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Bowerbird Design

North Queensland artist and designer, Kristin Tennyson, explains her eclectic approach to design.

Bowerbird Design


February 2nd, 2009

“The other day I found an old tapestry that I loved, and it must have been made with a lot of care,” says Kristin Tennyson, “I sewed part of it on one side of a bag and I used fabrics and found objects that the narrative of the tapestry inspired.”

Arriving in Australia in 1993, Canadian-born Tennyson studied Fine Art at university, but now spends about half her time designing and making one-of-a-kind bags, totes and satchels.

Her creations, she says, are often inspired by found objects that tell a story and dictate the design to her. At other times Tennyson fits her designs to a preconceived narrative, or to fit the personality of its intended owner.

Tennyson began designing her bags for an exhibition for Kick Arts, Centre for Contemporary Arts in Cairns, but has since exhibited at Brisbane’s artisan. “Each bag was designed based on a location in Cairns, using materials and objects that related and told a narrative about each place.”

The Cairns-based artist and designer has also created a number of upholstered ottomans for artist collective The Upholstery, however continues to focus her energy on her art and her bags.

“I remember my first sewing project in school, I actually almost failed because I didn’t […] use the pattern my home economics teacher gave us – I made my own pattern and used my grandma’s old quilting fabrics and knitting needles to create the skirt,” she says.

“I always was a collector of objects and fabrics. A bit of a bowerbird I guess, it is nice that I can put that habit to good use now.”

Kristin Tennyson



Kristin Tennyson tote 2



Kristin Tennyson tote 3



Kristin Tennyson tote 4



Kristin Tennyson tote 5

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