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Textile design workshops create new opportunities for HopeVale artists

Artists in the remote Aboriginal community of HopeVale share their stories through textile design.



Artists in HopeVale expanded their textile and printing knowledge through an intensive week-long development workshop led by experienced industry experts.

The artists further developed skills in techniques including printing with ezy carve, basics of water colour, the use of composition and brush techniques on acrylic on canvas and silk painting. 

The artists created distinct paintings with the explicit intention of transferring the works to textiles.

Supported by Queensland Government's Backing Indigenous Arts (BIA) initiative, a staged approach to delivering weekly workshops was implemented over an extended period of time to allow artists learnings to be reinforced, refined and continually developed.


When and where

From July 2016 – June 2017 in HopeVale, Cairns (CIAF), Darwin (DAAF), Canberra and Brisbane



Key stats

  • 12 Artists
  • 50 new artworks
  • Over 60,000 attendees (audience at Art Fairs)


Arts Queensland investment

$15,000 - Indigenous Regional Arts Development Fund partnership between Arts Queensland and the Hope Vale Arts and Cultural Centre.

$15,000 – Backing Indigenous Arts. The Indigenous Regional Arts Development Fund, part of the Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, is a partnership between the Queensland Government, through Arts Queensland, the Torres Strait Regional Authority and 16 Aboriginal Councils and host organisations. Goals for IRADF are cultural retention and arts development activities.



  • While the primary focus of this project was arts development, the translation of historical and contemporary stories into textile design provided a strong cultural retention component. 
  • The HopeVale Arts and Cultural Centre encouraged artists to share their stories and to try different ways of representing them through images.
  • The textile designs, due to their unique perspective of storytelling being transferred onto fabric, generated great interest nationally and internationally.
  • Fabric produced from the workshops was later showcased in garment form for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) and fashion shows in Canberra.
  • The project resulted in sales of tailored garments and lengths of fabric, which generated additional income for the artists.
  • The artists now possess the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding of textile designing and the associated development process to continue to build upon their recent success.



Learnings and reflections

Seeing their individual designs on fabric has inspired the artists to further explore this art form.

Great to see artists… lives and their special memories shared to many audiences through a different medium, (that is) textiles - Russell Gibson, Board Director.



Artist comments

Makes me happy and proud that our stories and culture were shared and we had a lovely textile facilitator Bobbie Ruben - Grace Rosendale, Artist. 

Proud to see my traditional land on fabric for all to see - Madge Bowen, Artist.


Tips for others

What worked well was working with a textile facilitator who brings knowledge, respect and passion for Indigenous culture.


What next?

The HopeVale Arts and Cultural Centre has since established a partnership with design brand Magpie Goose, with fabrics to be recreated into boutique clothing.

HopeVale textiles were featured in Intertwined, the fashion performance held as part of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Festival 2018 in April 2018.



Find out more

Melanie Gibson
Art Centre Manager


A pdf version (294.9 KB) of this case study is also available.