Australian-made homewares brand NORTH produces one-of-a-kind screen-printed textiles. It also fosters strong relationships with art centres in remote communities in the Northern Territory.
Working closely with the community, NORTH is a collaboration using an innovative model. Founder and interior designer Crystal Thomas says NORTH is a brand that intrinsically represents the artists.
“NORTH celebrates the skills of Indigenous artists from communities in northern parts of Australia. There is a love and an appreciation for the way traditional artists work. Fusing skill, careful attention to detail and best-quality materials, NORTH is inspired by beautifully crafted and simple things.”
Featuring repeating patterns and motifs that depict Indigenous culture and traditions, the linen and silk textiles have a restrained, minimalist aesthetic. The designs use a modest palette – colours are inspired by the Australian landscape: red ochre, deep blues, black, white and splashes of gold.
“It respects the region: the bush-scape of the Daly River region comprises flat, bush terrain alongside vibrant hues of the orange-red earth," says Thomas. "By contrast, the Tiwi Islands are characterised by the rich blues and greens of the ocean and foliage, as well as the sun and the sky.”
Textiles are screen-printed on-site in the art centres and are used for cushions, which are hand-sewn in Melbourne, and lampshades, each manufactured by hand in Sydney. The organic and manual production process endows each piece with its own distinct but beautiful imperfections.
“The quality is top notch. We spent a lot of time developing our brand, including letterpress swing tags and duck-feather cushion inserts – we want NORTH to have that high-end design aesthetic. You can feel the quality of the design. Core to the brand ethos is our pride in representing the Northern Territory, but in a refined, sophisticated way.”
Proceeds from the sale of fabric and prints go directly to art centres in Indigenous communities, creating a source of sustainable income. The centres use this to support their commissioned artists.
NORTH has an upholstery collection currently in development. Thomas also cites plans for a possible ceramic collaboration to come.