Our lives weave this way and that way just like the making of a ‘sister basket’

Our lives are woven in this direction and that direction ……. it’s a journey we weave

I look at my ‘sister basket’  and pause to reflect back to a weaving workshop that I did over many weeks at Gallery Kaeila in Shepparton. It was one of the highlights of my year and how it happened at quite pivotal time in my year so I blog now in reflection on this last day of 2014. 

When I saw a little advert about a weaving workshop it grabbed my attention immediately. I had wanted to be able to do something with the Aboriginal gallery for ages and not all things were open to non-Aboriginals but this was. This was weaving with natural materials to make a Sister Basket – a reconciliation project with women and all of that was something I loved and was really important to me.
At that point in my life I was working most days of the week, rarely with a full whole day off and some days working up to 18 hours. When I saw the advert for the workshop I thought wow, ok, yes I can do a few hours one day a week. I looked closer. Hmmmm…… it was for much more than that. It was from 9.30-3.30pm. I remember gulping and thinking how on earth could I do that but I was determined to change the pace of my life so I rang the number of the gallery and booked in. This was back at the beginning of May and went for many weeks.

I will go back a fraction.

I wish to share some quite personal with you as you often do with me in telling your stories for others to hear….In brief this is what happened ….

Early this year my life became unbalanced trying to make ends meet and had lost a healthy rhythm. One day I woke up so exhausted and quite unhealthy and knew I couldn’t do it the same anymore. I reached out to some friends that particular morning and actively started to make changes immediately. I wanted a more balanced healthier life and began to walk that path.
Soon after this my partner ended our relationship. It was clear that this unbalanced life had taken it’s toll on our relationship too even though I did my best at the time. Looking back at the six years if I had known it would lead to the breakup I would’ve got help to change my work/life balance sooner but it is easier said in hindsight and financially before that point I could see no other way.
I fell down lower after the relationship break up but was determined to get through it, work through all that I needed to to move forward in my life.
I had endured harder things in my life at other times so I tapped into the tools I already had and learnt new ones too to move forward. I sought extra help in counselling and sand play therapy. I looked for the light in the darkness, did labyrinth work and actively spent time out in mother nature again, enjoyed meditative drumming, weaving, yoga, massages, more time out with my children (including a holiday away in Bali – which I will blog about very soon) and more time with friends. I also took a nature writing course which I’d wanted to do for years – this was a great way to release and reconnect with nature at an even deeper. Nature is one of the greatest healers I know of. I also had every test I could to make sure I was ok as I hadn’t been to the doctor in six years (and yes all was ok except the doctors thought I may have had asthma but further tests showed I didn’t). It was thought that I had adrenal exhaustion. I rested a lot and slept much longer hours.
Generally over the past six months I breathed out. It was at times a really hard journey but at other times really joyous ………..

The Autumn leaves dropped slowly one by one, the Winter left me bare but Spring brought new life and Summer warms me even more

Today as I enter 2015 I have renewed strength, continue to practice balance, listen to my own heartbeat and mother earth’s heartbeat contented and grateful to walk the path that I do today. Thank you to all those people that have shared my life in 2014 and to those that join me in my life in 2015. 


We all have journeys with twists and turns just like weaving, like the weaving of a sister basket we get there in the end sometimes with a little help from others, sharing along the way and sometimes we take parts of our journey alone. To walk alone and together I feel is both as equally important. 


There are many pieces of our lives

I began to weave the strands together.

This was my weaving at the end of the first day and I sat on this couch in the gallery and traced the patterns of the material just
as I did of grandmother’s lounge when I was very little. It was exactly the same as this lounge.

Some days we brought food to share

We all have our own unique ways

We all have our own journeys

We helped one another and we shared stories.
We laughed together, we even sang together and sometimes we shared deeply. We learnt from one another.
Some of the Aboriginal women spoke openly and rawly of stories of the stolen generation and what had happened with their parents and relatives.
Some women spoke of how their relatives were not allowed to practice traditional ways.
Some spoke of reteaching skills to older and younger generations so they can once again do this and for the next generations to learn how and how important that this culture is not lost.
It was sad to hear these stories from the Aboriginal women but I was glad they felt comfortable enough to share first hand with the non-Aboriginal women in the group. My friend Annie and I talked about how much we valued these conversations.

As I looked closely at my work I could see the journey I’d taken. I could see hard times when I wove through tears, I could see the times when I wove through happiness.  Debbie told me that no matter what just keep weaving. She told me it will be very healing. She told me when I couldn’t sleep late at night to get my weaving out. She told me that it helped her a great deal. And she was right, it did help.

The rhythm of weaving is a gentle pace

We were all very proud of our Sister Baskets. We each made a side and gifted it to another sister to make a whole basket.

Two very special ladies - Aunty Cynthia and Debbie.
Debbie Flower (on the right) was our teacher and was my ‘sister’.
Thank you so very much Debbie and Aunty Cynthia for all you taught me and your warmth, support and love.
I look forward to weaving with you out in the bush sometime.


Many times people would come in and out of the gallery whilst the workshop was on and they would talk about where referring to the map on the wall that showed the regions and Aboriginal countries. (I now have one of these framed ready to be hung on our wall at home)
And there were men painting and creating in the gallery space too and sometimes Eric would play the didgeridoo. It was wonderful to share the space with the men and all they shared with us too.

I do hope I get to do another workshop at the gallery sometime. It is a wonderful relaxed place of sharing of culture and learning unlike I have experienced in any other place before. I have a huge respect for Aboriginal people and feel I/we have so much to learn from them. I value that opportunity greatly and I know others do too.

Here is a a short story that Will Kendrew of ABC Open did on the sister basket workshop which was aired on radio

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *