A purposeful passion weaving fibrous functionality
BENITA Martin discovered fibrecrafts nine years ago, crocheting a blanket before her first baby was born.
Now a mother of four children, the youngest three, her passion is making useful pieces with practicality.
The hands behind Winter Lane Weaving, Martin mostly works with yarn. Her specialties are macramé and loom weaving, wall-hangings, plant-hangers and baskets, but she’s recently collaborated with children’s brand Arabella + Autumn to produce teething rings.
“Since I got more interested in weaving, I started using more natural fibres. I use lots of wool. I’ve repurposed yarn I found at the Smythesdale op shop, which was a treasure trove,” she said.
“Because I only need small amounts, especially for weaving on the loom, I can just use scraps or whatever I have to reduce waste.”
Macramé is a knot craft, and the pieces Martin develops with this technique all utilise sustainably, ethically farmed cotton.
“They’re all natural. I make all my plant hangers and macramé in straight cotton.”
Each basket tends to be much more unique in its use of tactile media. Sometimes Martin picks up inspiration, and materials, from her home’s bush landscape near Nintingbool.
“My baskets I’ve made with lots of different things. We’re lucky to live where we do, and I’ve foraged things to find out what works and what doesn’t,” she said.
“It’s fun to do, sit outside while the kids are playing and make something. It makes me feel like a magician.
“It’s like a puzzle, from a pile of stuff to something that suddenly takes shape and sticks together.”
Recently taking her basket experimentation in a new direction, she’s made use of plastic strapping usually wrapped around boxes.
“It was really good to make baskets with, so since I’ve done it, I put a photo on Instagram, told people what I’d done, and encouraged them to save it because it comes for free on packages.
“People are responding with bags of plastic. My sister in law works at a pharmacy and found a giant bag. It’s free material,” Martin said.
“That will be amazing, to have a real waste product turn into something functional. That makes me feel excited and gives me more purpose to do it.”
Busy with her children, she learns new ways of weaving and knotting on YouTube when she can, and loves the no-stress nature of gradually building a macramé piece.
“It’s easy to pick it up and put it down. My macramé rack lives in the loungeroom where the kids play. It doesn’t unravel, you can make it as you go.”
Winter Lane Weaving has previously set up at markets, Martin has run plant-hanger and wall-hanging workshops, and has started to teach her children fibrecrafts.
Looking ahead to 2021, her youngest son will be at kindergarten, so she’ll have five extra hours to weave.
“I’m excited, anything could happen. What am I going to do?” she laughed.
“I’ll churn out a million things. It’s nice having something that is mine, and who wants to sit in front of the TV when you could make something?”