This project acted as a second phase to our ‘An Artist exchange – Skills Development Project’ (see below), which took place in Yilan, May 2013. It allowed the original participants to get a refresher on the weaving technique of twinning with bush vine, whilst also allowing other community members to attend and learn first hand from Lilly & Freda; the Maningrida artists/ teachers.
The workshop took place over three days:
The morning of the first day consisted of collecting the raw materials that we were to practice with. On the decking of the art centre we stripped and dried the pandanus and started the base of the dilly bag. Four women accompanied us from the Wadeye (Pt. Keats) Women’s Centre, whom we had extended the invite to after they expressed interest in the technique, as the practice had been forgotten there also. In the afternoon the school brought down 10 children who all had a turn at practicing with the pandanus. In the late afternoon, once the heat had set in, we watched our Fi Nginita documentary made by Natureel from our first project with Lilly in 2013.
Day two, we filled up three cars and drove to a spot on the Moyle River called Ningi Ningi (Jungle jungle), collect pinbin (bush vine) and sat by the river learning the weave with bush vine- it turns out to be less confusing using bush vine than pandanus. Again, in the afternoon the school drove a troopy of kids out and together we made our first communal fishnet & dilly bag; the first syaw (fishnet) and airbell (dilly bag) to be made in the Peppimenarti area in 70 years.
Day three, we moved upstream on the Moyle River to ‘Cement Block’ and everyone started their own fishnet from scratch, including the school kids who, once again, came in the afternoon. We were also fortunate enough to have Lilly & Freda show us some other of their techniques of dying using different sources of natural colour, and fibre to make string.
In the late afternoon everyone took Freda & Lilly to the waterfall to go fishing.
Throughout the project Cassie de Colling of Natureel films worked with the artists doing interviews and recording detailed footage of the weaving technique for the purpose of producing a ‘How To’ film.
We were also accompanied by Dr. Harriet Fesq (who’s PHD research initiated our first project after unearthing an old photo of an airbell basket in the Daly River region in the 1940’s), who we are currently working with to publish a book on the history of Peppimenarti weaving, and its relationship to the artist’s paintings.
This project was funded by Arts NT – Creative Communities, Australia Council & ANKAAA