Finding the Fabric – Palngun Wurnangat Association
The Palngun Wurnangat Association is an independently-owned, Indigenous women’s organisation based in Wadeye, Northern Territory, that both provides support to women and children and creates economic development opportunities for the benefit of the women in the Thamarrurr Region.
The Ngepan Patha Women’s Centre is home to a growing number of Indigenous female artsists whose contemporary and traditional design are inspired by their surrounding Country. The Wadeye women are creating beautiful artworks stunning fabrics ans exquisite traitional woven pieces.
Palngun wurnangal means strong woman working together
Artist – Marlene ‘Narbi’ Miler from Mardinga Country. This is ku munne (sting ray). You can spear them out at sea and they are good bush tucker.
Ellen ‘Thulugu’ Tcherna from Perrederr Country. This design in ku kullerrhurrk (brolga). I see lots of these during da mirrangan (the dry season) out on the mud plains in my Country. They are always flying, singing and dancing.
Artist – Georgette ‘Miderrngi’ Nilco from Thindi Country. This shows my totem ku menti (sea turtle) and tumtum (egg). They are both good bush tucker and I can’t eat ku menti because it is my totem.
This design shows the kurra ngipilih (rivers) that run across the mudflats from the Moyle river – Artist Ellen Thulugu Tcherna
I have decide to go to the Darwin Aboriginal art fair, trying to find indigenous textile art is easier said than done………however as the company is called Textiles of the World, and based in Australia I feel that it is important to include aboriginal textile art in the collection.
So off on the Darwin adventure………
The Art fair began in 2007 to provide an opportunity for aboriginal owned and incorporated art centres to market the works of the artists that they represent.
When I walked in the hall it was like a magic carpet ride, colour and movement at every turn……..it was wonderful….
I love textiles; I love the colour of them, the feel of them and the warmth that they bring into a room. Somehow things that are hand made and individual seem to take on a depth and presence that factory made goods just do not possess.
Traditional textiles reflect much about the cultures that produce them, and, as the world becomes on some level more homogenous, the individuality of culture reflected in these textiles is wonderful to behold.
‘Textiles of the World’ has begun with textiles from a region of the world that I have been acquainted with for a number of years – South East Asia. A wonderful part of the world, where the cultures are diverse, the food is delicious; the weather is warm, and the people generous of time and spirit.
For the last 15 years I have been boring my friends and family senseless with the idea of travelling the world, buying hand made traditional and contemporary textiles, and then introducing these beautiful pieces of art to the world, or at least to my small section of it.
In 2009 I decided to stop talking about the idea and to turn it into a reality.
Having a retail background, my original thoughts turned to a retail outlet, however over the last 15 years the internet has become both mainstream, and an intriguing platform to launch into the new generation of retail.
Over the next year I will include textiles from Africa, especially some of the Kuba monochromatic geometric textiles, which I believe will look great in contemporary homes; also Central American reverse appliqué and embroidered pieces, and also not to leave out the raffia pieces from the Pacific Islands – a whole new world of textiles to explore.
The other area that I will be exploring is both Aboriginal contemporary print fabrics and traditional Aboriginal bark painting, both which can fit quite comfortably under the broad heading of “Textiles.“
The land of the lotus eaters, whatever that means, for me, Laos is a land of beautiful weaving, a whole population that seems artistic with a serious sense of style, the food a fascinating blend between traditional Laotian food, with it’s fresh herbs and chilli, and French food, with it’s flair and imagination.
Beer Lao is to be enjoyed on the banks of the Mekong, whilst the occasional, almost affordable, glass of wine and a good cup of coffee is also possible. (For those of you who have not travelled through South East Asia, two things that are sometimes difficult to acquire are an affordable glass of wine and a reasonable cup of coffee).
Luang Prabang is a beautiful town, now world heritage listed and the centre of some of the most interesting contemporary designs in weaving, based on traditional techniques, to be produced in Laos in the last decade.
My first time to China, what a place. The energy, the joy, the people and, of course, the food. It seemed that everyone was on the move, unintentionally we had scheduled our time in China to coincide with Golden Week, which is a week of celebrations surrounding the anniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China, this year was the 59th anniversary.
Lijiang and Dali were the two cities that we visited. Both walled cities originally built in the seventeenth century, and while, as you can imagine, full of tourists – us included, the main tourist groups were however city Chinese enjoying the more rural experience.
My search for traditional textiles was a little disappointing until we arrived in Dali, where I found the more tribal appliqué pieces on the web site. Dali is the centre of the Naxi people and the goods are bought from the villages into small shops and stalls for sale. I was very thrilled to find these particular pieces as I have never seen anything quite like them before,
The downside is that I still I have a long way to go in developing my negotiation skills!
The only consolation is that the Naxi are considered to be some of the most skilled in the art of bargaining in the world. A work in progress.