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December 4, 2022

How to weave yarns and community this weekend

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A Jugan Dandii weaving workshop at the NRCG in 2022. PIC supplied

Beginner and advanced basket weavers have a chance to develop their skills under master tutelage this weekend in Ballina with thanks to the Northern Rivers Community Gallery.

Master weavers duo Jugan Dandii, a First Nations Bundjalung term meaning ‘embrace the earth’, is to present the fourth in a series of five workshops this year, with each weaving circle focusing on a different technique and participants able to attend one or more sessions.

The ancient art of basket-weaving can be found in many cultures around the world, including that of First Nations’ communities from the Bundjalung nation on the Northern Rivers.

Bundjalung/Nyangbal woman Tania Marlowe is to guide workshop participants on the Northern Rivers on local weaving techniques, sharing  stories and knowledge alongside fellow local weaver Debra Cole.

Tania Marlowe PIC Toby Finlayson

NRCG has featured the weaving workshops since 2019 but an interceding pandemic means the gallery has only been able to welcome students back in person this year.

The gallery has also hosted six free weaving circle workshops aimed at flood affected communities, Ms Millard says, all with a healing focus.

Weaving disaster therapy

NRCG Creative Programs Producer Ella Millard says weaving circles facilitate connection, community and story-telling and can be an effective way to relax.

Ms Millard says the paid workshops at the gallery have been well-attended this year and have played a part in reactivating the gallery’s space after two years of pandemic-related restrictions.

October’s workshop is to focus on creating what are described as ‘random weave baskets’, using vines and palm inflorescence.

Jugan Dandii describes random weave as a ‘free flowing, intuitive style that lends itself to both vessels and sculptural forms’.

Debra Cole PIC Toby Finlayson

Participants can also expect to learn tips and techniques for sustainable natural fibre foraging.

Basket-weaving is often recognised as traditional womens’ business, but Ms Millard says certain techniques such as the making of fish-traps have included men.

All genders are welcome at the Jugan Dandii workshops, which are suitable for teenagers aged fifteen and older as well as adults.

Ms Millard says the sessions are often held outside the gallery if the weather is sunny and there is a café next door for anyone needing a snack, although BYO snacks are also welcome.

Seasonal wreathes with local fibre and flora

This year’s final workshop is scheduled for 10 and 11 December and is to feature the creation of seasonal wreathes with local vines and native flora, plus a day of random weave or melon baskets suitable for hampers.

Bookings for this weekend and for December’s workshop are essential via the NRCG website, or by phoning the gallery on 6681 0530, with a maximum of twelve participants to attend both days.

All materials and tools are to be included in the workshop fee.

Workshop details are:
Date: Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October
Time: 9.30am – 12.30pm
Where: Ignite Studios, 60 Crane Street Ballina
Ages: 15+

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