When Prue Marks, a non-Indigenous designer from Ography was invited to work alongside Uncle Charlie’s Tastes of Country it was more than just a project to design a company brand, it was an invitation and commitment to being in – and maintaining – a sovereign relationship.
Uncle Charlie’s Tastes of Country is a 100% Aboriginal owned and operated business whose knowledges and practices are at the centre of everything they do – sharing stories, sharing food, yarning, caring for country and sustainability. Therefore, our relationship is predicated on 80,000 years of practice and principles of mutual respect, reciprocity, and proportional joint efforts.
In one handful of Uncle Charlie’s popcorn you’ve got the oldest living cultures of collecting bush tucker, storytelling, sustainability and obligation to care for country. Each mouthful is a unique experience of tasting Australian native foods and botanicals all carefully sourced from trade relationships that have been practiced here for 80,000 years and continue today. The product serves as an invitation to share stories and knowledge with non-indigenous people through the act of sharing food.
Uncle Charlie’s ingredients are premium because we only use naturally grown, environmentally sustainable crops, ethically harvested and sourced with Aboriginal community knowledges and relationships.
Uncle Charlie’s Tastes of Country Popcorn brings at least two or three Australian Native Foods and Botanicals to every popcorn flavour. Currently available in– Bush Tomato and River Mint, Sunrise Lime and Quandong, Davidson Plum and Finger Lime.
As you enjoy you can also connect and learn a little more of the stories and practices of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Nation that brings each flavour to you.
Uncle Charlie’s also offers the stories of our Country – Wiradjuri Country – to you through the corn and the popping process. Uncle Charlie’s corn is sustainably sourced from Wiradjuri Country; watered from Wiradjuri Country; harvested, prepared and popped on Wiradjuri Country.
One of the ways stories of Country is shared is through the design of the packaging. Featuring visual language designed by Wiradjuri artist Peta-Joy from Wiradjuri Wave and Prue from Ography, the boxes illustrate each flavour combination and the country that brings them to you. As the consumer enjoys their popcorn, they can identify, through Wiradjuri visual language, which Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island Nations they are connecting to.
The base of the box is a coolamon – a Wiradjuri word meaning dish. A coolamon is Wiradjuri knowledge (design) but is translated into Western design by Ography to open out so you can share your popcorn – from Wiradjuri to you, to your friends and family. The embossed base features a work created by Peta-Joy. It is constructed by hand, without any glue from Koala Board, 100% Australian made board, so it’s as environmentally friendly as we could possibly make it.
Uncle Charlie’s Tastes of Country can be purchased through gourmetbrands.com.au
Prue consulted with long-time friend John Wanless from Bambra Press on the initial designs. When it came apparent that we needed a slightly larger press, John graciously passed on the details of Avi from Litho Superpak.
The Print Process
The lids and belly bands were printed offset in 4 colour process by Litho Superpak.
Techniques and Embellishments
Emboss on the base was provided by Avon Graphics
Amongst Covid-19 lockdowns we faced the usual challenges minimal visist and on-site consultations, stock supply and also being unable to check the designs and colour on press. Matan and Avi from Lith Superpak offered support during the difficult times to ensure a well finished product.
In consultation with Liam Fish, Ball & Doggett Business Development Manager – Victoria, Prue tried a number of different paper stocks and weights until she settled on the final stocks and weights.
Ultimately as there is no 100% Australian Made alternative for an uncoated food safe stock (which we needed for the lids) for now, we have used Barry. Barry allowed the colours sit up and it provides a great contrast to the bases.
Koala Kraft, being food safe and also 100% Australian made was the easy choice. The bases had to function well and not be too flimsy or too heavy. When creating the different sizes we discovered that going down in weight for the 20gram pack would still provide the suitable rigidity. It also met the sustainability criteria we want for this product. After all connection to Country is of upmost importance so we must care for it as much as we possibly can.