23 November 2022

Riverina Made: Ash shares the 'essence' of Wiradjuri country through Little Black Duck

| Chris Roe
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woman with art

Local artist Ashleigh Pengelly sells a broad range of products under her Little Black Duck brand. Photo: Supplied.

Who are you and what is your business? I’m Ashleigh Pengelly, I’m an Aboriginal woman from Wagga and now I’m in Uranquinty and my business is Little Black Duck.

What do you produce? My business is most known for my Aboriginal handpainted teapots. I also do serving boards, candles and now my most popular item for 2022 is acknowledgement of country ornaments for the Christmas tree. Although people keep telling me that they are good for any time. I’ve had one lady say that she’s going to wear it as a necklace!

READ ALSO Riverina Made: Food I Am is all about celebrating local flavours this Christmas

Where can we buy your products? You can buy them on the website at littleblackduckaus.com. I also have a studio at Uranquinty that people can visit three days a week, Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays, by appointment. I’m also stocked in a few different shops here in Wagga and also in Sydney.

What should we buy for gifts this Christmas? You should be buying a teapot. The handpainted teapot is always popular and is a keepsake and a treasured item. Probably my next most popular item is the serving boards that are good for around Christmas time for people gathering and their family events, and they are really popular as corporate gifts as well. Then there’s my candles and there’s plenty of stuff I’ve also just launched in the last couple of months, like the body wash and the room sprays, which are great for travellers also.


Ash has expanded her range from teapots to boards and candles. Photo: Supplied.

What’s your favourite product that you make? I do love painting. Every time I paint a teapot, I actually really enjoy the process of it and it’s really relaxing. I think I love anything that’s kind of creative, like doing the art on my ceramic ornaments this year. I’ve enjoyed that process of having the idea and then actually seeing it, and then seeing that it’s perfectly printed. That’s been really nice.

What would you make if you could do anything? If money was not an issue and bills did not exist, I would still want to be doing what I’m doing. If time was not an issue and people didn’t need the orders in a timely fashion, I’d probably be able to expand my creative offerings a lot more. I also do some graphic design on the side and that sort of thing. So I could just do it all on a bigger scale.

How would you promote the Riverina? I’ve already done a lot of it. I use the statement that my products are handmade or handpainted or produced on Wiradjuri country, and I also love using the essence of the Riverina in my products. So that can be in the candles that are produced using scents and fragrances that remind me of being on Wiradjuri country in the Riverina and I also use inspiration from the landscape in the artworks that I create. I also use Wiradjuri language to name a lot of my products as well, and that’s always a conversation starter, especially at the markets and things. It’s a great way to promote the Aboriginal aspect of where we’re from.

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What’s your favourite coffee spot? I’m definitely a coffee girl and I’d probably say Infuse in Turvey Park. Stu and Jess have been longtime supporters of Little Black Duck and of Aboriginal businesses in general. They were probably one of the first stores that displayed my teapots to the public and they have really good coffee and a really good hazelnut latte, which is my order.

Coolest local thing you’ve ever bought? Probably my favorite thing that I’ve ever bought that you’ll see me wearing daily is my sister basket from Aunty Kath Withers. I often say it’s like my little protector and I wear it all the time. If I’ve lost it and I asked the universe for it, it just pops up, funnily enough, every single time! And then probably my second-favourite item at the moment would be my earrings from Debbie Wood. They’re a beautiful pink colour and I’ve been complimented on them even as far down as Melbourne.

What do you want for Christmas? I’m all for gift vouchers for like a spa day, or I think any kind of experience as well. I love being just a total tourist. And then, you know, as any other parent would say, anything handmade by the children is always a winner!

You can learn more about Ash’s products here.


Ash’s Little Black Duck products are available at the Wagga Shop. Photo: Chris Roe.

Region Riverina is committed to celebrating our local producers and creatives and encourages everyone to buy local.

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