Summary

This tea cup was made by Doug Kite using kangaroo hide with 'brandy' leather and a 'natural' edge. It is made using a 3 plait from top edge then a flat 'fish scale' plait. The handle is created with a piece of wire plaited over it. Doug made a tea cup and sauce for his stall at the Berwick Market as a way to attract interest; it was not for sale. It is another example of how he stretched his creative, mathematical skills in plaiting unique and unusual items.

Doug Kite was born in 1924 and grew up near the outback town of Maree (South Australia). His first six years were spent travelling with this family living and travelling on a covered wagon through remote pastoral leases in South Australia, following the work of his father who was employed as a fencing contractor. When he was six he settled for the first time under a fixed roof in Farina (55 km south of Marree, where the Oodnadatta Track and the Birdsville Track commence; now a ghost town). Doug's early years were coloured by the Ghan railway that travelled through Farina, the regular Afghan traders, interaction with boundary riders and stockmen, and the isolation, beauty and challenges of outback life. He picked up various labouring and stock jobs. Doug and his brother relocated to Melbourne in 1944 when they were employed by the North Balwyn Wildlife Sanctuary. Their first task was to bring across a mob of camels for use by the Sanctuary. Doug worked in a variety of labouring jobs in his life, including jobs at Kodak and Heinz.

Doug returned to Farina when the railway was closed in 1984. It was on this visit that he was inspired to begin braiding leather. Doug is essentially self-taught and over the years continually tested and extended his skills with new techniques and items. He established a national reputation for his fine work and was especially recognized for his miniature hat bands. Doug received orders for his work from all over Australia and the United State of America.

This item is part of the Doug Kite Leather Braiding Collection which consists of handmade leather braided products, hand tools and works in progress made by Doug Kite from 1984 to 2016. The Collection also includes oral histories, video and photographs. The Collection was featured on the ABC Landline program on 7 August 2016.

Physical Description

Leather braided cup, kangaroo skin.

More Information