Weaving Light and Culture: Introducing the Ku:yitaipari (Fish Trap) Floor Lamp

We are thrilled to introduce the latest addition to our captivating partnership with the Ngarrindjeri Cultural weavers—the Ku:yitaipari (Fish Trap) Floor Lamp.

The story of the Ku:yitaipari Floor Lamp finds its roots in our Ngalya collection back in 2019, a project initiated to commemorate a decade of Koskela's impactful work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Ngalya, which means "together" in the Yolngu Matha language, stands as a testament to the innovation and contemporary transformations occurring within Indigenous fibre arts and cultures across Australia.

At the heart of this collaboration are the Ngarrindjeri weavers: Aunty Ellen Trevorrow, Aunty Noreen Kartinyeri, and Bessie Rigney. Their journey is one of transformation, where sculptural coiled sedge weaving has evolved into luminous vessels of light. These vessels, shaped like the traditional Ku:yitaipari (fish trap), are meticulously crafted from fine bundles of freshwater sedge grasses, bound together by a single reed, symbolising the unity of creation.

The base is crafted from iconic Australian sandstone, embodying our commitment to work with local materials that are deeply woven into our nation's identity. This choice not only pays homage to our rich geological heritage but also underscores our dedication to sustainable, homegrown craftsmanship. Sydney sandstone, an integral part of our city's history, graces our buildings, harbour walls, and cliffs, and it's the very canvas upon which the EORA nations carved their timeless artistry.

Aunty Ellen with her woven floor lamps - Ngalya 2019

Aunty Ellen with her woven floor lamps - Ngalya 2019

The new Ku:yitaipari (Fish Trap) Floor Lamp curved arm design

When you are weaving you bring people together, It’s a survival connection. Stitch by stitch, circle by circle, weaving is like a creation of life. All things are connected. - Ellen Trevorrow, Ngarrindjeri Elder

Yet, the significance goes beyond the artistry. It touches upon the environmental challenges faced by the Ngarrindjeri people, particularly the depletion of freshwater rushes along the Coorong due to environmental degradation and rising saltwater levels. The weavers play a vital role in sustainable land management by carefully harvesting these rushes from lakes, rivers, and the Coorong areas on Ngarrindjeri country.

For Aunty Ellen Trevorrow, weaving is not just a skill; it's a connection to her heritage and a tradition that spans generations. Taught by Aunty Dorrie Kartinyeri 36 years ago, her journey truly began in 1982, igniting a lifelong passion for preserving and sharing her culture through weaving. Ellen's medium is the Juncus australis, a water plant native to southeastern Australia and parts of New Zealand, also known as austral rush, leafless rush, or wīwī.

Over the years, Ellen's sculptures and woven works have graced galleries across Australia and the world, including prestigious institutions like the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Today, she resides on Ngarrindjeri country, at Camp Coorong, South Australia, continuing her mission of passing down her cultural wisdom through weaving.

This lighting range is a poignant representation of the Ngarrindjeri Cultural Weavers' intricate basket-weaving technique. Proceeds from its sales will support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, emphasising the meaningful impact of cultural preservation through art.

However, this project doesn't stand alone; it's part of a larger program where Koskela collaborates with over 30 Indigenous communities and artists across Australia. In 2023, this program returned over $1.4 million to these communities. This initiative, rooted in the founding vision of Koskela, aims to harness design as a force for profound social change, strengthening self-determination and showcasing the creativity and craftsmanship of Indigenous artists.

The Ku:yitaipari (Fish Trap) Floor Lamp is more than just a lighting fixture; it's a symbol of resilience, culture, and connection. It's a bridge between tradition and contemporary design, a testament to the enduring spirit of Indigenous artistry, and a beacon of light that shines on the path of meaningful collaboration.