Today, iconic Australian lifestyle brand Country Road proudly launch a co-designed homewares range with award-winning painter and printmaker, Kieren Karritpul. Made in Australia, each piece tells a different story from the traditional lands where Kieren lives, drawing on the cultural significance of the billabongs, mermaids and turtles of the Daly River region.
Country Road’s partnership with Kieren began in 2020, following his Textile Design Award win at the National Indigenous Fashion Awards. Since then, both brand and artist have worked together through a considered process of co-design to carefully reinterpret his artworks into a limited Home range, with Kieren’s designs deeply woven into the material, shape and function of every piece.
Kieren has been creating art since he was 15 years old, sharing stories from the traditional lands of Nauiyu, Daly River where Kieren lives and is a member of Merrepen Arts Culture and Language Art Centre. Kieren comes from a long line of master weavers and artists. Growing up, he would watch the women in his community weave baskets and fishing nets, greatly influencing his practice today. Kieren’s work embraces lines and circular forms to represent life on the land, in mediums such as paintings, fabrics and ceramics.
When speaking of his journey as an artist, Kieren explains, “I didn’t choose to be an artist because I was already born to be an artist from my grandmother, great-grandmother and mother. I’m the fourth generation of that artist.”
Country Road’s head of design for home, Ty Symonds, details how together with Kieren, the ideas for the collection evolved over a number of years. “When Kieren was sharing his stories of home with us, the importance of the billabongs, mermaids and turtles of the Naiyu community became really clear. That’s when we decided on a dining range because it was about life giving, sharing with family and community.”
An 8-piece Home range was created with Kieren, inspired by the organic forms in his artworks. The artist was involved at every step of the design process, which resulted in five ceramic bowls and three linen textiles.
Australia’s oldest working pottery studio, Bendigo Pottery, was chosen to bring the ceramic pieces to life. The clay was sourced from central Victoria, and moulded, printed and fired in-house at the studio. To accompany the ceramic serving range, Kieren’s artworks were carefully translated into two linen tea towels and a table runner, which were hand-screen printed locally at Printink Studio.
Based in Collingwood, Victoria, Printink Studio has long championed the artisan skill of hand-screen printing, with every piece of cloth printed, touched and assembled by the same two pairs of hands. The studio is run by Jason Cecani and Nadia Husiak, with a focus on using 100% natural fibres where possible. Throughout the dyeing process, Printink sources Australian-produced ink which is water-based and solvent-free.
Finally, the screen-printed fabrics are delivered to ABMT Apparel in Melbourne, where they are cut, sewn and trimmed into tea towels and table runners.
The range will be Country Road’s first co-design. From first conversations to final production, every step of the process has been collaborated on together with Kieren, resulting in a range that beautifully celebrates his work as a Ngen’giwumirri artist.
The Australian Made Co-design with Kieren Karritpul will be available in select Country Road stores and online from June 30.