I love visiting Star Weave Communities. I get to celebrate with them, marvel at their beautiful stars and take a moment to take in their incredible achievement of weaving 10,000 plus stars. I also get to hear behind the scenes antics and have belly laughs about how they worked out storage and stringing (from ironing boards to hand made contraptions that dispense ribbon at the desired length) or how long it took them to weave their first star. There are also some moving stories of people who recently moved into the area, heard about the star weaving workshops and go regularly because it helps them feel like they've found a community to belong to. Every now and then, I'll hear a message from a faith or spiritual community who love the Million Stars message of non-violence and peace. I always appreciate hearing how making these stars with intention and purpose can increase one's sense of hope and connection to others in their community and around the world.
Photo: Jennifer Boughton, Gallery Lane Cove.
What impressed me about Gallery Lane Cove and this particular installation, is that the stars are part of an exhibition called, 'where art speaks for the unspoken' (til the 4th March so get in if you can) - three exhibitions of work, one by the Lane Cove Star Weave Community of 10,000 stars, another called, 'Private Matters' by local art therapist Anne Buckingham and a photographic installation by Diane MacDonald called 'Positively Remarkable People.' The conversation between the three works is so moving because it presents three different approaches to the impact of violence in our communities. 'Private Matters' is combination of small delicate works, including tiny hand woven baskets (which I was drawn to straight away) displayed on an ironing board and cut out paper thongs made from children's story books. I thought instantly of the intimacy of these people and the everyday existence we all have, washing, eating, children, books, jobs, if we are so lucky. Violence in our homes is still very hard for people to talk about, to get help with. It can become part of life that is normal and routine. How do we help and inform from afar when so much of this violence happens behind closed doors?
Mayor Deborah Hutchens opened the exhibition and I got to say a few words, along side Anne and Diane. I wish I had more time to walk through and read the stories about the different remarkable people that Diane photographed. It always feels a bit different, and you take in a bit more than before, if you get a chance to visit on another day. Diane's photos of men and women, people who truly represent what Australia looks like today, of many cultures and shades of brown, many skills and incredible expertise and years of experience. It felt like they were in the room with us, reminding us that we each have gifts and a purpose in life and that we have to use them. For good. Doesn't matter how, just use them!
With Mayor Hutchens, Anne Buckingham and Diane MacDonald. Photo: Jennifer Boughton.
Meeting star weavers & leaders who you communicate with via email is always so rewarding. It's so nice to put a face to the person who you have been emailing over the last 12 -24 months. Meeting Carol Sinclair and the artist who designed the installation of stars, Marine Coutroutsios was a huge highlight for me. So much emotion and admiration for each other!
With One Million Stars designer for Gallery Lane Cove and local artist, Marine Courtroutsios. Photo: Mark Yettica-Paulson
With Carol Sinclair and Felicity Martin, Gallery Lane Cove. Photo: Mark Yettica-Paulson
I even got to meet some other star weavers from Star Weave Communities near by, the Pymble Star Weavers! So good! They were just as inspired and motivated as I was, which is why these installations are so special. It's a chance to say, "Look at what we can do!"
With some of the amazing Pymble Star Weave Community, Susan, Sharilyn, Jennifer, Elizabeth and Mary. Photo: Mark Yettica-Paulson.
Before I left Sydney, I got to meet 91 year old woman, Joan, in Northbridge Age Care Facility, who has woven 200 stars and is still going. Many thanks to Anita Spragg for organising this visit and for sharing the project. Not everyone has the flexibility to weave these stars, but for people like Joan, she feels she has something to do and contribute to which makes her feel alive and well.