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This Stunning New Outdoor Furniture Collection Celebrates The Stories And Skills Of First Nations Artists

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Over the last few years it has been so inspiring to see a steady rise of beautiful collaborations between First Nations artists and local designers.

In a new collection from Australian outdoor furniture experts Tait and textile brand Willie Weston, the artworks of three First Nations artists –  Rosie Ngwarraye Ross (Artists of Ampilatwatja), Osmond Kantilla (Tiwi Designs) and April Jones (Marnin Studio) – have been reimagined as beautiful coverings for a new range of outdoor furniture, Woven Skies. 

Made-to-order with high quality, environmentally  friendly materials by local craftspeople, the Woven Skies collection is something special!

14th September, 2021

Tait Breeze Sofa upholstered in Willie Weston’s Rainbows ‘Pindan’ outdoor fabric by artist April Jones.

Left: Tait Breeze Sofa upholstered in Willie Weston’s Rainbows ‘Pindan’ outdoor fabric by artist April Jones. Right: Rainbows ‘Pindan’ artist April Jones working on her wood block print. Image courtesy of Marnin Studio.

Tait Trace Armchairs upholstered in Willie Weston’s Sugarbag Dreaming ‘Ghost Gum’ outdoor fabric by artist Rosie Ngwarraye Ross.

Left: Artist Rosie Ngwarraye Ross hunting for sugarbag in Ampilatwatja, approximately 300km northeast of Alice Springs. Image courtesy of Lara Damiani and Artists of Ampilatwatja. Right: ‘Woven Skies’ Material Palette featuring Tait textured powder coats and timbers with Willie Weston’s Sugarbag Dreaming, Pandanus and Rainbows outdoor fabrics.

Tait Trace Armchairs upholstered in Willie Weston’s Sugarbag Dreaming ‘Ghost Gum’ outdoor fabric by artist Rosie Ngwarraye Ross.

Tait Linear Table & Jak Chair upholstered in Willie Weston’s Pandanus ‘Eucalypt’ outdoor fabric by artist Osmond Kantilla.

Tait Trace Armchairs upholstered in Willie Weston’s Sugarbag Dreaming ‘Ghost Gum’ outdoor fabric by artist Rosie Ngwarraye Ross.

Left: Rainbows ‘Pindan’ artist, April Jones. Image courtesy of Marnin Studio. Right: Sugarbag Dreaming artist, Rosie Ngwarraye Ross. Image courtesy of Artists of Ampilatwatja.

Legendary Australian outdoor furniture design house, Tait, has teamed up with Willie Weston to create a landmark collection of beautiful, low-maintenance outdoor pieces featuring the designs of three First Nations artists – Rosie Ngwarraye Ross (Artists of Ampilatwatja), Osmond Kantilla (Tiwi Designs) and April Jones (Marnin Studio).

The Woven Skies range includes plush outdoor arm chairs, a sofa, an outdoor dining set with seating and other soft furnishings covered in Willie Weston fabrics. Each piece is made to order with robust, environmentally friendly materials in Australia by skilled craftspeople, and designed to withstand the toughest of outdoor conditions.

Willie Weston is a for-profit business run by two non-Indigenous women, Jessica Booth and Laetitia Prunetti, in Melbourne. Since 2015 they have been working with artists from Aboriginal-owned art centres to bring the skills and stories of the world’s oldest living culture into homes and commercial spaces through textiles. They currently work with 13 artists, meticulously reproducing their works into designs for fabric and wallpaper, staying true to the artist’s original markings. 

Willie Weston pays their artists for each metre of fabric produced, and artists recieve a share of the company’s net profits at the end of each financial year (in FY2021, Willie Weston paid 30% of their net profits to their partner artists. As part of the Woven Skies collection launch with Willie Weston, Tait chose to support Indigenous communities by making a financial donation to both Children’s Ground and Agency Projects).

Learn more about each of the stunning designs featured on the Woven Skies collection below!

‘Sugarbag Dreaming’ by Rosie Ngwarraye Ross celebrates the honey made by native bees in central and northern Australia, colloquially named ‘sugarbag’. Sugarbag also refers to sweet nectar from the yellow flowers of the ‘tarrkarr’ tree, found around Rosie’s community of Ampilatwatja, approximately 300 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs. Sugarbag Dreaming was developed in partnership with Indigenous owned art centre Artists of Ampilatwatja.

‘Pandanus’ by Osmond Kantilla represents the leaves of the pandanus plant, found all over the Tiwi Islands. Kantilla created this design in memory of his father – Pandanus is his father’s clan group. Kantilla’s family follow the steps of the Pandanus clan when they dance for ceremony. Pandanus was developed in partnership with Indigenous owned art centre, Tiwi Designs.

‘Rainbows’ by April Jones represents the advent of the dry season in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia), depicting the colourful arcs seen in the sky towards the end of the wet season. The design’s origins as a woodblock print can be seen in the textural nature of the rainbow motifs. Rainbows was developed in partnership with Marnin Studio, part of Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing.

Woven Skies is made-to-order in Australia on a short lead time which avoids unnecessary waste while supporting local economies. Woven Skies by Tait & Willie Weston is available to order now! 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net