My connection to Fiji is my family. My aunt and her husband moved there in 2002 and the rest of my family has taken on the arduous (not) task of visiting them in rotation at least once a year. I have been there 5 times and fell in love with it straight away, mostly because I got to see my family, but also because the kindness that oozed from the country was so infectious. The scent of coconut oil, the melodious, deep language and the damp vegetable aroma of the forests always delight me when I walk out of the plane at Nadi airport. It is not a perfect country, but I always yearn for it and what it gives me as an individual (mostly the ability to relax and not wear shoes), as soon as I leave.
My experience of Fiji alters dramatically with every trip. I have had some pivotal moments out there, which will always stay with me. From trekking barefoot to a waterfall in the mud surrounded by caterpillars, to drinking at Mango Bay with all the backpackers, falling in love with blonde surfers, living in a remote village on Taveuni and countless trips under the ocean accompanied by reef tip sharks, manta rays, hawk’s bill turtles and shoals and shoals of wonderful fish.
I learnt to dive in the Pacific and hearing its murmur outside the house everyday and the palm trees brushing against each other in the cyclonic winds is very hypnotic. The main artistic inspiration is of course the island’s many colours, that beautiful, attention grabbing turquoise of the reef and the finality of the dark blue, open ocean are what leaves me staring at it for hours knowing that underneath it is hiding a rainbow of corals and creatures accessible only with a mask and fins. The varied greens of the vegetation and the bright flowers are also very beautiful and more easily accessible for the eye.
Fiji is where the inspiration of my cushion designs comes from. I have also done some designs for t-shirts, which I hope will be produced one day. I don’t know if I will ever go back, but I will always have these memories and the products to remind me of how much I love it.