Kahu Design (by Te Rongo Kirkwood) is an Auckland based studio that specialises in unique hand-made glass pieces intimately connected with nature and NZ heritage. In a world of mass produced generic, price based production, Kahu Design is inspired by a philosophy of creating meaningful connections through quality handcrafted artwork. Their pieces use symbolism to convey ideas that are important to the New Zealand story.
The woven Māori cloak is a recurring motif in the series. The cloak is an expression of spiritual meaning often relating to ancestral whakapapa and knowledge. These glass pieces with their columns of ‘woven’ colour are an exploration and reference to universal interconnections and the underlying hidden order in nature.
Te Rongo Kirkwood (Waikato, Taranaki, Te Wai-o-Hua, Te Kawerau, Ngi Tai ki Tamaki) works with fused glass, textile, and other media to create objects that blur the lines between sculpture, craft, and personal adornment. Kirkwood combines glass with more traditional fibres and each glass element features its own language of symbol and pattern. Kirkwood draws upon her Maori and Scots heritage, and the natural world for creative inspiration; her use of natural materials and kiln-formed glass fuses multiple artistic traditions and techniques.
Kirkwood has been working in glass for over 8 years and has been regularly exhibiting within New Zealand and abroad since 2009. She is a three-time finalist in the prestigious Ranamok Glass Awards, and her work sits in the private collection of the Awards founder.