Mada Morison

Spiderweb Painting
Painting on spiderwebs, an art form that developed in 15th Century Bavaria.
Mada has been exhibited world wide. She is the only N.Z. artist using this medium.
Her work has been videoed and televised. The booklet 'She Paints on Cobwebs' has been compiled outlining her story.




Mada Morison
154 Leinster Road
Available for: Exhibition

Christchurch grandmother Mada Morison has an extremely unique skill. In 2003 she is 89 and is the only person in New Zealand known to have mastered the art of spiderweb painting.
That's not painting pictures of spiderwebs, but painting on a canvas of spiderwebs.She came across the idea many years ago in a magazine article about a 15th century Bavarian technique of using gathered layers of spiderweb as a silk canvas. She decided, with the encouragement of her late husband Murray, to give it a go.
Her husband made her a frame on which to gather up the webs each morning from the gardn, winding them around the frame until she had captured about 40 - 50 webs. Later Mada was given a tunnelweb spider - not a funnelweb, spider, named Esmerelda from Simon Pollard an arachnid specialist from Canterbury University. Tunnelwebs are extremely large hairy spiders, but Mada became attached to Esmerelda, and her replacements. Esmerelda supplied many of the canvases which still sport Mada's artworks.
Mada soon became known locally as the Spider Lady, a monicker she grew to accept with fondness.
While for many people spiders are a thing of horror, Mada has a special appreciation of these little creatures. She says she was never too bothered by spiders before she embarked on spiderweb painting, but now she is particularly fond of the little critters.
The elaborate process of creating the canvas means the paintings are all quite small, with the canvas' mostly ranging in size from about 8 to 12 cm in height.
The unique canvas aids a special depth to the painting, highlighted by the mirrored backing which was Mada's husband's idea. Most of her paintings reflect her fascination with nature, with images of Arrowtown at its finest autumnal glow, or Mt Aoraki with a frosting of snow.
A very fine brush is needed to paint on the delicate canvas, and Mada says one of the most difficult things to do is to sign her name.
Spider webs are not the only unusual material Mada has incorporated into her artwork. She has also used goat's wool to create artistic creations.
At 89 in 2003 Mada's hands are no longer as nimble as they once were and she is no longer able to paint. Mada has only heard of one other person, a lady living in North Wales, who used the same spider web technique as her herself.
Mada says it is a very satifying method to use with the delicate strands of webs creating a wonderful three dimensional effect to bring the pictures to life.
Mada's art work, both the spiderweb paintings and the wool creations, now have pride of place in art collections throughout New Zealand and around the world.




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