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11 Nov 2014
Published To
In the wake of another recent mine closure and the loss of community members in search of work elsewhere...

Homespun was a community arts project organised by the volunteer based Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council Inc. This group has been organising arts events, supporting local artists, advocating for the arts and assisting the Shire of Ravensthorpe in providing infrastructure for arts and community events for over 20 years.

The idea behind the Homespun project was to celebrate our community’s resilience in the rise and fall of good fortune brought along by both mining and farming. It was a way of bringing people of different generations and backgrounds together, passing on the vanishing skills of crochet, spinning, felting and knitting, and sharing stories…of being what a small community is all about. It was a way of celebrating the potential in new industry such as tourism by incorporating the wildflowers and environment of our region, and it was a way of acknowledging the Australian economy- our flowers were made from up-cycled or recycled wool only or if newly purchased, from 100% Australian grown and made wool (do you know how hard that is to find?!)…and quietly subversive, our flowers were not made in China, made with care, no maintenance required...a shot at a Chinese funded mine placed into "care and maintenance".
The project grew from strength to strength with crochet circles popping up regularly for anyone to attend. Drop off points for flowers were made in local businesses and baskets of wool and crochet hooks turned up in libraries and doctors surgeries…if you had a minute to spare, you had a minute to crochet!
On Sunday 8th September the Ravensthorpe Town Hall was transformed into a den of crocheted flowers, wildflowers, wool, tea cups and scrumptious delights. The proceedings were officially opened by RRAC Chairperson Jenny Chambers and invited guest Dr Graham Jacobs MLA; who was more than impressed with the awesome display of community spirit…and proved not too bad at French knitting!
It was the culmination of months of planning and organising for the Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council; what began as a discussion in a car between friends led to a BIG idea that the community embraced with unbridled enthusiasm…Homespun was born! Ten large panels were constructed using some of the 3289 flowers made and these were installed outside of the Senior Citizen's Centre in Ravensthorpe during the 2013 Wildflower Show. The remaining flowers were scattered throughout venues across the town for visitors to take as a memento of their visit to Ravensthorpe during the Wildflower Show.

The RRAC would love to send out a HUGE thank you to all the people and businesses who contributed to this project in any way. Some of you made copious amounts of flowers or sewed on hundreds of buttons, others helped make the panels, donated wool or funds to purchase more wool, baked delectable treats or helped to set up and clean up the hall for the opening. Your collaboration on this project helped make it one of the most successful community arts events we have seen. Thank you. A total of $1850 was raised by donations from local businesses and individuals to purchase wool and crochet hooks to distribute across the community whilst the Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council, funded annually by Country Arts WA and the Shire of Ravensthorpe, funded the marketing, promotions and other expenses. Over $3000 was received in-kind through businesses providing venues free of charge, graphic designing and time spent organising and planning the crochet circles and the High Tea launch on the 8th September.

To see more photos from this terrific day, visit, http://raveaboutarts.blogspot.com.au/
The Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council would like to acknowledge the Shire of Ravensthorpe, Country Arts WA, the Department for Culture and the Arts and Lotterywest.
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