INDIGENOUS COLLABORATION - A PADDOCK TO PRODUCT STORY
Tea and Belle, an Indigenous business based in Canberra and Sydney found us, loved our single origin cotton story and wondered if we could develop some products together that were not only beautifully designed, but sensitive to place, country and purpose. What a fabulous opportunity, we jumped at the chance. Almost a year of iterations, evolutions and hurdles brought us to developing this throw. It’s been a privilege to be part of the process.
Each throw is presented, wrapped in the product story, with elements of the artwork used to develop the weave.
When Zita Wallace, a renowned artist and leading campaigner from the Stolen generation, who now lives in the Northern Territory, granted permission for Tea and Belle to develop designs from her artwork we were blessed with access to a rich catalogue of beautiful work and an opportunity to ‘give back’ by creating beautiful pieces that can generate a royalty for Zita and her family. Trials and checks along the way brought us to this throw, in both natural and a pale stone colour way, ‘painting’ with woven texture in shapes Zita used in her art.
We know every part of the journey
It starts with the planting, at Australian Super Cotton in St George, S.W. QLD. Nurtured through the growing season by Glenn, Rebecca, Callum and the team.
It all starts at Australian Super Cotton, St George, S.W. QLD. The fibre growing season progression as cotton sprouts, flowers, fruits and ripens ready for harvest. Cotton fibres ripen through the Queensland sunny summer days, high 30s and blue skies grow the best fibres. Cotton likes wet feet and a dry head. This is where the insects hang out – pigeon pea crop just for them at Australian Super Cotton, QLD. A whole field of pigeon pea is planted next to the cotton fields, this is lollies for bugs, so they’ll leave the cotton alone and breed here instead. These fields are also nurtured as part of Integrated Pest Management, and it means the pesticide use on the cotton is very low.
This is where the cotton tumbles into the teeth on wheels that pull the seeds away and leave the fibre ready for spinning.
Ginning removes the seed from the fibre, this is saved for cattle feed or to be pressed for oil, even the gin trash has pathways to composting or energy and the motes (short fibres) can go to coarse grade stringy yarns. This is the Gin in St. George, S.W. QLD.
Spinning the fibre into yarn, we did this in Victoria. The only spinning that was here was open end spinning, which gives a dry handful and lower pilling. The yarn in these throws are from the last batch of yarn spun before that mill closed. Hence we are able to state that every single stage of processing in this throw was done here in Australia.