Last week, I made a short trip to Melbourne to attend a few events that were organised by Star Weave Communities. As you can imagine, there are LOTS of invitations to visit star weaving communities across Australia, to speak about the project and to share in their joy and togetherness that has come through this simple act of star weaving. I always wish I could attend every event. I love everything about this project, but visiting communities to star weave with them or to celebrate their installation of 10,000 plus stars is so rewarding for me and them. It is always highly emotional as people share personal stories of how these stars have impacted them and there is always lots of laughter. I am becoming increasingly grateful for these celebrations because they remind me why this project is so special and the power these stars have to connect with people around the world.
It is always special to be in Melbourne, not just because it's been home for most of my life in Australia, but because this is where the One Million Stars project began and where hundreds of Victorians have embraced this project as their own and given it life in their communities.
Feeling at home. Plaza Library and the Wyndham Star weavers reached over 10,000 stars!
Last Tuesday I visited Wyndham Star Weavers at Plaza Library, Pacific Werribee Shopping Centre, where locals have gathered regularly to weave stars. They wove over 10,000 stars and I was invited to their Star Weaving Finale. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the shopping centre venue, I got a bit lost and disorientated trying to find the library (I accidentally found a sushi bar and devoured some sashimi which helped my navigational focus : ). I eventually found the library (thanks to brilliant directions by Julia Malloni from Wyndham Council) and once I saw stars at the entrance I knew I was 'home.'
It was a beautiful morning meeting people who, through the star weaving workshops, have been able to feel like they are part of a community. They feel included and welcomed. I met a man named Wally who has woven paper stars with a three dimensional twist! They are so beautiful and fancy. Couldn't help but smile so big for him because he was so proud showing me.
The star displays are becoming a symbol of welcome and safety for people which is so beautiful. I know it means so much to communities of star weavers for me to visit and spend some time with them, I just hope I can explain enough to them how much I get out of it, how I feel so blessed, inspired and energised to meet them. I love that I get an opportunity to see and listen to how they have taken ownership of the stars for their communities, how they have used the stars to show care for their people. I even got a gift of sunflower seeds from Julia Malloni from Wyndham Star Weavers to plant in our garden, my own bit of sunshine.
Room at Plaza Library where star weavers gather to get their star weave on.
With Wally and his beautiful paper stars.
On Wednesday morning, I was invited to Knox Park Primary School where they had a special school assembly and the younger grades got to dress in their star creations! I got to say a few words to them, and Mark Hanson, the principal and Kirsty, a teacher and star weaving champion spoke to the children about how the stars remind them to be light in the world to shine bright and be kind to each other at school and home. Many schools like Knox Park Primary, use the fun and meaning of the stars to start conversations now about how to choose kindness and courage and seek help if they feel hurt or unsafe.
Their displays of stars across the school property was so beautiful and the children feel so proud of their achievements. I heard stories of children who find it hard to focus in class are finding focus when they weave stars. It's just extraordinary! I even spotted beautiful polymer clay star stud earrings on Kirsty and when I wanted to take a pic of them to share on social media, she was hesitant. They were gifting me a pair during the assembly so they wanted to wait for my reaction! This amazing Star Weave Community has woven over 10,000 stars!
At Knox Park Primary School with Kirsty (left to right), Melissa and Super Star Weaving mums, Brooke and Karen.
Knox Park Primary School office foyer.
With Tracy (left to right), Jo and Robyn.
I then headed to Caffe Stazione at Eastland to meet with another Star Weave Community. More laughter and great stories. My favourite was conversations about how to get a bus so that they could travel up to Brisbane to help with the installation and see it for themselves. One volunteer mentioned that I should contact Oprah or Ellen and tell them about the One Million Stars project. The ideas and possibilities that others can imagine is fantastic. All it takes is a seed or a spark and hopefully others can run with it. It can't be the work of one person, and this project champions that philosophy. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Tracy, Robyn, Jo and Sarah who are all in a brilliant video that Maroondah City Council put together about the impact the stars are having in their community. Take a look here:
Brilliant video of volunteers and Wyreena Council participating in the One Million Stars project.
My last stop before flying home was Victorian Aboriginal Housing in Fitzroy. Jo Thitchener who heads that community, volunteered with the stringing of the stars at the Royal Exhibition Building in 2013 for The Big Design Market. Jo believes it's important to have the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in this conversation. We had a wonderful weave jam with beautiful fruit (the water melon was cut into star shapes. We had star biscuits the day before in Wyndham) and I got a tour of their office space where stars form the shapes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags. Staff from the local library and Australian Volunteers International (AVI) joined us for this star weave jam. As you can imagine, I left Melbourne feeling lots of love and support for the project and renewed sense of why these conversations about ending violence are so critical. Every day.
Torres Strait Island flag in stars.
With Jo Thitchener (left of me) and some of the deadly star weavers at Aboriginal Housing Victoria.