19 January 2024

The art of weaving ancient yarns into stories for today - you can learn how

| Sally Hopman
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Woman in front of painting of a kookaburra

Artist Jodie Munday finds inspiration for her art from her country near Goulburn. She will host a weaving circle at the old Gunning Railway Station, now Connect@Gunning, this Saturday 20 January and on 27 January. Photo: Supplied.

When it came to learning for Wiradjuri woman Jodie Munday, there was no better place to be than by her mother’s side.

From when she was a child to time in her later years, her mother was the one to share stories, skills and steer her children in the right direction.

“There’s nothing better than when a mother passes down her life experiences to those she loves,” Jodie said. “And she was the sort of woman who was always doing something – mostly with her hands.

Jodie, who lives on a property near Goulburn, describes the Upper Lachlan Shire region in the NSW Southern Tablelands, as her country, a place where she feels most at home. “My mother lived on Gundungurra country for a long time, my grandparents lived there so it’s the place that will always be my home.”

One of the skills Jodie said she started learning from her mob at the youngest of ages was working with her hands – at weaving circles.

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For Jodie, keeping this age-old skill going, teaching it to younger generations, is a passion.

“I started learning this from my mother at a very young age,” she said, “just by watching her doing it with other women. Her sewing was always an important part of who she was.

“It’s a traditional thing, women getting together to do weaving. They’d sing songs in language; look after all the kids.

“It was all part of supporting each other – mums, aunties, everyone.

“Traditional knowledge and song lines would be passed down, everyone would sing and chat. It was a good time.”

What the weaving circles also did was build relationships among the women, old and young, all happening while they were working with their hands.

Jodie is keen to pass on this traditionon by inviting interested people to a First Nations Weaving Circle this Saturday, 20 January and again on Saturday 27 January at the old Gunning Railway Station – now called Connect@Gunning.

A series of weaving circles will also be held at Crookwell in March.

Connect@Gunning, a new arts and cultural hub supported by Southern Tablelands Arts (STA), opened in October last year, as a destination for not only art enthusiasts who live in rural and regional areas, but also as a new platform for local performers.

The weaving circles are being held in conjunction with an exhibition of works by Jodie and fellow artist Tracy Luff, entitled Regional Futures.

Painting of platypus

Living out of town amid nature’s best is the perfect inspiration for the work of artist Jodie Munday. Photo: Supplied.

The exhibition is a visual journey by both artists, looking at the connection to place through weaving and imagery.

“Doing something with my hands has always been part of who I am,” Jodie said.

“I’ve always been interested in textile art in particular, although when I started I was more into drawing and painting. But everything always goes full circle.”

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She started her own business, Cr8ive Art, in 2011, but later decided to put her career on hold to raise her young family.

“My family will always be my priority, but I discovered that when my art was in the background, I always wanted to get back to it. One day I had one of those ah-ha monents when I realised I needed my art for my health and wellbeing.

“I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I came back to it.”

In the past few years, Jodie has begun to focus on building her arts business back up again and has had work exhibited at Gallery on Track in Goulburn NSW and has started working with school students and staff in various roles including Aboriginal education.

More information about the Gunning exhibition and events is available on the Southern Tablelands Arts website.

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