Well known for serving chai and delicious cake from the Rainbow Chai Tent, Meggan Jack is also a Beanieologist of some renown.
Based at Tyalgum, Meggan says she loves needle-felting because you can felt onto anything. ‘For example, you can cover a stain on favourite clothing,’ says Meggan. ‘You can pick it up whenever you feel like it. It is addictive and a great form of meditation.’
A Beanieologist by chance
Meggan has been a Beanieologist since 1988 when people started asking her to make them beanies like one she wore. ‘It was made by accident when I first learnt to crochet.’
Meggan’s latest creations have made their way into the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. With 2020 being a year of mega fires, floods and pandemics. ‘Stitching the Seasons’ is this year’s theme for the 24th outing for this festival.
Last year after the 2019 festival, Meggan was immediately inspired when she learnt that one of the categories would be ‘Extreme Seasons’, and she began designing in her head, some of what she later created.
The 2020 Beaniefest cancelled
The Beaniefest had to cancel this year’s festival due to Isolation and closed borders. Instead, they found an online platform Wishpond Pages and have created an online People’s Choice Award, with beanies available for sale online, something that people, unable to get out there, ask for every year.
Meggan has been going to he Beaniefest since she started needle-felting in 2005. ‘I entered a beanie in 2003 and won the ‘Flora & Fauna’ award. Then I won the ‘Spirit of the Land’ in 2004 and other awards or Special Mentions since then. But the People’s Choice Award has always eluded me by a vote of two.’
Meggan says to actually go to this festival is fantastic. ‘It’s not to be missed – it is a riot of colour and yarn and crazy hats. There are usually 200-300 Competition Beanies in Gallery One at the Araluen Arts & Culture Centre, and around 7,000 Beanies in Beanie Central, where people walk out with armfuls of fabulous headwear.’
Vote online for People’s Choice award
This year there are 105 beanies up for grabs ranging from $30 to $500. You can Vote for your People’s Choice and you can purchase a beanie made by women out on remote communities, helping the women out there, who are even more isolated than ever.
This year Meggan’s hat ‘Floods – Seven Sisters River Red Gum’ is a beanie inspired by a living tree growing in the Todd River, knocked down by floods, yet surviving despite the odds.
It is needle-felted, (dry felting), a very addictive craft. A craft Meggan loves to share with people wanting to learn.
Meggan’s other beanie ‘Tipping Point – Extreme Seasons – MegaFires-Floods-Ocean Warming’, is a more traditional form, being crocheted, but the Extreme Seasons have inspired some wild, sculptural and colourful extensions to the average beanie.
If you have ever wanted to get to the Beaniefest, here’s a chance to have a Virtual Beaniefest and possibly buy a fantastic one of a kind Beanie.
To help Meggan with her dream of winning the People’s Choice award, you have the opportunity to vote until July 6 at the online exhibition.