Tamika Grant-Iramu Interview

By Designer Rugs on February 28, 2022 

We are thrilled to unveil the debut rug collection from Meanjin/Brisbane-based artist Tamika Grant-Iramu. This striking collection incorporates Tamika’s signature organic patterns and imagery, and aims to include all communities of people through a universal connection to nature.

Inspired by her immediate environment of Meanjin/Brisbane and using relief print carving techniques, Tamika’s practice focuses on native and introduced flora, and highlights the minute details that are so often unnoticed. Her carving process corresponds to the strength and fluidity of the natural environment - each carved line represents a feeling, a memory, a relationship that emerges into something new.

Through her creative practice, Tamika explores her identity, seeking ways to connect with the different threads of her Papua New Guinean, European and Torres Strait Islander heritage. The carving techniques and storytelling aesthetics of Papua New Guinean and Torres Strait Islander culture are combined with the Western influences of Tamika’s upbringing. Tamika’s unique artistic style brings together diverse communities of people, and through this collection aims to highlight the rug as the celebratory heart of a gathering.

We spoke to Tamika about her experiences creating this collection:

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Tamika Grant-Iramu

What was your overall inspiration for this collection?

Many people are emotionally fulfilled when viewing or being present in natural environments. I wanted to present one organic body of work, that follows my journey through native and introduced plant life from both botanical gardens and the natural ecologies of Meanjin/Brisbane.

Which design is your favourite from the collection?

My favourite design out of the collection is Complex Ecologies. When creating the design, I wanted to try to capture as many different native and introduced species of plants that I came across during walks through the South Bank Parklands in Brisbane.

The design for Complex Ecologies was quite challenging as well, mixing different mark making from my printmaking practice and the exploration of multiple colours - the colours I have chosen for this rug remind me of summer and vacations by the beach.

The section of my artwork that Designer Rugs used for my rug design is unexpected, however that fragment of design chosen works beautifully within the circular rug. The circular framing of my artwork is different approach to what I usually do as I tend to create works within a rectangle format

What excites me the most about this rug is the different pile heights used in the artwork – the textures created from the pile heights and mixture of bamboo & wool materials brings the flora to life

designer rugs tamika grant complex ecologies
Complex Ecologies

You draw your inspiration from the detail found in native flora – what is it like to see your work translated in such a large scale?

There were a variety of techniques employed, some designs originated from hand sketches, some from watercolours, I have created artworks in the past that are large scale – however, this tends to be a smaller assemblage of works on paper turned into a large installation. It’s great to see my artworks turned into large-scale rugs as it brings forward intricate patterns of flora that might not always catch a viewer’s attention when viewing my artworks.

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Native Resonances

Much of your work is in black and white – what draws you to this palette, and what was it like incorporating so much colour into your rug designs?

I have always been drawn towards printing my artworks in black and white since my artworks are quite intricate with patterns in its imagery.Using a black and white pallet also helps the composition of my artworks, bringing imagery into the foreground or background and define the shading that I create using my vinyl-cutting tools

I spent time choosing colour pallets for each rug, some which were based off colours from existing plant life. For example, Changing Seasons is based off the Jacaranda and Poinsettia tree so I tried to match the vibrancy of the purple (Jacaranda) and orange-reds (Poinsettia).

The process of colour selection for this rug collection was challenging, however I am grateful for this as it is now a process I use for new artwork projects and am excited to continue creating artwork that are colourful.

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Changing Seasons

Your collection can be custom sized and coloured – is there any particular customisations you’d love to see?

Although my artwork designs are usually based with a black background, I would love to see a vibrant base to the rug design with new colours incorporated into the patterns/imagery. One idea that comes to mind for the ‘Propagation’ rug is using a dark blue background (instead of black) and having warm earthy red tones instead of the of the blue within the flora, which I think would sit nicely next to the existing orange colour selection in the other elements of the design.

How did you find the collaborative process with Designer Rugs?

The collaborative process with Designer Rugs was both challenging and inspiring. Designing interior furnishings is something I have wanted to do and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to collaborate with Designer Rugs so soon within my professional practice - I am excited to continue my relationship with Designer Rugs and see what opportunities may arise with my collection.

The Tamika Grant-Iramu Collection is on display in our showrooms, and can be custom shaped, sized and coloured to suit any residential or commercial space. Contact us to find out more!