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Learning Wonderful Ways with Waste Wool and Fabric

Children flocked to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery during one of the wetter days of this week’s School Holidays to learn how to refashion fabrics and make craft from waste wool.

Maree Bakker and Annie Beecroft from Sustainability Programs of the Environment Division, teamed with the Museum’s Amanda Van Steenis, to run two workshops as part of the Museum’s School Holiday September program.

"We were keen to inspire both the children and their parents to wrap, weave or knit wool and fabric scraps to create their own wearable artwork," Annie said. "The idea was to show how you can have fun learning new skills and creating unique decorative items without having to use new materials."

Most participants jumped straight in, keen to create a bangle crafted from a piece of waste packaging tape wrapped with fabric scraps and embellished with beads, buttons and decorative threads.

Mum Helen said it was wonderful to see her daughters Elise aged ten and Lara aged five decide on the design of their bracelets and work together to make them look ‘just right’.

Another favourite activity was French knitting, using wool and spools made from cardboard tubes and paddle pop sticks. The tubular cord created by this technique was then used to fashion decorative flowers for use as brooches, hairpins or embellishments for the bracelets.

Nine-year-old Bailey, who went to the morning workshop with his Nan Ann, was fascinated by her childhood tales of French knitting and how wooden cotton reel and tacks were the tools of trade then.

"That was a time before television and I would sit with my brothers in the evening listening to the wireless and do some French knitting to make a hat or a table mat," Ann said.

Other popular wrapping activities included making multi - coloured pom - poms, brightly coloured God’s eyes and crafting cute bumble bees with wool wrapped around a casuarina nut.

The day’s activities were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

"It is rewarding to participate in such programs where feedback from the children and parents alike is so positive ", Annie said. "I am also always amazed and inspired by the creativity of children and how you can show them a technique and it is interpreted in so many different ways. I also really enjoy seeing children and their parents spending time learning and playing together."