Sourcing fabrics

Are you interested in buying lengths of ATSI hand printed fabrics? Flying Fox Fabrics stocks a range of beautiful hand printed fabrics and we also encourage you to support art centres directly. The following Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art centres have websites and hand printed fabric lengths can be purchased from their online stores . The website links are in the titles.

Babbarra Designs – in Maningrida, Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Originally established as a women’s centre it continues to be auspiced by Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation. Over time Babbarra evolved its activities to include fabric printing with lino tiles and silk screens. Membership is still restricted to women and the centre is now world renowned with outstanding designs promoted through social media following and exhibiting fabrics internationally. Printing takes place on and offsite.

Bima Wear – Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island. North-east of Darwin is a women’s printing and sewing art centre that has been operating for more than 50 years. They are one of the few art centres to produce clothing and homewares from their own fabrics onsite – some can be purchased online, however, the store is not always updated when stock is sold.

Bula’bula Arts – Ramingining, Central Arnhem Land (east of Maningrida), NT. One of Australia’s most well known art centres. Famed for bark paintings and weavings, community members and artists are also widely known as the actors and storytellers in the film Ten Canoes. Onsite fabric printing has occurred at various times over the last 30 years and was restarted a few years ago with some new designs. All fabrics are printed onsite. Our founder has been providing mentoring support to Bula’bula Arts in 2020 to reinvigorate yardage printing and some of their fabric products can be found in our Etsy shop.

Ikuntji Artists – Haasts Bluff, NT. This small art centre has become increasingly active in fabric design and printing. Based in Haasts Bluff around 220 km west of Alice Springs, the art centre has been working with members to create fabrics designs that are hand-printed on and offsite. With very limited space and facilities anything bigger than 2 metres is printed by Publisher Textiles in Sydney. Flying Fox Fabrics is delighted to be in partnership with Ikuntji Arts and we stock their fabrics and products made from fabric in our own Flying Fox Fabrics Etsy shop.

A range of stunning Injalak Arts hand printed fabrics

Injalak Arts – Gunbalanya, Western Arnhem Land, NT. A large and highly productive art centre with more than 300 members. Originally established as a fabric printing workshop it grew to support a wide range of arts activities including painting and weaving. Fabric printing experienced a renaissance in 2011 and there are now more than 45 designs in production including highly popular designs by women. All fabrics are printed onsite. They have an active Etsy shop that is restocked and updated regularly.

Jilamara Arts – Milikapiti, Melville Island. The history of fabric printing at Jilamara Arts goes back to the 1990s. In Tiwi language, Jilamara means design. Established in 1989, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association is owned and governed by Tiwi artists from Milikapiti community on Melville Island. Milikapiti community is on the coast over overlooking the Arafura Sea. It’s a happy place, with strong families and strong culture. A selection of fabrics can be seen in their online shop.

Merrepen Arts – Merrepen (Daly River) NT. This art centre has stunning fabrics with complex designs printed on and offsite. They have a longstanding partnership with Publisher Textiles to print for them in Sydney. Their online store will be ready soon.

Munupi Arts – Munupi Arts & Crafts Association is located along Melville Island’s north-western coastline at Pirlangimpi (Garden Point) and is the most recently formed art centre on the Tiwi Islands. In 1990 the Yikikini Women’s Centre and Pirlangimpi Pottery were incorporated under the name Munupi Arts and Crafts Association giving local artists an opportunity to proudly celebrate Tiwi culture through both traditional and contemporary mediums. Fabric printing has been one of them. Sometimes hand printed fabrics are available direct from the art centre or at pop-ups.

Nagula Jarndu – Broome, Western Australia. This wonderful women’s art and resource centre has recently begun offering their fabrics online and their service is prompt. Their fabrics are truly gorgeous designs made with 3+ screens and are hand printed in Sydney by Publisher Textiles.

Tiwi Design – Wurrumiyanga, Bathurst Island. North-east of Darwin is a large art centre that has been continuously printing on fabric for more than 35 years. Tiwi Design has been a leader in Aboriginal fabric printing and has inspired many other art centres including Injalak Arts. Flying Fox has trialled products in vintage Tiwi Design fabrics printed over 20 years ago and they look fabulous. They sell some fabric online.

Wadeye Women – Wadeye (Port Keats) NT. Palngun Wurnangat Aboriginal Corporation is a women’s organisation with many micro businesses including fabric printing. It is often referred to as Wadeye Women. All fabrics are printed onsite. At present is on hold but will hopefully be resumed soon.