I have always played with fibre. Whether it was the daisies in the front lawn, the long stringy bark of the trees or the vines from the pumpkins or beans, or the long grasses around the home dam.
I have done knitting and crochet; clothes making for my family and myself; quilting and patchwork; and many paper oriented crafts.
I reintroduced myself to weaving, after my retirement from midwifery/nursing in 2010. It was a choice made, due to the fact that it weighs light in its unmade state, and also once it is made into an object.
This was very important because we were permanently travelling in our caravan and we were VERY weight conscious.
I spent time with Aunty Helen Worsley and Aunty Claudette Elliott from Orange; Aunty Bronwyn Razem from Geelong; Aunty Kath Withers and my dear friend, Aunty Gail Manderson from Wagga Wagga.
I have loved liaising with Sonja Carmichael from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island); Felicity Chapman from Deadly Weavers in the Whitsundays Qld; and many other weavers from round Australia.
I prefer to dye my own raffia, as I then know what is on the products. For this I either use blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, onion skins, beetroot, avocado seeds, turmeric, or food colours from the supermarket.
When I first started teaching others, and using pre-dyed fibre, I noticed that it 'bled' onto your hands as you worked, and then I was worried that children might lick their hands as you worked, and then I was worried that children might lick their hands and ingest chemicals.
In 2020, we decided it was time to have a home base again. And after many months searching, we found a home in Pittsworth, Qld.
Since settling into our home, I have joined the local History Society (because of my interest in genealogy), and the local Quilters Group.
I also love to teach my Wiradjuri waybarra (weaving) to all who wish to learn. I teach weaving one day a week, for one semester a year at our grandchildren's school, and any other school who would like me to pass on knowledge.
I do workshops for children and adults, outside of the education facilities and get great enjoyment when participants show me what they have achieved at home.
Barb Walker 29 May 2023