Vivienne Mountfort

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1918, d.2004

Pohutukawa And Cliff Face

  • Purchased 1978
  • Wool tapestry
  • 1772 x 1772mm
  • 79/325
  • 1978

The pōhutukawa tree is indigenous to New Zealand and, because of the time of year it produces its beautiful red flowers, is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree. Vivienne Mountfort has a love for the natural environment and these seven woven discs express her concern at the depletion of native flora. Mountfort developed a circular off-loom weaving method in the 1970s while working as a specialist art teacher in intermediate schools and as a weaving teacher at the Christchurch Teachers' College. Ply discs with holes drilled around the perimeter offered an economical alternative to elaborate and expensive looms and she successfully adapted this idea, integrating it into her teaching and own work. Mountfort was born in Christchurch and was educated at Avonside Girls High School and Canterbury College School of Art. Between 1937 and 1939 she attended Christchurch Teachers Training College where her interest in flora developed. From the early 1970s Mountfort became prominent as one of New Zealand's most innovative fibre artists.