylon, fruit and herbal teas.

The first tea plant was thought to be taken to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) in 1824 while a Crown Colony by the British from China. It was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradenyia, Kandy.

Graph paper collages

These graph paper collages explore the optical quality of graph paper upon itself and quilt patterns. Graph paper is typically used at the preparatory design stage for many textile crafts it is not seen in the final work but essential in its inception. I am interested in the accessible and inclusive status that collage and patchworking share. Both are typically made with everyday materials and methods.


Starlight, Kathryn Tsui 2014

The wonderful Niki Hastings McFall and I had an enlightening time running a craft and art workshop for retired folks at Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa. Our workshop involved decorating light shades with reflective road sign vinyl. For visual inspiration we researched universal similarities between craft and indigenous patterning traditions such as weaving, tapa and quilting. We had a blast together and everyone had a different take on the workshop and made cleverly unique lamp designs. I think that my light shade based on star quilt patterns, has found it’s home in the babies room!

Thanks to Auckland Council for creating this free series of art and contemporary craft making workshops for retired residents.