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Mug 1 – Rebecca Gamadala

$295.00 inc. GST

Rebecca lives at Mapuru, a small community 500 km east of Darwin. She makes and teachers Pandanus weaving and shares cultural knowledge with visitors to her community. This quirky mug was created in Darwin when she was visiting family here.

Made from Pandanus spiralis fibre and locally sourced natural dyes. The dimensions are 13 (h) x 21 (w) cm.

Pandanus weavings are 100% sustainably produced.

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Description

 Biography

Rebecca is from Mapuru – a small community 500 km east of Darwin. She is a school teacher and also teaches weaving workshops to visitors.

The process

Collecting Pandanus

This is the first part of the process. Only the new growth (erect shoots emerging from the top of the tree) is used and the ladies use a ‘hook stick’ to harvest as they are usually high and beyond reach. It requires strength, skill and knowledge of which trees/places yield the best source. Pandanus grows best in areas that experience seasonal dampness or are near watercourses.  The ladies may have walk long distances to find the right grove and then carry their haul back. It is a collaborative process and children will often join them. Harvesting is easiest in the wet season when Pandanus trees everywhere produce new growth.

Stripping

There are a number of steps involved in stripping Pandanus and it is surprisingly difficult to do. An experienced person makes it look easy! On either side of the leaf are thorns/barbs running in the opposite direction to the stripping action and these need to be avoided. A portion of the leaf is stripped from the top to the base to yield a long piece of moist fibre. Then the outer edges (with barbs) are removed and the remaining fibre is also retained. Each leaf yields two lengths of slightly different thickness and quality. These are then put aside to dry or be dyed.

Dyeing

This is almost always done over an open fire in large pots. Colours may be roots, berries, flowers or, in the case of green, a part of the Pandanus plant. Some of the dyes are seasonal and/or very location specific. Things may be added to the dye mix to strengthen and change colours, such as ash. The weavers take great care and pride in creating vivid colours and often will trade dyes and additives. The usual time to dye is immediately after the Pandanus has been stripped.

Weaving

A range of traditional, borrowed and innovated weaving techniques are used in contemporary Pandanus weavings. This mat is executed with traditional techniques and incorporates an innovation with the structural (spoke) fibres being twisted in the gaps to create an effect.

References Twined Together (Kunmadj Ngalehnjaleken)

ISBN: 0 646 44608 8 / 0646446088