Crafty types take handmade to a creative new level

By Ashlee Betteridge

If you curse the small size of your apartment or pokey terrace, spare a thought for someone trying to pin together a queen size quilt. Luckily for local quilters, they don’t have to move further west to find more floorspace. The Leichhardt Quilt and Craft Group meets at the Leichhardt Bowling Club every week, where there is ample space to spread out a quilt with lots of good conversation on the side. Sue Murty said that the group was very social and a way to share craft skills. The group is open to anyone, beginners to advanced, and was not just about quilting, Sue said. “It’s not a question of what we do, but what we don’t do. We have quilting, embroidery, card making, doll making, knitting, crochet, bag making, anything really,” she said. The group has been running for more than eight years and has around 14 regulars, as well as people who drop in every now and then. “Everybody helps everybody else out. It’s not a structured group,” Sue said. “I have learnt so much by seeing the different ways people have of doing things. It also gives you new ideas. We dare each other and egg each other on a bit.” Jai Leighton-Scott is one group member who has taken on a challenge from her fellow crafters. After completing a doll, Jai was encouraged to make a toy bear for the doll, then a toy doll for the bear, then a toy rabbit for the smaller doll. Each piece was progressively smaller and smaller, with everything handmade, from tiny shoes to knitted doll stockings. Another member has made more than 130 quilts to donate to children in hospital.

Clockwise from top: Jai Leighton-Scott was encouraged by craft group members to create small toys; A beaded bag by Alison Guy; Sandra Nixon at work on her Japanese-inspired squares; The Leichhardt Quilt and Craft Group stitching up a storm. The group meets on Wednesdays from 11am and new members are always welcome. For more information about joining, contact Sue on 9569 3705.

Unleash your creativity Time to spill the beans on your secret goodies
Be guided through a series of fun and stimulating art classes held at Balmain on Wednesday evenings. Suitable for beginners Drawing by Anna Jaaniste. or experienced students, the classes are designed to encourage experimentation, personal expression and pure enjoyment. Led by Anna Jaaniste, an artist and teacher, the sessions focus on the process rather than ‘the finished product’. On Wednesdays from 7-9pm at St John’s Anglican Church Hall, Birchgrove, $30. For more details or to book, call Anna on 0431 977 358. Privately-held historical items hold vital clues to who we are, and how we came to be. But often those items remain just that, private. However, a project being undertaken by the Heritage Group of Leichhardt is attempting to record those items in a database that will begin to build a broader picture of the social fabric and rich heritage of the municipality. The group is hoping to hear from people in the area who hold letters, photos, documents, memorabilia and other material related to the people, history and heritage of the Leichhardt Municipality. Items will not be removed from the owner, only recorded, group president Sue Tronser said. The information will go into a database at the Local Studies at Leichhardt Library and eventually, be put on the group’s website, where they can be used for research purposes. “We have received loads of things already, including a photograph of the man who had the first car in the municipality,” Sue said. “Someone who was digging up their house found two water wells from the old days before reticulation, plus several coins and medallions from the first Duke of Edinburgh visit. “We’ve also received loads of old postcards found behind fireplaces, discovered when people were renovating.” For details on how to contribute, visit www.hgold. or contact Sue Tronser on 9519 3268 or email The Heritage Group of Leichhardt District meets on the second Monday of each month at 5pm in the Local Studies Room, Leichhardt Library.
Village Voice Balmain June 31