PWF is pleased to pass on info about an Arnhem Weavers Tour: Two Way Developmental Tour 13-19 July 2009.
Workshops are offered to people interested in the Yolgnu culture of North East Arnhem Land. The focus is textiles and English is not the first language.
Visitors learn how to collect bark, pandanus, roots, and fruits and how to prepare the fibres for dyeing before weaving or spinning, and in so doing engage with the local people and learn about Yolngu culture.
The focus is on weaving but there are opportunities to take part in hunting expeditions, including collecting mud crabs, a variety of shellfish, fish and other game that Mapuru residents regularly hunt. Men are welcome to attend.
The weavers who host the workshops have been doing this 6 years with support from their friend John Greatorex, Coordinator of Yolngu Studies at Charles Darwin University. They are experts at using seasonally available materials for their weaving.
The workshops create meaningful employment as well as financial independence for the weavers and their families both now and in the future. The venture allows them to maintain the integrity of their culture without having to leave their country where they are able to make their own decisions about their lives.
Two sisters who have lived in remote North East Arnhem Land all their lives have developed the workshops and every day they spin then weave articles they need for themselves, their relatives, for ceremonies, and for sale. These ladies have remarkable skills and have travelled Australia teaching at galleries and museums.