My name is Meg Nakagawa. I am a handweaver in Nelson, New Zealand.
I grew up watching my mother manage multiple knitting, sewing, and embroidery projects on the go at any one time, (and she always finished projects,) while listening to her declare how one day she was going to give it all up to learn how to weave. Naturally I inherited her creed, that weaving is the most achingly desirable of all textile craft. She started weaving just before she turned 60, when her last baby started university. And with characteristic gusto, she plunged into dyeing and spinning as well.
I had my heart set on becoming a writer since I was six. After coming to New Zealand and studying editing, I discovered my two contrasting preferences: to write wordy, soppy paragraphs full of adjectives and asides in the first draft, and to cull to the bare bones until there was nothing left in the second. Unable to reconcile the two, I spent days adding and subtracting words from every short story I tried. Mom insisted I give weaving a go around this time, so I took up weaving as a non-verbal relief.
In weaving, the vertical warp threads either go up or down, trapping the horizontal weft threads. This simplicity took hold of me the very first time I passed a weft in the opening called the "shed". “Weaving” comprises of a series of steps, only one of which is the actual weaving on the loom. Small decisions made in each step present potential points of no return, after which editing becomes onerous or impossible. I find this linear, no-going-back, process reassuring. And now I write so I don't forget.
I was born in Yokohama, Japan, raised in Minnesota and Arizona, USA. I went to school in Tokyo and Minnesota. My background is in languages and literature. I moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1994, and to Nelson on the South Island in 1996.
"Beginnings", Nelson, New Zealand, 2012, a group exhibition
”Bye Bye, Blue Eyes", Nelson, New Zealand, 2008, my second tiny local exhibition at the local textile cooperative, remembering actor Paul Newman
"Craft 08", Nelson, New Zealand, 2008
"Culturally Routed", Nelson, New Zealand, 2007
"Re:Fine", Wellington and Nelson, New Zealand, 2007/2008
"Sea, Sand and Sky", Nelson, New Zealand, 2007, my very first (and tiny) solo exhibition in the lovely then-Gallery 203
Maryanne Stamford, (Australia) Block Weave workshop, 2011
Bonnie Inouye (USA) Complex Weave workshop, 2002
Kay Faulkner (Australia) Double Weave workshop, 2001