Meet Holly Sanders, proud Bundjalung Aboriginal woman, artist, educator and mum. You also may know her as the artist who has designed some of our best selling Heat Pack prints from 'Sandhills at Sunset' to 'Women On Country'.
Holly's art is an extension of her being, emotions and experiences. As a contemporary Aboriginal artist, she uses her art as a powerful tool in storytelling to educate and share her Aboriginal culture, history and Country. We recently spoke to Holly about her work.
Our Heat Pack Range In 'Sandhills', Designed By Holly Sanders
Can you tell us a bit about you, where you grew up and where you live now?
My Name is Holly Sanders and I am a proud Aboriginal Bundjalung woman. Part of my childhood was spent growing up in the country on the NSW North Coast before moving down to Yuin Country, NSW South Coast. I am a classroom teacher and contemporary Aboriginal Artist, my art shares stories about culture and Country.
As an artist, is there a difference between designing for fabric and your usual painting work?
To be honest, there wasn’t much a difference at all. I was very free to share my stories in my own way and was never restricted.
"My work is an artistic platform to share my deepest love and respect, for culture, Country and community. Each brush stroke and dot are intentional and I think it shows on the fabric."
The quality is amazing, I almost cried when I saw the fabric samples.
Images of sandhills feature heavily in your work. Can you tell us about the importance of sandhills for you?
Yes, being a Saltwater Bundjalung Woman, the patterns of Saltwater Country motivate and inspire me, as do stories from the past. Sandhills epitomise growing up and living on Saltwater Country, long days at the beach with family and my ongoing connection to the land and ocean. Culturally, sand hill and sand environments around the ocean and estuaries provide an abundance of food sources and resources. Midden sites were also common- many valuable and sacred midden sites have now been unfortunately destroyed. Traditionally sand art was a common art from in coastal areas where coloured sands were used to create a temporary picture or story which was washed away by the next high tide. Connection to Country is important for all Aboriginal people and it is something I enjoy painting and sharing. Country is more than a place. It is part of our lives in every aspect - spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.
Who or what inspires you and what?
The patterns of Saltwater Country motivate and inspire me, as do stories from the past. Connection to country is important for all Aboriginal people and it is something I enjoy painting and sharing. Country is more than a place. It is part of our lives in every aspect – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and culturally. It links us to our culture, language, family, lore and identity.
Name three words that best describe your style of art.
Oh, this is hard as everyone sees something different in my work. I think it would be contemporary, engaging (the story telling) and detailed.
When do you feel most creative?
Being on Country is a huge influence in my creative process and is the motivation behind many of my works. Being on and connecting to Country is when I feel most creative. Painting also keeps my culture strong, it is good for my wellbeing and also connects me back spiritually and historically to who I am. I am hoping to pass this love of creativity, storytelling and painting onto my daughters.
Holly acknowledges to traditional owners of the land, waters and sky and pays her respects to the Elders past, present and emerging.
You can shop or learn more about Holly Sanders on her website https://hollysandersart.com.au/