Indigenous Collaboration – A Paddock to Product Story

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.

Spring cotton plants

1

In flower and fibre

2

Nature's microfibre processing facility

3

Fibre maturing

4

Ready for harvest

5

Cotton picking

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Harvest

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Seed cotton 'modules'

8

Ready for the gin

It all starts at Australian Super Cotton, St George, S.W. QLD. Solar powered fibres

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.

9

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.

10

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.

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Carded Sliver ready for spinning

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Sliver to Yarn

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Yarn plying for weaving

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Full Circle Fibres' Australian Cotton Yarn

Ginned cotton to weaving yarn – locking in the integrity.

The weaving, in Brisbane, is where the technical and artistic skill of the weave designers enables our design inspiration to become fabric.

15

Creating a Warp Beam - preparation weaving

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Yarn, after warping, cones are used up in the weft.

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Rolls of the Throw weave ready to despatch to the dye house.

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Weaving the artwork with texture, Brisbane, QLD.

Yarn bcomes the fabric of the throws by weaving, these jacquard looms enable the design to be woven in.

After dyeing, in Victoria, the throws are hemmed, finished and packed in Brisbne before despatch to Tea and Belle.

Designing a weave for a specific purpose didn’t only mean we could create a bespoke texture, we were also able to design out waste, by engineering the pattern repeat to the length of the throw, the fabric was cut into sections with no offcuts before hemming.

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Throws being hemmed in Brisbane.

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Mitred corner being sewn by an experienced machinist in Brisbane.

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Each throw is hemmed and finished with mitred corners.

The finished throws, are wrapped in their story, of stories, ready to be shared.
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Throw wrapped its art elements, sharing the art and the story.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity enable this paddock to product with purpose supply chain to evolve.

A beautiful way to celebrate an Australian creative collaboration of an indigenous business, artist, farmer and factories, that shares prosperity for all involved. These are available for a limited time via our online shop here.

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Farmer Glenn with Greystone throw, in the fields their fibre came from.

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MERIEL CHAMBERLIN

Founder, Full Circle Fibres

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View the Case Studies