Mirii (Star) lighting range by the weavers of Yinarr Maramali

Koskela is proud to release a new range of one-of-a-kind lampshades from a very special collaboration between the weavers of Yinarr Maramali and Koskela. Entitled Mirii (star), the First Nations lighting range is our first NSW-based lighting collaboration which builds on the success of the Yuta Badayala, Tili Wiru, Yuttu Dugitj and Kapu Minaral collaborations.

The lighting range is entitled Mirii which means ‘star’ in Gomeroi language. Gomeroi Country extends across NSW and Southern QLD. Mirrii light up the sky just like how these pendants will light up any space. 

We wove these pendants and named them Mirii after the stars in the sky. Our weaving holds our stories and these pendants honour the important Gomeroi star Stories. Our stories tell us that the night sky and our Country are reflections of each other. Everything that exists on Gomeroi Country must exist in the sky. These woven Mirii (stars) connect these two worlds together - Yinarr Maramali

The collection currently features the intricate weaving work of weavers Amy Hammond, Lorrelle Munro, Bronwyn Spearim, Sophie and Emily Honess.

The artists use native Lomandra grass and emu feathers to bring their Mirii designs to life. The woven lamps are considered as 'living' art pieces as the grass will naturally change colour over time from a deep green to a natural sandy yellow. 

The weavers preparing Lomandra at the river. © Sydney Opera House for the Uncovered ProgramThe weavers of Yinarr Maramali (L-R) Amy Hammond, Sophie Honess, Bronwyn Spearim, Lorrelle Munro, Emily Honess and Rachael Phillips. © Sydney Opera House for the Uncovered Program

Amy Hammond and Lorrelle Munro are the co-founders of Yinarr Maramali, a Gomeroi women's business dedicated to supporting Community and Country wellbeing through their weaving practice. Based in Tamworth, Yinarr Maramali is a cultural hub and place of learning as artists weave their stories through handwoven creations and artworks.

The name 'Yinarr Maramali' means 'made by Gomeroi women's hands'. 

Amy Hammond shares with us how Yinarr Maramali came to be, the inspiration behind the business and details on their practice and collaboration with Koskela.

How did Yinarr Maramali come to be?

Lorrelle and I have been weaving together since 2014. And gradually more yinarr (Gomeroi women) would come and join us and that was really the beginning of Yinarr Maramali. We are a collective of community women who are passionate about sharing our stories and culture through weaving. Our core group includes Gomeroi Yinarrgal Bronwyn Spearim, Sophie Honess, Emily Honess, Gabi Briggs and Rachael Phillips.

Emily Honess Splitting the lomandra grass. © Sydney Opera House for the Uncovered Program

Emily Honess Splitting the lomandra grass. © Sydney Opera House for the Uncovered Program

What is the inspiration behind Yinarr Maramali?

Gomeroi weaving culture continues to be an important part of our lives, because of the legacy that has been left by our Old People. Which inspired us to create safe spaces for our community to come together to connect and be part of reviving our weaving culture. It is part of who we are, our identity as Gomeroi people. We love weaving, especially with our family and community. Gomeroi culture is so beautiful and our people have so much to share with the world.

Our process of cutting the grass to weaving a pendant takes over a month. And we sit together and weave as our families have always done on Gomeroi Country

Could you describe your practice and the weaving process? 

Our weaving is slow work. We walk our Country to find the best grasses to weave with. The grass is beautiful and strong. We use our hands to sort and prepare the sharp green leaves. Our process of cutting the grass to weaving a pendant takes over a month. And we sit together and weave as our families have always done on Gomeroi Country.

It really is a sad and shameful thing that there are no emus in the area where we live. So we source emu feathers through community (First Nations) trading. The emu feathers we use have been sourced and collected by hand in Gomeroi and Ngemba Country. Which is why our emu feather products are limited.

Harvesting the Lomandra grass. © Sydney Opera House for the Uncovered Program

Harvesting the Lomandra grass. © Sydney Opera House for the Uncovered Program

Harvesting the Lomandra grass. © Sydney Opera House for the Uncovered Program

What does the Mirii lighting collaboration with Koskela mean to you?

It has been a beautiful experience over the past 3 years collaborating with Koskela. When we first visited Koskela we were drawn to and inspired by the range of woven pendants on display. And to have the opportunity to collaborate with Koskela to weave and create pendants with our grasses is so special. We are really proud to share our Gomeroi stories through our woven Mirii pendant range

This collaboration is an important opportunity to showcase South Eastern First Nations weaving styles and for Koskela, this our first NSW-based lighting collaboration.

Using our design and production skills we collaborate with First Nations peoples to create contemporary design ideas and products that celebrate First Nations histories and cultures. Mirii is an opportunity for the Gomeroi weavers of Yinarr Maramali to share their traditional weaving practices to a whole new market.

The concept is simple: Koskela designs the frames but doesn’t interfere in the weavers interpretation of them. The weavers harvest the fibres to create the woven materials. Koskela’s frames become the weavers’ canvases and each one is uniquely interpreted. When they arrive back to us, they are wired as pendants and available for Koskela customers to purchase in store or online.

Koskela is deeply committed to reconciling with our First Nations history and cultures. One of the ways we do this is to create income earning opportunities for First Nations artists and makers through collaborative design projects. This generates an income independent of Government, helping artists to continue to live a life they have chosen to lead and maintain their traditional practices. It also facilitates artists to access markets outside the traditional art markets, enabling them to tell their stories and showcase their cultures to a broader audience. To date we have collaborated with 71 First Nations artist and art centre partners, generating over $1.4 million in income.

We have had phenomenal success since our first collaboration with Elcho Island Arts in 2009, which has since cemented Koskela’s commitment to working with First Nations communities and increasing our lighting offering.

These lights can be seen in homes and workplaces nationally and internationally, welcoming the textures of Australia’s bush, and talents of First Nations peoples.

The Mirii collection is available only at Koskela, both in the North Sydney Store and online, with prices starting from $1090

Do you have any questions? Get in touch today, and we will connect you with the right person in our team.

Koskela is proud to be the first furniture and homewares company in Australia to be a Certified B Corporation®.