Marebu and Bush Dye by Jocelyn Koyole

Marebu and Bush Dye

The print design is Marebu (woven pandanus mats).

Artists usually use kundayarr, pandanus spiralis, to weave decorative round or oblong mats, as well as the less common triangular and conical shapes. Weaving is physically hard work, now done only by women. They colour the pandanus using natural dyes made from the roots, leaves or flowers of plants within the weaver’s clan estate.

The radial woven patterns of the finest round mats appear to vibrate with colour, sometimes regarded as an aesthetic manifestation of deep cultural meaning, as there is a significant spiritual dimension to pandanus mats.

Jocelyn has dyed this silk at Bolkjam Outstation where she was residing over the dry season for ceremony. She has used yellow colour from the root of the man-kurdudjumuk plant (coelospermum reticulatum) which grows in sandy country near the flood plains. Jocelyn had to shave the root in a llaborious process before boiling the fabric in water over hours of boiling. The silk is left with a slightly rough texture.