Gay’wu (String bag)


Gay’wu are made from the Balgurr (Kurrajong) tree. Sticks of Balgurr are burnt and then the bark is stripped and mashed. The mashed bark is dyed by boiling with various natural dyes. When it has dried the bark is separated and hung up in various colours. The artist chooses some coloured bark and starts to roll and spin it on her thigh. At some point she introduces another colour and so on until she has one very long string. This can take quite some time. Artists often start weaving the bag by wrapping a loop around her toes and then using a looping technique, adds row upon row to complete the bag. Traditionally the bags were used for carrying Yams (Gangurri, Ganay, Birridjirr and Yukuwa) or Cycad nuts (Warraga) and other bush tucker. The string is also used for making ceremonial objects.

33 × 31 cm | Balgurr (Kurrajong - Brachychiton Populneus) and natural dyes | Cat. no: 23-891