Bianca Crake is the Owner and Founder of Jaru Girl Designs artwork and clothing based in Wyndham in very remote Western Australia. Her business is named for her country Jaru, in the East Kimberleys and her art and designs reflect the Aboriginal stories of the land and waters of that area, as well as the Pilbara and through the Northern Territory, Bianca drawing inspiration from the places where she has lived and worked.
Share with us who Bianca Long nee Crake is?
I am a Jaru woman from Halls Creek. I grew up there with my two younger siblings and my Mum and Dad. We lived in town for a little while and then our parents bought a five-acre property. We had horses and animals and competed in rodeos. From there my parents bought another 100 hectares. We have horses and cattle, a dam, that is the picture from the front page of my collection.
We’d go out fishing, camping with my family on the property, so always had a connection to country as a child and into adulthood. My parents both worked, and my Mum owns her own business, a gardening business in Halls Creek. So, it was instilled in us, that it is important to work and get a good job. That is where the idea from owning my own business Jaru Girl Designs came from, my Mum. She is my mentor. So that is where my ethics around work and starting my own business came from – my parents. To me that is important. Good role models are important.
Now I live on a five acre property in Wyndham. There is a little creek that runs through the property. There is something about the earth and the country, you are grounded. It’s natural, beautiful. Helps you to de-stress and be calm.
We have three generation of entrepreneurs in our family. My nephew, who is 11, is now painting rocks and making poly-clay Christmas ornaments and selling them to buy himself things. When he was living in Derby, he used to make ice cups to sell them to kids to raise money to buy himself a scooter. Three generations of entrepreneurs are possible from him seeing his Grandmother and Aunty in business. That is something I am really proud of. That we have been able to pass down being an entrepreneur, working for things and valuing work. He has also learned to carve boab nuts. My sister and my nephews have been staying with me in Wyndham and he has been sitting with the older men in Wyndam learning to carve boab nuts. My nephew sold his first one the other day to a tourist. My Mum, my sister and I all have art skills and that is another three generation thing as well, with our nephew.
What are the stories behind the artworks on your Jaru Girl collection?
The stories behind them are based on my land, my country and where I am from, as well as the areas I have worked. My country is Jaru, in the East Kimberleys. I have worked from the Pilbara right through to the Northern Territory.
My favourite artwork is My Country. My Country tells the story of the Sturt Creek area where my Grandfather and Great Grandmother were born. That is my father’s country. That is the story behind the My Country painting. That art is the connection to my culture and my country.
Other stories – The River Flowing on to Mud Flats. That is based around where I’ve worked and where I currently live now. In Wyndham we have 5 rivers that flow onto the mud flats. That also represent areas in the Northern Territory where I have worked and seen that similar landscape.
What is your vision for Jaru Girl?
My vision for the Jaru Girl brand is to develop it and expand the clothing range and hopefully use my art to generate income for myself. My vision is to not work in a full-time job and to concentrate to do my art and fashion. To spread my culture and knowledge to wider audiences and to bring connection. It doesn’t matter what colour, race or religion we are, we all have some connection to our country. My brand is about bringing all those cultures together. In my heritage I have Aboriginal and White in me and that reflects through me into my paintings. Two cultures as one.
The idea behind bringing the community into the brand is having a strong family bond. The people that are in my photos include my sister, niece and Aunties and strong family members. Family is important as it strengthens our culture and our connection with each other.
The shoot that you see with my sister and my niece was taken at my Mum and Dad’s property. My Dad came out with us to look for an area to take the photo shoot. That is an example of bringing everyone together.
What steps are you are taking to realise your vision?
I have partnered with Earthed Foundation who are supporting me to develop my clothing line. We split Jaru Girl and made a smaller collection of five pieces based on two artworks. We are taking away the synthetic fabrics and moving to more natural and more organic fabrics. The reason for that is because it sits more appropriately with my brand. The brand story is around country, and using those fabrics is more natural and more aligned with the brand.
As part of Earthed Foundation, I also have a new fashion designer on board. We are still using the same patterns, but she is helping with getting the manufacturing organised.
The two designs we have used is the My Country painting and The Rugged Country painting (below). The stories of those two prints are the same – all about country.
My artwork is also available in prints, in cushion covers etc and I also have paintings as well. Have sold most of the paintings, but not My Country because it is special to me. People can email me if they would like to purchase any prints or paintings.
I want to continue to educate people about culture and country. That is important to everybody.
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