Ku Bailey, of Te Aupouri and Irish descent, is a specialist in quilting, fibre art, painting, flax weaving, and jewellery design.
Ku’s dyslexia, only diagnosed in her thirties, meant she embraced the visual arts with enthusiasm and relief, rather than academia. Her Irish grandmother taught her needlecraft; embroidering, quilting, knitting and other handcrafts. Experience in the textile world, and as Maori arts educator and specialist, have further informed her approach.
Her early designs included an award winning ‘taniko’ style watchstrap and a taniko panel for St Stephen’s Maori Boys College. She later taught weaving at Kakariki Marae, Green Bay High School, Waitakere, and promoted Maori arts for Te Unga Waka Maori Women’s Welfare League.
A period working in the wool industry was followed by an exploration of fibre art using wool. Two such works were accepted in the Waipukarau National Art Awards.
An award winning quilter, painter and arts and crafts tutor, Ku’s quilt-narrative Te Putake O Te Ao, was a finalist in the ‘Millenium Quilt Exhibition’ in Texas, 2000. Today Ku designs brooches, button necklaces, teaches quilting, doll-making and needlework, and also exhibits with the Titirangi Painter’s group.
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