Workshop Series | Basket Making presented by the Gulibal Living Culture Group
Basket Making is a humble craft that has been employed through the millennia to produce objects that feature in all aspects of everyday life, making it both a functional and beautiful expression of art.
In this series of five workshops being held at the Lismore Rainforest Botanic Garden participants will learn about the natural fibres growing in our region and how they can be prepared and used to create objects using a combination of basket making techniques.
The Guli-bal Living Culture Group (Ben Radic, Lauren Jarrett and Janet Wilson) came together with the support and encouragement of Aunty Patsy Nagas and the Gugin Gudduba Local Aboriginal Land Council and the National Australian Museum.
The National Australian Museum collection contains a number of baskets made by Bundjalung women that were collected by Mary Bundock in the 1870s from Back Road Station Wiangaree NSW and acquired by the British Museum in 1928. The Guli-bal Living Culture Group has been inspired by the words of Mary Bundock, who could see the impact white settlement was taking on traditional Aboriginal life, ‘I fear another generation will see few, if any, left’.
The Guli-bal basket makers are using Bundock’s diary and collection to renew skills and knowledge and to find ways of interpreting that information in a modern context to provide a continuum for basket makers of the future. The group has discussed and distributed the diaries and images of the collection widely across Bundjalung country and provided introductory sessions to Aboriginal people who have memories and skills handed down to them from their ancestors.
The workshop series has been designed so that participants can choose to do
Workshop One: KNOTTLESS NETTING | July 25
This workshop will explore the types of fibres and their preparation for making a knotless netting bag with our without a core
Workshop Two: KNOTTED NETTING | August 15
This workshop will expand on the areas covered in Workshop One exploring in more depth the types of stitching variations and core techniques used in basket making.
Workshop Three: FOLDING, SEALING AND BINDING | September 5
In this workshop people will be introduced to using the fibre from Bangalow Palms and the techniques used to create a water carrier or basket from this fibre.
Workshop Four: TWINING USING A HARD FRAME OR SOFT FRAME | September 26
Learn how to make a frame for weaving on and introduce other materials such as tree bark and roots.
Workshop Five: EXPLORING NEW FIBRES USING TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES | October 17
This workshop will explore the incorporation of recycled materials with natural fibres using the basketry techniques learnt in the previous workshops
GuliBal Living Culture Group
Ben Radic | Ben has used her research skills to develop her practice of making traditional string bags using the single loop with a core and the figure of eight methods. Ben has researched and developed knowledge in the gathering of Hibiscus hetrophylis as well as the coastal hibiscus and she now grows this fibre, gathers, strips and stores the fibres ready for use. Her skill in research of the natural world has enabled Ben to bring back to life, a local traditional skill in basketmaking. Ben is a fine embroiderer; she knits, crochets and sews in very creative ways. She is also a painter. Her work has been acquired by the Australian National Museum.
Lauren Jarrett | has developed a basket making practice, which is based on a modern interpretation of the traditional skills and knowledge gleaned from her own life and the diaries of Mary Bundock. Lauren is from the stolen generation and the experience is demonstrated in her search for lost identity through basket making. She combines introduced skills with her work such as crochet and knots as well as commercial dyes and contemporary colour. Lauren’s work has been acquired by the Australian National Museum.
Janet Wilson | Janet has been using plant fibres to explore basket making for many years. She was an inaugural member of the Basket Makers of Victoria where she worked under the tutelage of Jean Stone. She came to basket making through opportunities to explore indigenous basket making in North America and has undertaken workshops with the Maori in New Zealand. She attended an Aboriginal basket making workshop at the Museum of Victoria and began to explore the fibres and techniques used by Aboriginal people in Australia.
Aunty Patsy Nagas and the staff of the National Museum of Australia asked her to be part of the Encounters project and to support local women in exploring the collection of Mary Bundock. Along the way, she has had the opportunity to also glean an insight into her own family which was a first white settler family of the Northern Rivers.
Her work has been exhibited in Victoria, NSW and is in private collections in America and Australia.
The group acknowledges the work of Judy, a basket maker from Papua New Guinea who continues to work in traditional basket making. She has been instrumental in helping to unravel the early technologies used to extract fibre from plant material.