After our early morning walk on Saturday, and our delicious breakfast, Vikki Parsley arrived to teach us about weaving with natural materials. We had a surprise, she brought her teacher, Deirdre Martin from further up the coast, and Deirdre had her young granddaughter with her too. What a bonus! Vikki and Deirdre explained all the artefacts, baskets and resins to us, and told us tales of reed collecting before we began. We were using tall spike rush, which had been collected and dried a month previously. Now it was dampened and wrapped in a cloth to help it remain flexible as we worked.
When Vikki and Deirdre stopped their car in our driveway they were overjoyed to see the dams, and all the reeds around them … “What a lot of baskets you have there Christine!” Fortunately we had two teachers and cheerful Kaylee to help us, so we were soon bringing our coils together and working on our second and third rows. I was astonished to see how different each basket was, Some tight and tidy, others loose and free, each one reflecting somehow the hands of its maker.
A happy contented buzz came and went around the group, it soon felt like something we had done many times before, women gathered together weaving. Morning tea was virtually ignored as we were all reluctant to let go of our creations, but some people managed fruit in one hand while holding their trailing reed basket in the other. Eventually we had to stop for lunch, but everyone returned to their work over and over again during the rest of the day.
During the afternoon we managed to prise them away from the reeds to visit Budjarns Track where Vikki had been responsible for gathering the stories from the elders and doing most of the graphic design on the signs. Vikki explained all the bush tucker as we walked along, and pointed out medicinal plants to, with details of how to use them. We were tired by then, Kellys Lake was a beautiful place to sit and rest, or cool our feet in the water.
I am sorry I don’t have photos of finished works to show you, except mine which was very hurried and ordinary compared with the baskets others made. Earlier in the day I had brought a found stick and seaweed piece back from the beach. Deirdre saw it and instantly began twisting a string from reeds with which to hang it. We all learnt how to twist the string, so easy and satisfying, like the whole day really!