Violet Umea

Violet Umea is a collaboration between Tui Emma Gillies and Koloa Jewellery. It is the sixth collaboration we have done with an amazing tapa/ngatu artist.

Tui Emma Gillies is a Tongan, New Zealand artist who specialises in tapa cloth. She has exhibited and conducted tapa workshops around New Zealand and overseas and her works have been purchased for museums and private collections all over the world. In 2018 she received the Creative New Zealand Pacific Heritage Art Award and also helped revive hiapo growing and the art of bark cloth making alongside her mother in Falevai, Vava'u where it had vanished decades earlier.

In this collaboration, Tui has used umea, a dye made of red clay from Falevai Village in Vava’u Tonga, alongside beautiful violet tones, colours representing spirituality, compassion and intuition. The feta’aki was grown and beaten by local women in Tongatapu.

Fire has interpreted Tui Emma Gillies' stunning tapa to produce only a limited number of pieces that are mini art art works in themselves.


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