SUMMER 23/24

WEAVING ART IN NATURE
‘Just a word of warning: this is highly addictive. Once you start weaving, you won't want to stop,’ warns Lee Cavender while handing out tangly Bangalow Palm inflorescence to get us hooked at a workshop at Bells at Killcare. 

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Lee’s 30-year experience as a florist, including teaching at the renowned Pearsons School of Floristry, and passion for creating beautiful things out of nature, is inspiring even the least creative among us to try.

Lee started weaving at eight years of age when a relative gave her a raffia basket-making kit. Decades later, her raffia creations are on show in the form of two oversized yet understated light shades in Bells’ Wild Flower Bar & Dining.

It’s the pendant’s mix of drama and lightness that we hope to emulate today, albeit on a much smaller scale. We’re shown three options, recommended for varying experience levels: a wall hanging, woven basket, or sculptural piece.

Most materials come from Lee’s garden, including the Bangalow Palm’s long flowery branches, more correctly known as its inflorescence. Native to the Central Coast, the palm is pruned when fresh then dried for about three months. The evening before workshops, Lee soaks the inflorescence to make them moist and pliable for weaving.

Lee shows us the basic technique. It’s called ‘random weaving’. There are no rules – ‘just go with the flow’ Lee urges, because success depends on sufficient tension to hold the piece together rather than uniform patterns. Reflecting the materials we’re working with, it’s an organic process.

At the workshop ends, each creation looks entirely unique. Lee’s satisfaction comes from seeing participants’ creativity. ‘It blows me away. I give them the material, I give them the technique and then they show me their ideas.’

Choose from a range of events throughout 2024, from basket weaving to art classes, yoga retreats and food events. See the ‘What’s On’ page at bellsatkillcare.com.au.

WORDS TARA WELLS

PHOTOS BELLS AT KILLCARE

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