We received a letter from the recipient of the 2007 Freda Neale Grant, Kelly Leonard. She wrote:
Please accept my thanks in accepting the Grant. It is great to be supported in the opportunity given to me to participate in an artist’s weaving residency in rural Laos for two months. I would also like to add that it is increasingly important to develop ways to enhance the status of the weaver and promote the value of crafts and the handmade object.
Grants such as the Freda Neale are important not only in providing some financial support to the successful applicant, but also in providing professional validation of weaving as a means to develop networks both locally and internationally.
The grant wil enable me to exchange skills with a community of weavers in Laos providing a cross-cultural dialogue. In the future, I hope this might lead to the development of the economic sustainability of weavers to continue making work and the promotion of Laotian textiles. I believe this residency could encourage a sharing of ideas and approaches to marketing weaving between makers, buyers and galleries.
Information and ideas stemming from the project will be shared with the Guild through an exhibition and artists talk.
I would welcome any comments or advice about the project from members of the Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild NSW. More information about Laos Sericulture may be viewed at www.laosilkandcraft.com