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Published: 12 March 2022

By Andy Ross

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Marilyn Rae-Menzies

Kokako by Marilyn Rae-Menzies is part of the Extinction is Forever series of tapestries. Kokako by Marilyn Rae-Menzies is part of the Extinction is Forever series of tapestries. Marilyn Rae-Menzies started to weave tapestries in 1980, teaching herself from books and by experience and experiment.

We drove up to Westport to meet her, along the stunning Coast Road that heads inland from Greymouth a little before rejoining the ocean for a switchback ride through mountainous hills, deep valleys and gorges, and lush jungle-like greenery. It is a spectacular drive, enlivened by hair-raising corners and not-inconsiderable rockfalls that litter the side of the road to leave debris scattered across the tarmac. 

Westport itself is, like lots of New Zealand towns, spread-out and sprawly. Luckily Marilyn's studio is right at the entrance to the town and easy to find. We parked and walked across the road to meet the artist. 

It was a real privilege to meet Marilyn. She has a formidable talent that shows in the latest work on the loom - lichens for an international exhibition -and we had the great pleasure of seeing some of her earlier work, including two (of an original three) tapestries of extinct birds, one of which is shown above, courtesy of the artist. If you would like to see some more of the work, head on over to Facebook here.

It is exhilarating to have met Marilyn and I look forward to learning more about her and to sharing her work with you all.