Selling Yarns 2

Innovation for sustainability



Gaawaa Miyay Design: Developing a contemporary design practice

Session: Innovation: artists' perspectives Friday 6 March 2009 3:55 - 5:05pm

Lucy Simpson

Designer and textile artist,


Gaawaa Miyay (River Daughter) designs are a range of designs for prints inspired by the inland landscape and wildlife of Yuwaalaraay country in the North West of New South Wales (inland South-East Australia). The designs represent an Indigenous perspective of country and culture (predominantly in this instance on cloth), and foster an eco friendly approach to the traditional techniques of the textiles printing production process.

This paper tells the story of the range, highlighting aspects of contemporary design practice and engagement with industry.

The range represents an expression of contemporary Aboriginal culture, with each print holding a memory and telling the stories of family and country. Accompanying the Gaawaa Miyay products featuring the prints are the written stories outlining the meanings behind the designs, a description of the process and an explanation of the language used, as well as relevant information on the designer and range.

This project is an example of the continuation of traditional practice of culture through the idea of an integrated approach to storytelling, and is expressed in a contemporary context (through the use of contemporary materials and techniques). This continuation of tradition is achieved through the integration of language and a narrative alongside a visual depiction.

The use of Yuwaalaraay language throughout the project represents the revival of Aboriginal languages currently happening in the south east of Australia. This incorporation of an illustrated version of language associated with everyday objects aims to add to the use of Yuwaalaraay; bringing the words and their meanings to new lips and ears, and future generations while acknowledging those that have gone before.

All prints and products are designed / hand printed / made in Australia by Indigenous designer Lucy Simpson and printed with eco friendly inks on all natural fibres.

See also: Lucy Simpson's biography