Ngarrindjeri Basket Weaving Retreat 1

Recently I went to Camp Coorong for a weekend of learning Ngarrindjeri  basket weaving techniques with some of the Ngarrindjeri aunties who are keeping this tradition vigorous and sharing it among their own communities and further afield.  On the first morning of the retreat, many of us went for an early morning walk in Bonney Reserve, a beautiful scrubland adjoining the Coorong.

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We walked through several different plant communities, including some marshy areas where sundews were thriving.  These insectivorous plants never cease to fascinate and delight me. Look at those jewel-like beads of nectar, no doubt calling out to passing insects like a siren hailing a passing sailor…

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These sundews had managed to grow right beside a plausible food source (that hole looks like an ant nest to me!)

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The tiny flowers of the scrub were everywhere.  Birds were calling across the treetops and in the undergrowth.

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These are correas.

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I believe this is a flame heath.  In full flower at midwinter, when the rain is falling.

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Some of the eucalypts were in bud but this one was already flowering.

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Someone is pupating in here, I suspect!

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Then, we went back to Camp Coorong for a day of further inspiration and instruction.  This is a part view of the table of special treasures people brought with them to speak about with other weavers.

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26 Comments

Filed under Basketry

26 responses to “Ngarrindjeri Basket Weaving Retreat 1

  1. What an honour to learn and listen to the Aunties. Very very special.

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  2. Dani

    This is wonderful. Do you know if they run this basket weaving regularly (even once or twice a year)? I would love to attend and continue my weaving journey. Thanks

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    • It has not been run regularly, but they are planning to do it again. Camp Coorong do also offer weaving classes at other times (it’s different to a retreat, but I don’t know what might suit you). More at this www page. It is wonderful!!!

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      • Dani

        That’s great they are planning to do it again. Do you know if there is any way we can stay informed, or register our interest for the next one? Thanks

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      • Hi Dani, the Ngarrindjeri Lands and Progress Association have an email address on the Camp Coorong www site and I would suggest that you email and inquire. I hope you get into the next retreat!

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      • Hi Dani, there is a day workshop planned in Adelaide on 7 August, mowheel2ATgmailDOTcom is the contact. m

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  3. I really wanted to do that retreat but unfortunately had something else on I had to go to. Sounds wonderful.

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  4. Looks fantastic. I think the case is probably baby praying mantisses! Always welcome in my garden as they eat so many other less welcome insects. Looking forward to further installments.

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  5. Chrissyguzzi

    What a privilege to learn in that environment. I think the top ‘correa’ is an astroloma humifusum, native cranberry, indigenous food source of nectar.

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  6. How wonderful! Hope we will see some of the fruit of your learning experience? I can think of plant dyed plant fibers becoming beautiful things. When I saw that first image of the sundews in small, I thought it was flower prints on rock…then I looked at it large and it makes a fabulous “print” image.

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    • Thank you so much… by now you will have seen my curious basket 🙂 thanks for your kind words about the photograph. My sedges are set out drying ready for future experiments…

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  7. forgot to add: Mantids are considered a “mixed blessing” in the garden here because they are voracious eaters of not only the “bad” but also the “good” insects. They have even been known to eat hummingbirds! I’ve found ootheca (what a great word!), as well as adult and juvenile mantids in the garden.

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    • They eat hummingbirds? That has enlarged m,y send of hummingbirds as well as mantids, I think! I have not seen one in my garden for some time. I am glad they are thriving in yours!

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  8. A wonderful experience 😊

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  9. Susan

    You are indeed lucky to be able to receive knowledge from the Aunties, not all peoples are willing to share with ‘outsiders’. And that Mantis page, WOW.

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    • Aren’t those mantis amazing? Yes, I think I’m extremely lucky. I am not surprised at peoples who keep their knowledge to themselves, and I think it is clear that Ngarrindjeri do not share all that they know. The risks of putting treasured knowledge out into the public sphere are only too well known to Ngarrindjeri, who suffered an especially public and protracted dispute with developers (and from there also with government and media and in a Royal Commission and in court…) not so long ago. And of course, this is not the only such dispute for them. I think most peoples have domains of knowledge that are not for public dispersal (even though the domains and the reasons and the protocols are very different). I am ever amazed at the generosity of people who have had so much taken away from them.

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  10. Looks beautiful – I’m looking forward to Part 2….

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