We opened our “Many Threads” Exhibition on International Women’s Day and what a great day it was. It was good to see so many wonderful women dressed in purple and other rainbow colours. Our guests were served a high tea by some of our “white maids!” Some of the maids joked about being exploited. It was all done in fun and wonderful to be able to laugh at this reversal of roles.
Grace Bond was MC for the event. Some of the speakers included; Jackie Huggins, Sandra Morgan, Ada Simpson, Kerri Tim, Tricia Button, Robyn Hofmeyr and the Mayor Ken Bone. A 15-minute film was screened about the “Many Threads” Group and the history of domestic workers in Cherbourg. Aunty Bessie Bond opened the Exhibition of the tea towels.
The project began with the formation of a sewing group. Grace Bond suggested we start a sewing and craft group which she volunteered to run. Grace and others started working with a small group of women who had sewing skills or wanted to learn more about those skills. The ICC came on board as funders and sewing machines were donated by the Barambah Medical Centre.
After a few weeks of running the sewing group, we decided to plan an intensive 3-day workshop. We advertised the workshop in the community and invited community people to participate. The key criterion was that people had to commit to 3 days of yarning and story telling. Kate Raffin a Non-Violent Communication practitioner was chosen as a facilitator along with Grace Bond.
During the workshop, we were more invested in the process. We wanted to bring old and young women together in an intimate space where they could talk freely and share their stories. Stories of loss, of joy of despair, of hope of triumph. The tea towels became a vehicle for women to explore a narrative about Domestic workers in Cherbourg. The story was work shopped together and we drew information from research and personal accounts. The outcome is sensational – what a “deadly” exhibition!
The Ration Shed Museum is always looking for new and innovative ways to tell our stories and share our history and what a great way to share our history about Domestic workers – on tea towels.
This project was funded by the Indigenous Women’s Program, which is an Indigenous Co-ordination Centre (ICC) project. The Barambah Medical Centre provided sewing machines and support. The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport and Rural Arts Australia assisted us with art materials and the payment of local artists. IRADF – the Indigenous Regional Development fund – assisted with funds for exhibition display units. The Maleny Women’s group provided us with donations of fabric, teacups and crockery. The Office for Women, Seniors, Carers & Volunteering | Community Engagement & Participation | Community Services provided us with some funds for the launch.
Contact the Ration Shed Museum on 41695753 to view this exhibition or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to you visiting us.