Inspired by Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) to explore contemporary materials and techniques

Sonja Carmichael is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka people from North Stradbroke Island in Queensland. She works specifically in the medium of fibre basketry and woven sculpture and has revitalised traditional weaving techniques. Her work is informed by her family’s deep cultural connections to the land and seas of Minjerribah, or North Stradbroke Island. In her practice, she draws inspiration from the many stories connected to traditional Quandamooka weaving and also explores contemporary materials and techniques – in particular, discarded ‘ghost nets’ and fishing lines. In using these materials, she expresses her concerns about the preservation of the natural environment.

An active member in her community, Carmichael is a leader in the regeneration of Quandamooka weaving, passing on cultural knowledge and skills through workshops, exhibitions and field research.

Elisa Jane (Leecee) Carmichael, Sonja’s daughter, is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka people of Moorgumpin (Moreton Island) and Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Queensland. She is multi-disciplinary artist who works across the mediums of painting, textiles and weaving. Her practice visually explores the beauty of nature and her surrounding environment, drawing inspiration from her cultural identity and heritage. Her contemporary explorations of Quandamooka weaving provide a modern and unique twist on this enduring cultural tradition.

Sonja and Elisa Jane Carmichael, Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Queensland, 2020; photo: Jo Driessens.

Getting started

Bring the artists into the classroom

Sonja Carmichael, Ngugi/Quandamooka people, South East Queensland, born 1958, Brisbane, Elisa Jane Carmichael, Ngugi/Quandamooka people, South East Queensland, born 1987, Brisbane, Yagabili wunjayi (make today), 2019, Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Queensland, cyanotype on cotton, 240.0 x 270.0 cm; Courtesy the artists and Onespace Gallery, © Elisa Jane and Sonja Carmichael/Onespace Gallery, photo: Grant Hancock.

Making and Responding

Fibre art, drawing and intergenerational making

Create your own blueprint

Make a blueprint drawing of your own culture