Margery Blackman

b. 1930

Also known as:

  • Margery Isobel Blackman (née McCaskill)

Born in Dunedin in 1930 Margery Blackman began to teach herself to weave while in Edinburg during her husband's research fellowship there in 1959. Taking advantage of her access to British Museums, Blackman also pursued her interest in historic textiles.

Returning to Dunedin in 1963 she got involved with the Otago Museum and, by 1967, was invited to become the Honorary Curator of Ethnographic Textiles and Costume from Other Cultures (including Māori material). Over several years of international travel Blackman was able to identify and catalog korowai and kākakhu (cloaks) held in collections in London, Oxford and Cambridge, in Scotland, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, North American and Australia. In 2021 Blackman gifted her private textile collection to the Otago Museum.

Blackman has organised numerous textile exhibitions including 'Islamic Rugs' (1975), 'Indonesian Weaving' (1981), 'Treasures from Māori Women' (1989), and 'From Emperor's Court to Village Festival' (1998).

In the 1995 New Year Honours, Blackman was awarded the Queen's Service Medal.

Her own textile works are held in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Dowse Art Museum.

See also:

Margery Blackman, ‘Otago Banners’ (1986), Dunedin Hospital, CD, Ōtepoti Dunedin

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021