A connection to country

May 5, 2021 BY

Her pieces include baskets, eel traps and ceremonial possum skin cloaks.

First Nations culture to shine at festival.

Aboriginal Australians make up the world’s oldest continuous culture, their practices have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.

The Wadawurrung people, the traditional owners of the Ballarat region, have many stories to tell through their crafts.

Traditional skills, such as weaving, will tell some of these Indigenous stories at the Craft Lab + Design Expo.

The Expo will have a spotlight on First Nations creatives, in particular, Indigenous crafts specific to the Ballarat region.

Watch the intricate task of weaving eel traps and join in a rare chance to help craft a ceremonial possum skin cloak for our community.

Wadawurrung woman Tammy Gilson practices crafts handed down for hundreds of generations.

One of the local Indigenous makers who will be at the Expo is award-winning basket weaver Tammy Gilson.

A proud Wadawurrung ba-gurrk (woman), Tammy lives and works on Wadawurrung Country. Her woven objects and cultural adornments have garnered her awards for her passion and craft.

Tammy’s pieces are predominantly made from plant materials sourced from Wadawurrung Country such as flax, sedge and grass tree.

“My weaving practice is an awakening of missed generational knowledge that translates into my creations,” Tammy said.

“It is very healing to weave and feels like I was chosen by the ancestors to do so.”

Tammy explained how her creativity was influenced by the people in her life, including her creative family, as well as her surroundings.

“I am inspired by country I walk, the trees, the birds, the animals and the plants,” she said.

Tammy’s hope is for her work to continue her rich heritage and the Indigenous cultural practice that was created by those who created before her.

“I feel so blessed to be able to showcase and demonstrate my culture through the pieces I create,” she said.

“I am happy to have an honest yarn and share my knowledge on cultural practices.

“We all know our culture is the oldest living culture in the world and I think to be respectful, Indigenous heritage should be acknowledged and celebrated through the festival.

“It also will give you a sense of belonging knowing your on Wadawurrung country, my ancestor’s country.”


Check out the Craft Lab and Design Expo

Ballarat Mining Exchange, 12-16 Lydiard Street North

Cost – FREE

15 and 16 May, 10am – 5pm

22 and 23 May, 10am – 5pm

Bookings essential at creativeballarat.com.au/art-of-making. Three ticketed sessions per day, 10am-12pm, 1-3pm, 3-5pm.

For more information on the Ballarat Heritage Festival visit ballaratheritagefestival.com.au.



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