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Delivered by artist Jill Watkins and the Womens Kind Collective, and facilitated by weavers Donna Atkins and Kaz Madigan who introduced this intuitive and creative textile art form to women impacted by recent disasters. Weave to Heal was an invitation to the Wingham community to weave a community cloth in the SAORI freestyle way.


The Saori weaving project aimed to provide the community an opportunity to engage with a creative process to express and tell stories. The Mid Coast of NSW was severely impacted by years of disasters including drought, fires, floods and COVID 19. A series of workshops were brought together and facilitated by Jill Watkins director of Circartus Inc. which runs regular circus classes in the community and is engaged in many local festivals and events. The workshop series aimed to build community connection and boost cohesion. Saori is hand weaving that emphasises and prioritises creativity and free expression. Jill described the workshops as having no rules and no fear, just pure absorption and immersion into weaving and working with yarn and threads. This ‘non-technique’ is meditative in nature and aims to build a clearer expression of your human self from the process itself and the resulting handwoven cloth.

These workshops brought together participants from the black summer fire affected communities. Women who lost everything, women who stayed to fight the fires to save their home and women who were traumatised by the “watching” and “witnessing” the impact on their community and its members. The woven works from all participants were joined together to create a community artwork.

The beauty of working in the round facilitated inclusion and sharing. During the workshops new friendships were created and new networks made and stories were shared. Each person’s weaving was unique, Which was an incredible thing to observe as each person is given the same tools, same palette of materials, and we end up with very different artworks. The 3 days created amazing works.

I’m alive today because of it [creativity]…the facilitators talked about making, no rules just explore. I felt connected in a way I haven’t done for a long long time

Processing disasters show me again and again if I surrender to my creativity it really helps – like I was sitting there and a way offered to combine words, drawing. I need to express my trauma- found a place for that… unutterable gold- my experience with the workshop

To feel supported like that is just gold- it’s just gold

Watch a video of this project:


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