As Harriet explained the boxes of weaving materials, whips of prunus prunings, rings of ivy, sheaths of Bangalow Palm, and decorations including emu feathers, silver discs of honesty, and sculptural seed pods, any previous ideas of basket weaving were thrown out the window.
From Harriet’s one set of verbal instructions, 11 women created totally different interpretations of randomly woven baskets, working quietly and enjoying the companionship of other makers.
We could hardly bring ourselves to stop for lunch, but Toni Swain’s Picket Fence Produce menu of dukkah flatbreads with canellini bean dip, dukkah and harissa, chickpea and cous cous salad, honey spiced eggplant, and chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives smelled delicious. The setting in the Nundle Public School garden shed, next to the vegetable garden, was delightful.
We returned to work, the physical and thoughtful task of weaving completed, and the frivilous thrill of decoration ahead. I added parts of my collection from our garden; a 1921 penny, dried sunflower heads, yellow and grey cineraria, and Nundle Woollen Mill mustard coloured yarn. All too soon Harriet announced we would have our group show in five minutes. We stood back and admired all the works, hardly believing we would take home a random weaving creation of our own.