Basket-weaving proves a popular and sustainable hobby

Sylvia Ray’s handwork shows some of the amazingly creative things an advanced basket-weaver can produce.

SUSTAINABILITY and simplicity marked the Pearls of Port Stephens’ foray into basket-weaving, held during a special social initiative at Pindimar-Bundabah Community Hall on Saturday, 4 November.

While a rainstorm blustered, the Pearls group joined other ladies under the tutelage of Newcastle’s Sylvia Ray, a keen advocate for sustainability who owns a property along the Barrington River.

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“I like doing anything creative using sustainable things, and basket-weaving lets us come back to basics, avoiding products hazardous to the environment,” Ms Ray told NOTA.

“And if you don’t like it, you can just toss it into the garden, where it will naturally biodegrade.”

Ms Ray, who also has a Fine Arts degree from Newcastle University, is very interested in looking after the environment, as her land has koalas, platypus and goannas calling it home.

The ancient art of basket-weaving’s utility has not diminished, nor the possibilities for beautifully crafted forms, such as Ms Ray’s array of previously-woven works on display.

Utilising native lomandra rushes, other native flora, and some introduced slash-pine later on, the beginning was the hardest part, as the initial coils trapped some fingers, breaching the metaphorical intent of ‘applying oneself to the work’.

There were exclamations of ecstasy as some ladies realised their first ‘stitch’, followed by cries of pure glee as the fruit of their efforts materialised before them.

Many became their own worst critics, however, if one strand broke off, they could just continue with another and have some fun, the motto “it doesn’t matter” graduating into the catch-cry of the day.

Plenty of metaphors for life were pondered, such as Ms Ray’s own observation that “singularly, the strands are weak, but when woven together, they are stronger, much like a community of people”.

“It’s the best fun,” remarked Lesley Lane, who originally made the connection with Ms Ray via Council’s ‘Land for Wildlife’ program.

“It’s a great way to make use of our improved Community Hall,” said President of the Pindimar Bundabah Community Association, Vivien Panhuber.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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