NGĀTI HINEAMARU, NGĀTI KAHU
Born Auckland, New Zealand (1972)
Multidisciplinary artist (crochet)
Lissy Cole is a self-taught kai-tuimāwhai who grew up in a bustling creative force, raised by her mother, Mairehau (and whānau of performers and weavers), and her father, Colin Cole, a renowned New Zealand couturier.
Lissy expressed herself with a little sewing machine, drawing, and hanging out in her dad's salon. Her passion for art-making stuck throughout her journey of self-discovery as a young mother. The loss of her sister was a catalyst and reminder to honour the artist's voice within.
Formally graduating from MIT with an Applied Bachelor of Communications in 2010, Lissy worked with a social services agency until 2017.
'I Love Lissy Collection' was her first fashion line celebrating plus-sized women, which showed at 'True South' - the premier event of the 2012 South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit.
In 2014, Lissy met Rudi Robinson, her husband-to-be. Gearing up for their wedding in 2017, they dedicated their future artistic partnership to their ancestors and the universe. In 2021, Lissy and Rudi became Artists in Residence at Nathan Homestead in Manurewa, where their studio is based.
Lissy liked the idea of art on the street after discovering the work of the L. A based yarn bomber, London Kaye. Inspiring artworks for the local community and bringing joy to unloved spaces, they created a giant Anzac Day poppy (2018) on the Princes Street motorway overbridge. They covered their car entirely with crochet in 'The Joyride' (2019).
'Crochet, You Stay!' (2019) was a trilogy of crochet collaborations between Lissy Cole and Pacific women artists in South Auckland, funded during the 125th celebration of Women's suffrage. Ka Puawaitia: Coming to Fruition (2020) at Corban Estate Arts Centre was their first joint show experimenting with carved forms and Māori crochet embellishment.
Since then, the duo has been in fifteen exhibitions. In 2021, they were in shows including Auaha Haukura at Fresh Gallery, Whanau Marama at Commercial Bay, Hohou Te Rongo at University of Waikato, E Tiaki at Art Haus Orakei, Toi ō Tuku Iho at Auckland International Gallery. In addition, crochet workshops include ten weeks at The Collective and in the community as part of every exhibition.
Their subsequent major work, Wharenui Harikoa, is a large-scale crocheted wharenui that aims to transform intergenerational trauma into deeply felt joy, one loop at a time. The plans for this work include travelling throughout Aotearoa and the world, creating a global impact of aroha.
Weave strands of your whānau into Wharenui Harikoa and support us in our journey of transforming intergenerational trauma into deeply felt joy. It's as easy as buying a ball of yarn.