Back in 2009 we got a call from someone named Bobbie Ruben after a bit of commission printing for a hotel fit out, little did we know…
Bobbie is a truly gifted print maker, textile designer, screen printer and teacher who has been working with artists from remote indigenous communities around Australia for the past 15 years. She runs workshops in community helping artists in creating designs for screen printing. She has been involved in the creation of over 250 different large format screen printing designs depicting the unique stories, culture and dreaming of each community.
Given that she’s such a talent and those she works with also happen to be a very talented mob, things got big quick. That’s where Publisher appeared on the scene.
Bobbie reached out to us as a hotel was wanting a large quantity of the design “Yawkyawk dja Wayuk” by Deborah Wurrkidj from Babbarra Women’s Centre in northern Arnhem Land and they needed a bit of help fulfilling an order this size.
Not that we like to brag or anything but our tables are pretty big.
From there Babbarra continued to employ us to help out with production on larger orders, freeing them to spend more time creating new designs and colour ways.
In 2012 we were again contacted by Bobbie about helping out with production for another art centre, Merrepen Arts, Culture & Language Aboriginal Corporation, on the Daly River in Arnhem Land. Merrepen artists love a bright bold colour way and their designs gained popularity fast, popping up everywhere from Fashions on the field at the Melbourne Cup to being given to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge herself.
In 2015 we had the first batch of designs arrive from Hopevale Arts & Cultural Centre, located on the Cape York peninsula. Given that these artists don’t have in community printing facilities, we do the production printing for them. Cause you know… big tables. After another workshop with Bobbie in 2016 Hopevale produced 5 more designs for screen, including some of their most elaborate and detailed design work to date.
The latest community to start working with us is Yawuru Jarndu, trading their wears under the name Nagula Jarndu. Located in Broome WA, the centre produces both block and screen prints. Nagula’s 2017 collection of prints is among the most intricate and detailed work to come out with the indigenous textile design world to date, with one design using 6 screens to produce.
In 2017 Publisher produced a small line of clothing featuring designs from each community. The clothing featuring Babbarra’s designs opened the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair’s fashion show and the response to the collection was overwhelmingly positive. In 2018 Publisher partnered with Babbarra Women’s centre to produce a new line of clothing that is available through the Art Centre, Publisher and selected retail stores.