Born 4th in a family of 8 I learnt that good things can come from the land and that simple living was for me.

Being a large family, there was always a button to sew on or the seat of a pair of trousers to mend. One of my tasks. This is where it started... my journey with textile arts and with designing creative and artistic clothing.

I trained as a sample machinist then travelled UK, Europe and Australia. Working with fabrics and clothing wherever I traveled has influenced the diversity of my garments. In South East Asia I studied batik, silk painting and other handmade textile techniques, igniting my passion for making my own fabrics for my garment designs.

I was meeting people with a very simple approach, learning their dyeing methods and techniques: people with very few resources but working with what was available. I was ready to start making fabric and create exquisitely crafted garments with unique designs.

Sandra Thompson creating her own fabric on a weaving loomInspiration was coming from everywhere, but the natural world predominates.

About 1998 I was introduced to felting, which became another serious passion.

Then in 2009, I purchased a weaving loom as I was very inspired by some amazing weaving designs to add to my fabrics — including designs that begin with a design painted directly on the warp threads.

I now own three looms and I like to use all natural fibres, including:

Silk, Cotton, Hemp, Flax, NZ Merino, Alpaca and Gotland Wool


New Zealand textile artist Sandra Thompson workgin with her hand-made fabricsI work in my studio in the tranquility of Parekura Bay, near Russell in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. This is where I will be found either dyeing fibres and fabric, felting, weaving and constructing my unique original wearable art garments: jackets, wraps, scarves and more.

On our 2 acres I have three Gotland sheep and one Angora goat which supply some of the fibres I use to create my fabrics.

Further inspiration comes from gardening, sea kayaking, fishing and walking in this paradise I'm so lucky to have found.

Over the last 25 years I have attended many workshops on a variety of disciplines associated with textiles and I am constantly experimenting with making fabric for my unique garments. I participate in many fashion shows and exhibitions throughout New Zealand and overseas. I have received both national and overseas awards.

The feedback I receive is an inspiration. It’s a wonderful feeling to see people find confidence and pleasure in looking good in creatively designed garments.

It has given me the ability to follow my feelings with my original designs, the confidence to explore outside the boundaries and to live my way of life.

Wearable art by New Zealand textile artist Sandra Thompson