The Gather blanket front and back
Elisa Jane (Leecee) Carmichael is a Quandamooka woman and artist who honours her saltwater heritage by incorporating materials collected from Country, embracing traditional techniques, and expressing contemporary adaptations through painting, weaving, and textiles.
Leecee Carmichael with baby Ira
For our very first artist collaboration we commissioned Leecee, a dear friend of many years, to create an artwork that we could together transform into a blanket design. Please welcome the Gather blanket!
“The weave of the Gather blanket brings together the many threads of a gulayi (Quandamooka women’s bag) which loops and diagonally knots ungaire (freshwater swamp reeds). Gulayi have supported daily life for millennia and were used to gather shellfish from the shorelines of Minjerribah and Mulgumpin (North Stradbroke and Moreton Island). Our Quandamooka waters are alive, nurturing and sustaining us with ginyingara (oysters), eugaries (pipis) and quampi shells and many other precious freshwater and saltwater food sources. Today, on Country, we gather to weave and feast from the dabiyil (waters). Quandamooka djagan marumba (Quandamooka Country is beautiful).”
– Leecee Carmichael
Leecee's original artwork and the Gather blanket
Leecee is a descendant of the Ngugi people, one of three clans who are the traditional custodians of Quandamooka, also known as Yoolooburrabee—people of the sand and sea. Quandamooka Country comprises the waters and lands of and around Moreton Bay in south-east Queensland.
Aunty Sonja in the Quandamooka waters and with her grandbaby Ira
We photographed the blanket on Quandamooka Country with Leecee’s mother, the master weaver Aunty Sonja Carmichael, and Leecee’s baby, Ira.
Aunty Sonja with her grandbaby Ira
Pictured here is the first gulayi that Aunty Sonja wove
Aunty Sonja has revived the Quandamooka loop and diagonal knot weave, which wasn’t passed down from her mother’s generation because of colonisation.
“Our Quandamooka weaving practices were interrupted as a result of colonisation. Cultural practices were forced to stop. I didn’t grow up weaving. It has only been in the last 10 years we have learnt and connected with the precious weaves of our ancestors through research, yarning, workshops and visiting museum collections.” Leecee says.
Ginyingara (oysters), eugaries (pipis) and quampi shells
Together with Leecee, the pair now use their woven practice in significant artworks that are housed across the country in museum collections, but also in vessels they use every day, like Ira’s baby basket.
Like our other Design blankets, Gather is woven in Lithuania with yarn spun from reclaimed woollen jumpers in Italy. It was our privilege to work with Leecee on a blanket collaboration and the Gather blanket is a special addition to the Seljak Brand range. Shop the Gather blanket here.
Beautiful Minjerribah bushland