Friday, 5 September 2014

a Territory souvenir

Recently, my brother and his family moved on from this place they have called home for almost three years now - Darwin.  Perched right at the top of the Northern Territory, it is a place like no other. Historically thought of as the last Frontier, it is now considered a melting pot of culture and cuisine, a place where relaxed living is the norm and where you can throw a stone, if you like, to some great destinations in south-eastern Asia.

It is the Indigenous culture, however, that truly shapes the 'real' Territorian culture.  Whilst I have visited several communities and shared in some amazing exchanges with Indigenous elders, I feel I still know very little about the Indigenous way of life.  In fact, I yearn to hear more stories and gain a better understanding of ancestry, spirits, cultural practices, art and music, kinship and family.  Hopefully, I seek out more of these rich opportunities in my work in the following years.

But, back to my brother.  He certainly did get out and about during his time here in the Territory, and he's left with some fond memories and tall tales of impressionable experiences, of that I'm certain. After all, his first baby was born here, and she will always have that tie to this unique place.

I really wanted to find a little momento or souvenir each for the three of them to take back 'home'... Challenging? perhaps...!

Last year at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, I picked up some fabric titled "‘Leaves’ - by Elizabeth Gumbaduk, an artist from Wadeye whose work is featured on the Wadeye Women [Un]limited directory.  I actually visited Wadeye in my first 'new' weeks in the Territory, so it was not without intent that I was admiring the beautiful fabrics from this particular community.  It was a striking piece, and well- worthy of my attention.  And, we all know my brother (and unavoidably his family too!) love the colour green, in all its forms. Perfect!  Whilst I'd used the bulk of the fabric for another project, I decided to make a small boxy-pouch for my sister-in-law.  And, here is the result -

I refer to a great little tutorial for these pouches (here), and whipped it up in no time. Although incredibly basic and 'easy' in terms of my steadily improving sewing ability, I just love how they turn out. Struggling to find any suitable lining fabric in my stash that did the 'leaves' justice, I settled on this lime green. Being on the inside, it shouldn't distract from the feature.

Hopefully this small gift will be useful in some capacity and serve as a little reminder of the wonderful 'Territory' that we all eventually grow to love.

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