Nanave Taime’s imagination runs wild when it comes to art and craft.
And it’s no surprise her rito crafts and costumes stand out from the rest, appealing to the masses with their fresh looks.
The Penrhyn native is one of emerging local designers trying to keep the culture of traditional weaving alive.
But it’s her unique twist to this generation old practice that has caught the attention of many here and abroad.
“While growing up on the island, I remember my grandmother, who raised me, stitching my dresses for special occasions,” says Taime.
“She mostly considered my suggestions about the kind of dress I preferred but there was this one time she refused to listen to me while sewing my Christmas dress.”
“Everyone on the island almost wears the same attire in Christmas and New Year’s celebrations but I didn’t want to be the same.
“So at night when my grandmother went to bed, I pulled out the sewing machine, which no one else was allowed to use, and my favourite pink dress and started working on it. I imagined this skirt that I wanted and something that would go well with my plain top.”
Unfortunately for Taime, she got into trouble after getting caught red-handed by her grandfather, who then woke her grandmother up to finish the skirt she had started.
“The next day everybody was stunned by my skirt. They had never seen that design before.
“That’s how it all started.”
Taime, who also learnt the traditional weaving skills from her grandmother, continued her craft when she moved to Rarotonga.
In 2016, she joined Pacific Weave as a sales assistant but her work also included teaching others weaving skills.
But last year she left Pacific Weave to give more attention to her own creation which she plans to call Nanave.
“That’s what I want to name my creation. It’s not official yet but my dream is to launch that brand someday.”
‘Unofficially Nanave’ includes a wide range of products that Taime designs, crafts and weaves. They are mostly rito earrings, hats and other designs that comes into her mind.
Lately she produced a rito bracelet which has gained a lot of interest from the local fashion enthusiasts. Taime’s rito bracelet which is intricately woven with a pearls on top of it stands out from the rest of the locally designed and produced bangles.
“Actually it was a request from one of my clients. The good thing is my clients give me the freedom to use my imagination and craft something unique from the idea they pitch in,” says Taime.
“I made a couple of pieces and people are liking it and they have ordered some pieces. It’s not an easy piece to do, it’s time consuming but I guess the final product is worth it.
“The pieces I work on has to represent me, it has to be unique, something unconventional maybe, but still trendy.”
Taime has also worked with the local pageant committee, designing attire for the contestants.
Lately she designed the costume for the Arorangi Te Maeva Nui dance team.
“That project was quite interesting. I designed a costume with the help of someone and showed it to the committee and they liked it. The whole community then came together and worked on all the 40 pieces based on my design.
“It was challenging because we had to make sure the designs of all 40 pieces were the same. It worked out well.”
For now, Taime enjoys working from her Nikao home with her family, especially her two daughters, aged five and nine, around her.
And there are plenty of nights when she has to wait for others to go to bed to before putting her imagination to work, without the fear of getting into trouble.