We're taking time to talk with Maddy Hodgetts, a Ngiyampaa and Wiradjuri artist who is busy making monumental things happen in the fashion industry. Where do we even start? Maddy runs her painting practice under the name Kapata Dreaming - @kapatadreaming - and then she also runs Yapa Mali - @yapamali - a clothing and accessory business based in Nyngan, NSW. Her design for Kinga Csilla - the Kali fabric pattern - speaks of Country, connection and waterways, and is expressed in the lushest, freshest blues and greens. What a delight.
Tell us a bit about your own emerging label, Yapa Mali! We love what we're seeing so far. We see soft textile earrings; emu feather necklaces, and the stunning Gaadhi high waisted skirt and crop set, patterned with undulating contours and deep browns. It must be a massively satisfying outlet for your imagination and your creative ambitions, right?
Definitely! I have always been interested in the fashion industry, particularly the design development and thought process behind creating cohesive looks. Yapa Mali is a way for me to go beyond just fashion, and instead, create culturally meaningful garments that draw upon and honour my Ancestors and our stories.
It’s also super satisfying to know I’m upholding my Cultural values by producing sustainable garments. I feel responsible for caring for Country, so I want to avoid contributing to fast fashion and waste as much as I can.
Are people out there too scaredy-cat with their earring choices? Looking at your creations, we have regret for every time we haven't worn a bold, handmade ear accessory. Should earring lovers go big or go home?
Absolutely - if you love it, wear it!
Expressing culture by accessorizing with things like statement earrings makes me feel confident. All materials for my earrings are sourced from Country, making them even more special!
If you are drawn to a garment or accessory and it makes you feel good, you should go for it and wear it with pride.
What's it like to do business out of Nyngan, NSW? Can you tell us what the community is like, for people who have never been there?
I am so happy to be able to live and work on my Ancestral Country. As a First Nations person, I have an obligation to care for Country and I feel deeply connected to this land. The Community itself is so peaceful and quiet! You only have to go 5 minutes down the road to be out bush or by the river.
We are over the moon to feature your print design, Kali, in our new range. As you've described, your work in vibrant blue and green speaks of waterways in Ngiyampaa Country, created by Waway's swirling movement. So we wonder - what's the perfect thing we should take the time to do when we wear your art? To put it another way - if wearing your art can motivate someone to try something a bit different that day, what might that something be?
The biggest goal for me is to communicate through my art and practice, is the beauty of First Nations cultures. I want to create a teaching moment for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, with my work acting as a reminder that we are all living on Mother Earth and so we must come together to care for her.
I hope that my pieces motivate people to re-centre Country in their daily lives. Taking a moment to look out the window, walk outside, and just be present and acknowledge the land you are on - I think that is a great thing to do.
In your description of the beautiful Kali pattern, you point out that just as there are connected lines in your art, everything on Country is connected. When you're on Country, when you see and participate in this connection - the feeling must be so important for you, on a creative level. Do you love staying for long periods on Country, for creative reasons?
Creativeness is embedded into my culture through song, dance, art, and storytelling. All my artworks and their stories come from Ngiyampaa Country. So, it's natural for me to feel inspired when I'm on Country, but more importantly it grounds me. I grew up off Country and although we visited regularly, it is only since moving home that I realise how deep my connection is here. When I am home, I feel better both creatively and within my spirit.