Our March ‘Taste of RCLC’ focus is on Community Art and Crafts which meets every Friday at the Burnley Backyard between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. This is a friendly and relaxed group where participants enjoy a morning cuppa, swap ideas and stories, work on current projects and help one another. You can BYO craft project, or start a new one there.
Our volunteer facilitator, Merril Pierrot, loves to show people how to incorporate materials which might otherwise go to waste, into such items as cushion covers, wall hangings or quilts, to name but a few.
Merril has lived in Richmond for around forty years and describes herself as a textile artist who is mostly self-taught but has also benefitted from attending short-courses and workshops. She has been involved in a local, community craft group for over fifteen years in various formats and sees her role as an encourager to participants.
One of the most valuable aspects of the group according to Merril is that, ‘people can work at their own pace, according to their abilities and preferences’, but she is always happy to step in if they need assistance. Merril will sometimes start someone off with an idea for a project and suggest the type of materials they might like to use and then they can take it from there. She particularly likes recycling such objects as stickers, shells and fabric scraps that are often donated to the group.
Merril derives a great deal of satisfaction from watching people develop their skills and confidence as they work on their chosen projects. As well as working with textiles, Merril also enjoys quilting, and both watercolour and mixed-medium painting.
Prue, a regular participant of the group, is a long-time resident of Richmond who also attends bingo on Mondays in the same space at the Burnley Backyard. She ensures a smooth start to the art and crafts sessions by opening up the space every Friday morning and arranging the tables. As Prue is unable to use her sewing machine at home due to renovations, she is pleased to be able to bring it in to the group and use it there. Over her time in the group, Prue has worked on a variety of different projects (including successfully shortening a pair of jeans) and is currently making toiletry bags out of fabric for gifts for family. Prue finds Community Art and Crafts provides the perfect opportunity ‘to get out of the house and have some company and people to talk to.’
Another regular is Jemima, who began attending this group last year. She has lived in Richmond for over fifty years and was encouraged to join by a neighbour. She describes her attendance as having had a ‘huge positive impact on her life as everyone has been so welcoming and friendly’. She loves coming and having a chat and a laugh and says she can’t thank Merril enough for her support and encouragement. Jemima loves to crochet and has made blankets for the Children’s Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and other charitable organisations. Also a self-described bingo fanatic, when not busy at Community Arts and Crafts, Jemima attends bingo venues around Melbourne.
If you, or someone you know, are interested in joining Merril and friends at RCLC’s Community Art and Crafts group, you can do so at any time. It is open to all, including beginners and is very affordable, starting at just $3. For more information call 9428 9901.