Since November 2009 a group of women from the Casino area have been meeting at weekly weaving workshops. A new exhibition opening this week presents a fantastic showcase of their work.
Under the guidance of local ACE weaving teacher Katrina Kelsey, the Casino-based Wake Up Time women have been creating baskets, dilly bags and sculptural forms made from local grasses, hand-dyed in colours derived from local plants as well as commercial raffia to add strength.
Ms Kelsey explained that the group collects most of the materials they work with from the bush around Casino, taking them back to Oaks Community Centre, to prepare for weaving.
Working with such accessible materials is cost-effective, helping to ensure the sustainability of the project well into the future.
Ms Kelsey says she loves working with the Wake Up Time women as they have such a natural ability with weaving.
“I really enjoy their company and have plenty of laughs. It’s the whole journey of creating together that’s nurturing and supportive. Hours can slip by, as we tend to go into such a relaxed state of being. That side of the weaving is very healing and the women really get it,” she said.
The Wake Up Time Group project is a joint initiative of the local Indigenous women of Casino with The Buttery through their INTRA program.
INTRA employee Lauren Jarrett says she feels the women in the group have grown leaps and bounds with what they have been exposed to creatively.
“Weaving gives them a bond with their past as Indigenous women, their grannies weaved their dreams daily and so they carry it on today,” she said.
Weaver Margaret Torrens agrees, adding that she loves ‘to walk her country gathering plant fibre to turn into something unique, and of practical beauty’.
The Wake Up Time program has a community development, rather than clinical focus and aims to support women (including Elders) in the community by providing a safe and supported space to express their concerns through art and image-making.
The group has travelled to outlying communities such as Tabulum and Muli Muli to meet with other women to share their art, their stories and their concerns, often using their large paintings and art skills as a focal point.
They also participate in a large number of local community events, and are frequently asked to paint banners and posters for a range of activities.
The Wake Up Time weaving exhibition opens at 5.30pm, Thursday, May 27, at Rivers of Art Aboriginal Corporation (formerly 3 Rivers Aboriginal Arts Space), 125 Magellan Street, Lismore, and runs until June 23.
For more information contact Glen Dark on 0429 609 442 or Sara Twigg-Patterson on 0488 426 002.