Monday, 22 April 2013

Weaving the reeds

On Sunday I joined a sustainable art  workshop sponsored by the Riverina Highlands Landcare Network and Tumut Council and utilised the skills and contacts of the Kosciuszko National Parks staff and local arty women. It was a great opportunity to learn a new skill or two, meet some locals and spend a day sitting in the dirt making things.

There were three sessions covering different art /craft practices but the one that a most enjoyed was the Aboriginal Weaving session led by the Indigenous Cultural Tour leader and expert weaver from Tumut National Parks office.

We used needle reed gathered from the local area. It had been dried and soaked  and kept wet to make it pliable. The reeds came in a range of different widths and colours.

We had examples of weaving to admire.

Example of a wrap and stitch method weaving
After a short intro on how to work our own basket we got down to starting off with making a circle.

Starting off with blanket stitch
We learnt a blanket stitch method and a wrap and stitch method and were gently encouraged all the way through our bungles and mistakes. As we sat outside under a tree working our little beginner's baskets and compared our workings with each other we could all imagine Wiradjuri women sitting by a creek lined with the needle reed chatting and doing much the same. The hours passed quickly.

Gradually our circles got bigger and bigger,

Loren's beautiful example of the blanket stitch method
Nikki's stunning first go at wrap and stitch Aboriginal Basket weaving with the blanket stitch method in the middle
My own attempt was quite mutant in the beginning,

but things got more regular as I went on and changed to the wrap and stitch method,

I love the colours of the reeds.

Eventually I finished the little sampler basket off.

I am quite pleased with my first attempt, imperfect as it is and can't wait to use the remaining reeds to make a bigger basket from scratch now that I have made this little sampler as a practice basket.

The sessions were held in the grounds of the beautiful Gilmore Hall.

All micro orb corrugated iron and wood - a stunning little piece of  simple rural architecture.

Thank you tutors and organisers for a fabulous day. Thank you all the women who took part - what a pleasant, quiet day of fiddling and chatting.


  1. They look so beautiful - what a treat to learn local indigenous skills. I always wanted to learn how to make those Maori flax baskets. I've learned to do a bit with willow and hazel. It's very satisfying isn't it?

  2. I love Gilmore Hall - nicely rural looking. Your basket looks fab - what a fab skill to acquire.

    1. There are these little gems of rural architecture up many back roads, tucked away that only locals know of. There is a coffee table book in it.

  3. Great looking weaving! Well done. What a lovely way to spend a day.

  4. Love to see your photos, the basket weaving looks beautiful. Love the colours of the reeds too.

    1. it is amazing that the same plant can produce such different coloured reeds.

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you Bec, I cant wait to make another - need to soak my reeds.

  6. They look amazing! Wonderful work.

    1. Thank you Kirsty, love your work each week!

  7. Good job! Are you hoping to make a couple of harvest gathering baskets for all your produce?

    1. That would require a large amount of reeds and spare time... but a great idea!



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