While studying for a Masters of Art Curatorship, Jessica Booth and Laetitia Prunetti discovered they had a shared interest in bringing Indigenous art to the forefront of Australia’s design landscape. They have since formed design company Willie Weston, which works with Indigenous artists in remote community art centres to create collections of digitally printed furnishing fabrics.
"We looked at the mainstream design market and found that developing these works into furnishing fabrics was a way to bring Indigenous artworks into both domestic and commercial spaces in interesting ways,” says Booth. Working with designers and architects, their fabrics have been transformed into upholstery for original lounges, cushions, stools, outdoor settings and even wallpaper.
Their current collection was produced with Rosie Ngwarraye Ross and Colleen Ngwarraye Morton from the Ampilatwatja centre, 300 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs. The works depict local bush medicines and wildflowers in a soft, dusky colour palette. "When an artwork is decided upon we work closely with the artist to develop them into prints and choose colourways. The fabrics are then made in limited runs and artists are paid for each metre of Willie Weston produced," Booth says.
This week it’ll launch a new project with Australian design house Koskela, an indoor/outdoor beanbag printed with the artwork Sugarbag Dreaming by Ross. In Ampilatwatja, “sugarbag” is the name for honey made by the native bees and for sweet nectar from large yellow flowers of the tarrkarr tree. The beanbags come in two colourways, a desert rose and saltbush teal, and are carefully finished with a detailed stitch, an industrial zip and an embossed leather tag.
"It's great to see some beautiful, ethical, contemporary interpretations of Indigenous art starting to become available in Australia. We’re certain the outdoor beanbags we've created with Willie Weston will be a summer favourite," says Koskela co-founder Sasha Titchkosky.
Willie Weston x Koskela beanbags retail for $865 will are available in-store at Koskela and online.