Last Thursday we met at Wes Barrett Park, The Village, Oonoonba, for a lovely meet and greet and star weaving workshop with Townsville star weavers, organised by a Star Weave Community leader, Rachel Cook (The Village Star Weavers and Youth Weaving Crew). I always describe these workshops as fun, because they really are. Just look at our faces! It was a warm Townsville day (should’ve packed some insect repellent being in a park) but the the setting was stunning, under some big gum trees with a clear sky and mountains in the background.
Four Star Weave Communities were represented, who are currently weaving over 24,000 stars:
Gwen Laffin, Empowering Mummas
Virginia Hurst, The Women’s Centre
Rachel Cook, The Village Star Weavers, Youth Weaving Crew
and Dinie Graemers, Marion Graemers mother.
Laughing star weavers. Photo: Rachel Cook
We ate yummy cupcakes by a local resident, who deals in real estate during the day and makes cupcakes at night. They were almost too beautiful to eat, but we could not let them melt so eat we did!
I met a lovely young man, named “Jay” who comes to the Youth Network where Rachel Cook works. Rachel tells me how he was really shy and quiet for the first while, hardly got a word out of him. At last week’s weave jam, Jay wove about 5 stars and was helping to organise the space for us to have a comfortable workshop. He talked about the concert he was going to and how he would make time to come and help Rachel run another star weaving workshop. This is one of many stories, where star weaving is helping people to open up and get involved in small but meaningful and impactful ways. I can understand that these stories of impact can be hard to explain as “practical outcomes” but there are so many people, across Queensland, across Australia and the world, who attest to the safe space that star weaving creates, that many keep coming back because they feel positive, supported and cared for in these spaces. Many make new friendships and feel happy, which helps many who suffer from anxiety, loneliness, depression or are needing to stay positive after a violent experience.
Another young woman, “Miriam,” has been inspired to weave stars everyday as her personal response to end violence and addiction. She has an incredible story of breaking away from a violent relationship and finding healing and strength in herself again. The day of the workshop in Townsville, marked a year since her departure.
Star Weave Community leaders, Gwen Laffin, Empowering Mummas (left) Virginia Hurst, Rachel Cook, The Village Star Weavers, Youth Weaving Crew and Virginia Hurst, The Women’s Centre. Photo: Rachel Cook.
Virginia’s Star Weave Community Group at the Women’s Centre is over 8,000 stars, Marion has reached 10,000 stars and Rachel and Gwen’s group are pushing towards 5,000 stars but they both believe that the number is not important. They are huge advocates for reaching and engaging people using the arts, especially youth and young mothers. They experience firsthand how the colour of ribbon, the activity of making something not too difficult but so rewarding on completion, and the chatter that happens when children and young people are focussed on making. Interesting also to hear that children in school with ADHD picked star weaving up really quickly and were soon teaching others. Children with attention difficulties in class, found focus and purpose and were feeling confident because they could make what often seems like a difficult craft to do.
More and more, people across the country, the commonwealth and across the world are experiencing what I know to be true, that one on one interaction and time sitting with others to make is important for our wellbeing. There are so many ways to reach out to others, without speaking or even speaking the same language. People are finding ways to find happiness and peace and community, which is the best way to prevent and end violence. We are part of something long term and we are seeing incredible results now. That makes this project more than just a project. We are part of a powerful movement that stands for peace and love and not just an end to violence.