Family Making Things – Passing on Tradition

Pattern: Strikjes (designed by Kumiko Nakazaki)

There has been very little activity on my blog over the last year or so, but there’s a really good reason for it: instead of writing about making lace, I have actually been making lace – lots and lots of it.

I have been working for my first solo exhibition at ArtsPost Galleries in Hamilton, New Zealand. I belong to a family of makers, and the exhibition is going to be a family affair – under the umbrella name Family Making Things.

ArtsPost Galleries comprise three galleries and each family member will show in a separate gallery. I will show bobbin lace, my dad, Mauritz, will show woodturning and my mum, Norma, wall quilts. 

So, if you are travelling through Hamilton this summer, you are welcome to visit ArtsPost Galleries in Victoria Street, to see our exhibition.

The exhibition is on from 5 December 2019 to 6 January 2020. Entry is free and the gallery is open seven days a week from 10am – 5pm.  Closed Christmas Day. Check opening times at:

I am a bit pressed for time (still need to mount and frame 21 pieces of lace in the next 48 hours…), so I have opted to reproduce the gallery’s wall text below to give you an idea of what our family’s exhibition is all about.

Family Making Things – Passing on Tradition

Making things is a way of life for the Slabbert family from Hamilton. Yvette makes bobbin lace, Mauritz turns wood, and Norma makes quilts.

As makers, their work is based on age old skills and techniques that honour tradition and skills that are passed down through many generations. The work on show is made in the spirit of our times and with the advantages of new tools and technology.

The family believes making is a fundamental human need and a powerful way of connecting the mind, body, and soul to materials and process. They value the intangible qualities of making that cannot be measured – such as the deep sense of achievement and joy, the satisfaction, contentment, and the connectedness that making offers.

Their work speaks of a long and slow production time and many years of practice.

Every piece they make shows involvement, immersive work habits, hours of contemplation, and the spiritual power of repetition. They focus on craftmanship and detail but value the inherent imperfections of the human hand. While the end products may allude to notions of function and use, their work is also infused with personal ideas, creativity, and aesthetic choices.

With this exhibition the family hopes to pass on the joy of making, the cultural heritage, and the inspiration to keep making skills alive. In addition, Mauritz and Norma – both in their seventies – would like to share the benefits that making has on the health and well-being of the older person.

To read more on the family’s work, visit