Pounamu - New Zealand Greenstone
The name Pounamu is very ancient. It is the name given to New Zealand Jade by Nahue, one of the first Maori to visit and explore New Zealand. Nahue was a stone worker of great mana and had searched far and wide for "The Stone of the Gods". He is believed to have come from an Island in eastern Polynesia, possibly Easter Island.
Mere Pounamu is a star that when seen in the sky over eastern Polynesia signals the time to set sail for the distant shores of Aotearoa, The Waka of the Gods, New Zealand. This star flashes with the colours green, white, blue & brown. When Nahue beheld the beautiful Jade he saw all these colours in the stone. Ancient custom says everything in the stars is reflected in the Earth so he named the Jade "Pounamu", after the star that guided him across the Pacific to discover "The Stone of the Gods" in Aotearoa.
Paua is a Maori name given to Abalone. The shell of the Paua is oval and it has an iridescent swirl of intense green, blue, purple and sometimes pink colours.
Due to the magnificent colours on the shell, we do produce a huge range of jewellery with paua shell.
Mother of Pearl
Is the oyster that sometimes contains the much prized pearl. The occur naturally in warm and tropical waters and grow to a size of between 150mm to 200mm. The shell has one thick piece in the centre which I choose for carving. The carving process involves cutting and curving with diamond tools because of it's hardness.
I have been carving for 25 years and the Mother of Pearl is my favourite amongst all the materials. Because of it's way of shining light, it's depth of opalescent colour and it's subtle greens, purples and fiery reds, it is given a glowing translucent presence. Your Mother of Pearl piece is strong and durable, and the only care it needs is to be worn next to your skin or over your clothes to keep it's light shining bright.
The bone carvings are hand-worked from either beef-bones or deer antler and we have developed our own styles over many years, that speak of who we are, where we live and how we see the world around us. Most pieces have a meaning or story often to do with Nature.
Harakeke - New Zealand Flax
Harakeke is a very fiberous plant that has been used for more than 1000 years by the Maori - the indigenous people of Aotearoa.
The plant has many uses. The leaves can be made into ropes, bindings, mats, shoes, fishing nets, clothes, baskets and bags for every use. The flowers provide nectar and attract birds which were a main food source in the old days. The roots provide medicine. Tha Maori people saw Harakeke as part of their family and tied huge spiritual significance to the plant.
When Aotearoa was colonised, Harakeke became the countries biggest industry. The plants were extensively harvested and the fibres sent offshore. The techniques and patterns used in these kete & kono are traditional Maori designs and have been developed over many 1000's of years.
To make your kete last as long possible, keep it out of water and direct sunlight. Because Harakeke is a natural fibre, its lifespan is limited by it's use. When you decide your kete is too worn out, place it under a tree somewhere to de-compose back to Mother Earth.
Oamaru Stone is sandsized bryozoan fragments, with vast numbers of microfossils from shells and sometimes penguin, whale or sharks teeth formed from the ocean bed 40 millions years ago. It is known to geologists as Totara Limestone. The sturdiness of the stone can be used to build long lasting buildings or the artist handcarves the stone into a beautiful formation.
The Stone carefully chosen from Oamaru in the South Island of New Zealand is journeyed across the country to our gallery to create a beautiful formation for someone special to enjoy.
Withstanding many more weather conditions allows the stone to be indoors or outdoors. Each piece has been sealed with water repellent silicone.
Any dirty marks can be wiped off with water and softcloth. Every five to seven years it can be resealed to continue protecting the sculpture.
Blacksmithing is an ancient artform. At Arts Unique we try to keep the old arts and crafts alive. Usually a blacksmith heats the metal until it glows orange as part of the forging process. Forging is also referred to as sculpting because it is the process of shaping metal. Over the years we have had a number of talented blacksmiths who have produced some beautiful steel sculptural pieces.
At the moment we are keen on having a new blacksmith on board on our spaceship.
Long before there was steel axes or knives in new Zealand, long before the white settlers or whalers came, even long before the Maori discovered the superior quality of nephrite jade (greenstone) for weapons and tools, way back in the early times when moa (extinct N.Z flightless bird ,the largest being almost three meters tall) still roamed the forest floors and Pokai (extinct N.Z. native eagle) still flew the skies ,there existed small groups of specialized artisans who had the knowledge to make simple tools of stone.
The stone they mainly chose was argellite for many good reasons, the hardness and its edge keeping abilities enabled it to be fashioned into sharp and very precise tools which could be used in everyday existence. These artists congregated in small communities close to their quarries, where they could access the best stone .The main methods used to create the stone tools was knapping, which is a process of chippingsmall flakes off the original stone, with a hammer stone until the right shape was achieved ,then the piece would be ground to flat or an edge would be sharpened on a piece of natural sandstone with some water to help in the abrasive process.