Guest Speaker

Cecily Grey: Burwood Historical Society

The November guest speaker was Cecily Grey.

Cecily Grey is a member of the Burwood Historical Society and came to talk about the early history of Burwood. Before coming to our meeting she and her mother did some research on the history of spinning and weaving and told us that an archaeological site containing relics of a Turko-Mongolian population had revealed remnants of tartan fabrics almost identical to the ones woven in Scotland. The 4000 year old fabric was used to wrap a mummy.

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Barbara Schey: UNESCO Natural Dyeing Symposium

The March guest speaker was Barbara Schey.

You would think that after all the tours that Barbara has led to south-east Asia and South America that there wouldn’t be much left for her to learn about the pitfalls. Travelling in India taught her several. And, I think, she learned something about herself and her ability to get what she had organised.

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Lisa Waller: Alice Springs Beanie Festival

The October guest speaker was Lisa Waller from Alice Springs Beanie Festival.

This was the 10th year of the Alice Springs Beanie Festival. An old university friend of Lisa’s is the artistic director and invited her to help run it. Lisa ran workshops and helped to write a book.

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Jane Goodes: Wrap with Love

The September guest speaker was Jane Goodes from Wrap with Love.

Jane is a volunteer working for Wrap with Love. This organisation was started in late 1992 by Sonia Gidley-King OAM who was recuperating from breast cancer surgery and saw a TV program about people in Africa who had no blankets. She started knitting squares and joining them in to rugs. Over the years it has grown to 25,000 volunteers all over Australia making rugs which are then distributed through a network of aid agencies to 75 countries including Australia. Every year the ABC breakfast show hosts a knit-in with all the NSW regional stations taking part.

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Joseph Harb: Bookbinder and Artist

The August guest speaker was Joseph Harb, MDes(Hon), bookbinder and artist.

Following the meeting, Joseph Harb, gave an interesting talk about his training as a bookbinder, developing his artist books and the pleasure of teaching bookbinding. Joseph utilises traditional bookbinding techniques to produce his intricate and often confronting artist books. Members were able to see some examples of his books — small books (some the size of chocolates) and also a selection of interesting artworks. The covers of Joseph’s books were made out of fine leather, beautifully made and well presented.
Joseph has worked with the book arts for many years, and teaches at COFA and The National Art School.

Barbara Schey: Textile Tours

The July guest speaker was Barbara Schey.

Barbara spoke about her textile tours and how she started. She lived in Tamworth and taught spinning and weaving at TAFEs in the area. During that time she organised tours to Sydney to buy supplies and tours from Sydney to see the cotton harvest, calling in on spinners and weavers along the way. When she moved back to Sydney from Tamworth she decided to travel and went to China in 1989. She enjoyed the tour but was disappointed not to go to a silk factory or other textile factories.

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Jim Masselos: Indian Textiles

The June guest speaker was Jim Masselos, retired Honorary Reader in History at the University of Sydney.

As an historian Jim spent a lot of time in India doing research in libraries and was looking for an activity which would take him outdoors and be a means of meeting local people. This was the beginning of a beautiful and varied collection of Indian textiles. We only saw part of his collection but by the end of the talk there were three tables covered in bags, scarves, shawls, bedspreads, saris and pieces of fabric.

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James Brown: New Guinea Craft

The March guest speaker was James Brown from New Guinea Craft.

James went to PNG for the Catholic church for two years to help rebuild after the ’98 tsunami. The area that he was sent to is on the border with Indonesian Papua and is very remote. What little electricity there is, is from 30 year-old generators and the roads are very rough. The people who live there are entirely self-sufficient. They know how to survive off the bush and know how to make things from scratch.

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Veronica Calianco: Ashfield Council’s Artist in residence

The February guest speaker was Veronica Calianco, Ashfield Council’s Artist in residence.

Thank you for having me. How did I get from the Kimberleys to Ashfield?
I completed a fine arts degree in the 1990s. I began work as a graphic designer. Presently I am travelling and working in the Kimberleys. I have travelled to Japan, France, China and Turkey. I met Natalie in Turkey when she came to my exhibition.

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Bev Cooper of Belisa Cashmere

The January guest speaker was Bev Cooper of Belisa Cashmere. She was introduced as a passionate fibre person who has made a great contribution to the Australian Cashmere industry.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen. It is great to see some guys. I have been in business for 12 years. It all began when I purchased goats in 1984 to clear paddocks instead of slashing them. The goats steadily increased in number at Kellyville. At this time I was working for a large corporation and saw the fibre going overseas for processing. I got some cashmere from the USA and spun it. It was a disaster as I had spun it too loosely. I decided to learn how to process it properly.

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