Thursday March 26th 2015 marked a new chapter that required a little more fanfare with an “EXCLUSIVE LAUNCH”.
If you have been following my journey since April 2012 when I first learnt how to weave through a workshop at WeAve Parramatta, then you will remember the reason for learning. WeAve Parramatta is a project by The Parramatta Artists Studios an initiative of Parramatta City Council. WeAve brings together teachers and learners from all different walks of life to educate and share culture through art and craft using traditional and contemporary techniques and resources.
WeAve’s Coordinator Kiri Morcombe continues to support my journey by sharing opportunities which she gently encourages me to participate in.
Global Sisters and Pop Up Parramatta are both of her nudging.
The precious “Golden Mat” that resulted from the school art project has humbly been accepted back from Thomas Acres Public School. Interestingly it was my gift to the school and the school felt it needed to travel with me on my journey.
The “Golden Mat” appropriately hangs next to “Claudia” on the shops studio wall. “Claudia” is the lady in the tree who has my back. She was painted for me by Claudia Sannio of CZ-Art Creations. Claudia is the amazing catalyst behind this artistic journey. Mrs Sannio is also the bestest teacher at my childrens primary school. 😉
October 13 2014, I timidly opened the doors to a physical presence in the real world of Parramtta NSW. Samoan Weaving HQ nervously put her heart on the line to real people in a STUDIO SHOP FRONT with the continued support of POP UP PARRAMATTA – A project of the Parramatta City Council.
The temporary nature of a Pop Up shop does not detract me from my permanent vision of building a social enterprise that “Builds Bridges and Weaves Communities”. In fact, the temporary factor is a reminder of all things including life itself. Being grateful for the many blessings we have. Making the most of privileges afforded us. Choosing to do whatever it takes. Preparing. Planning. Playing the big games.
If it was easy, everyone would be playing.
Seizing this opportunity was a collaborative effort. Many thanks to a champion of the Pacific community – Mal Fruean (Chairman of the NSW Council of Pacific Communities). Not only for supporting my application to Pop Up Parramatta but also the active opportunity to share my love of weaving through her community centre in Minto. Just that little bit of space to keep me getting out there allowed me to make the connections and grab the opportunities that were presented. There is no way opportunities can be seized when I’m sitting at home hoping for my break to knock on my door and say “Gidday”.
To Susie Boyd (President of SESWS Alliance of P & C’s Ltd & Secretary of P & C Federation of NSW), Mandy Richards (Founder/Director of Global Sisters), Pranjali Palnitkar (Business Incubator Manager Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections) and Kiri Morcombe (Coordinator WeAve Parramatta). Thank you all for your support, encouragement and belief. Your belief made the difference for a Mother of 5 who didn’t need to have everything figured out except for that next step.
November 2014 was an emotional full circle moment. A milestone realised in my journey. Officially on the teaching end for WeAve Parramatta. Facilitating my first workshop for WeAve Parramatta in my studio shop, I was blessed with observing the skilled weaving hands of Angela Paikea. Angela joined the team and gave life to Paikea-Luis Designs. With the support of our phenomenal young Christina Ghali from UNSW, Angela’s business thrives from the ground up. Much like the flax she uses to weave stunning creations.
Conversations with the talented lyricist MC TREY aka Thelma resulted in the addition of a gifted young Fijian Fashion Designer Bayvick Lawrance of Bayvick Designs. Bayvicks beautiful’Birds of Paradise’ Collection was a hit and just in time for Valentines Day this year.
With out any realisation of what was accidentally created yet fully intended, we began discussions for how the collaboration will work.
A Samoan, Maori and Fijian building individual businesses from within one space. Growing, learning and developing at our own paces. Supporting each other with discovery, knowledge, creative feedback and a unique structure modelled on the corner stone of our Pacific culture. FAMILY.
This collective activates a powerful conversation for youth, mothers, parents, women, families, art, community and the possibility of Pacific proportions.
Apart from our different Pacific heritages we also have our own separate stories, responsibilities and lives that we make work inside of our committment to our art.
A unique collaboration and the foundations of the Pacific Artists Collective. A platform that bridges culture, art, knowledge and enterprise for Pacific artists and designers. As the founding members we saw it necessary to create an exclusive launch for this new chapter for all of us.
Thank you to Uncle Greg for performing the Welcome to Country. As visitors to this great land we acknowledge that this is, was and always will be traditional Aboriginal land.
A huge thank you to Merryn Spencer and Pop Up Parramatta who supported our launch by providing the great food and beverages.
MC TREY for doing what she does best and rocking the mic as our MC for the evening. Thanks for keeping it together and also for being the community connector that you are. Your work with the Pacific community is highly valuable.
Thank you to all our family, friends and supporters who shared the night with us and those absent who have supported each of us to this point in time.
My final thanks to Angela and Bayvick for making this collaboration work for me and my little family. It is the youngest member of my little family Miss 6 that left me hanging by a cliff or so it felt looking up at her precariously perched above. A million thoughts rushed through my mind as I gazed above and then below at all the faces of love & support that I was literally humbled speechless. I think most of you that know me, know that I use lots and lots of words.
To my husband, my children, my sisters and my cousins that put in the hard yards (including the crazy up all hours of the morning stuff) with me. I love you so much.
This is me. This is my life. Family, Art, Business, Culture and Community. It was a night of Pacific Proportions……and…………………………It all works perfectly.