Using traditional weaving and harvesting practices, the strappy green leaves of the native grass Lomandra longifolia are the sustainable resource behind these beautiful pendant lights, now available at Koskela.
Harvested to ensure the longevity of the plant and its availability as a vital bushtucker, only the outer, older growth is cut for weaving. Effectively using the technique of coppicing, only the amount needed is taken, and never so much that the plant suffers or dies. Moreover, the practice ensures the central new growth remains available as an appetite suppressant when no food is at hand.
Once harvested the leaves are soaked to enable manipulation, dried and then dyed with natural pigments before being woven into the intricate textural and coloured patterns.
Emu feathers woven into the grasses are symbolic of astrological mythology including the Emu constellation and creation stories: “We wove these pendants and named them Mirii after the stars in the sky. Our weaving holds our stories and these pendants honour the important Gomeroi Star Stories. Our stories tell us that the night sky and our Country are reflections of each other. Everything that exists on Gomeroi Country must exist in the sky. These woven Mirii (stars) connect these two worlds together,” say the artists of Yinarr Maramali.
Building on the success of the Yuta Badayala, Tili Wiru, Yuttu Dugitj and Kapu Minaral collaborations, the Mirii (star), First Nations lighting range, is Koskela’s first NSW-based lighting collaboration.
“The Mirii range of lighting is a beautiful addition to these very special lighting collaborations between Koskela and First Nations artists. The natural tones of the Lomandra would work as the finishing touches in so many different environments – they’d be equally at home in reception and meetings areas in the workplace, in homes and in some restaurant or boutique hotel settings. They are a beautiful, refined way to reference the Country on which a building stands and their beauty is enhanced once the story of their makers is revealed,” says Sasha Titchkosky, Koskela co-founder.
The collaboration is tied to Koskela’s commitment to reconciling with Australia’s First Peoples’ history and cultures in spearheading design projects that create income-earning opportunities for First Nations artists and makers through collaboration. To this end, the frames are designed by Koskela, but no intervention is made in the way the artist weavers respond.
Yinarr Maramali, which translates as made by Gomeroi women’s hands, is a Gomeroi women’s business dedicated to supporting community and Country well-being through their weaving practice. Based in Tamworth, the collective is a cultural hub where artists weave and share their stories through handmade creations and artworks.
This collaboration between Koskela and Yinarr Maramali represents an important showcase of South Eastern First Nations weaving styles. The collection currently features the intricate weaving of artists: Amy Hammond, Lorrelle Munro, Bronwyn Spearim, Sophie and Emily Honess.