I decided to get out of my house for 24-hours and I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day with friends I grew up with. It was a wonderful change from typing away at the computer and chasing my chickens out of my garden beds in Bellbowrie. We spent last night celebrating the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. Today, I was taken to Sunnybank Hills by my friend Margaret and her two daughters, Nina and Paula, and we enjoyed a very nice Vietnamese lunch and then, ice-cream.
Thinking about last night’s discussions about life and where we were heading in the future, many of my friends and I will be turning half a Century, so 2015 is an important year for each of us. We all agreed, we must all strive to make 2015 a better year and a year to complete projects.
I wanted to share contents of an email I received from my friend Dr Kevin Murray when I returned from my 24-hour outing. Dr Kevin Murray is an independent writer and curator, Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Kevin’s email summed up last night’s discussions about projects, and about the desire to have a better year. I liked the message about using the old to make new in Kevin’s story about his textile workshop visit.
Kevin wrote: according to the Chinese, 2015 is the year of the wood sheep. It’s an auspicious sign associated with harmony and peace. Accordingly, there are very few major sporting or political contests planned for this year.
Last year, three Australian designers, an Indian artisan and Kevin visited Batik Redaka, a textile workshop in Pekalongan. Their guide was the master batik artisan, Zahir Widadi. Batik Redaka was established by a Gujarati trader and reflects the fertile mix of Javanese, Dutch, Indian, Arab and Chinese cultures that co-exist on the north coast of central Java.
As well as traditional batik processes, the workshop has developed some wonderful new weaves, such as the textile produced by this newspaper loom (pictured above). From this newspaper fabric, they have designed a variety of products such as vests, hats and shirts.
This gleaning of technology is a particularly inventive source of modern craft. Zulu basket-makers make vibrant bowls from telephone wire. They are so successful that, even though it has been made redundant by optic fibre, telephone wire is still produced in South Africa as a craft product. Read more on the Sangam Project.
As my friend Kevin had wished me, I wish you the same. May the peaceful year of 2015 provide you with many opportunities to ‘make new again’ the rich resources at hand. I will be making new, some of my old projects and completing them this year. On the subject of peace and harmony, I wish and pray for Peace for West Papua.