Our feature story for this edition is working with people developing both fashion and furnishings from Aboriginal art. It's enormously satisfying to work the designs into repeat and get a finished product from such organic and powerful work. Featured here is work destined for furnishings through the Seeger Gallery.
This is a piece written by Sophie Seeger about the work of Chris (Wirriimbi-Oak) Edwards
By Chris (Wirriimbi-Oak) Edwards
"The best oysters are at the base of the mangrove tree. It is easy & fun to gather because the reward is nice. Oysters are my favourite bushtucker." Chris Wirriinbi-Oak.
"Bringing Indigenous art into the home"
To date, Indigenous art has to a certain degree, moved across two Australian non-Indigenous audiences: the upper echelons of the art-buying public; and the tourist market.
Indigenous art has had very little presence in the Australian middle-market; in the decorative and homewares retail market.
Other cultures have permeated our mainstream decorating consciousnesses - from French Provincial; Morroccan; the Japanese aesthetic; to African tribal - but with very little mention of Australia's very-own Indigenous art - which not only is the oldest living art form, but has a strong design component that translates effectively and powerfully across design formats.
Seeger Gallery is a boutique conceptual gallery, representing select artists and designers. The motivation for the gallery is to discover new talent, and to develop and nurture emerging and established talent. Seeger Gallery's representation includes three Indigenous artists - from original artwork; through to conceptualising and developing commercial design opportunities. Seeger Gallery incorporates the artwork and design of its artists in decorating and art sourcing for private and commercial clients - thus bringing all clients a high level of exclusivity.
Sophie Seeger says of the business, "My objective was to create a sustainable income for my artists; and noticing the lack of chic Indigenous art adapted to the commercial decorative market, the concept of arthouse fabrics became most appealing. This was a means of bringing Indigenous art directly into the homes of Australians.
"I have put together a small collection of three designs - the work of one artist. A new range will be launched once to twice a year - the arthouse fabrics are printed on natural fibres (from upholstery hemps; to cotton drills) and printed by hand by Screenhaus, the arthouse fabric professional. The process of adapting the original artwork with the artist's consent, into repeat and then being screenprinted, is a long one - but for me that adds to the original artwork integrity, as the process itself, is an art form.
"The artwork of the artist Chris Wirriimbi-Oak, has an inherent design aesthetic. The works on fabric look 3-D. They can be used for upholstery, soft furnishings through to wall hangings. The fabrics will be sold directly to private and commercial clients and will be officially launched by Seeger Gallery in February 2009 at the Design and Decorating Fair in Sydney. For more information or a sneak preview, or for orders before launch, call Sophie Seeger on 0412 445 660. Sophie is open to working on large commercial projects that embrace the fabrics and original artworks into the same space - with a range of colourways.
"With this collection, I hope that all Australians, will embrace and acknowledge the strength and sophistication of Indigenous art through living with it; being comfortable with it; and being aware of the beauty of the oldest living art culture in the world." Sophie Seeger
Screenhaus - make your mark
Screenhaus is situated in the Bullanarring district of the Cadigal people.