One million stars workshops begin

Jessica Fayle and Paula Olsen are leading the effort to hand-make 10,000 stars by July 2017.
Jessica Fayle and Paula Olsen are leading the effort to hand-make 10,000 stars by July 2017.

Artists-in-the-making gathered at the Tumut Library to begin the project of hand weaving ten thousand stars on Friday.

The stars will contribute to an installation of one million stars contributed by communities across Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The project, initiated by expert weaver Maryann Talia Pau, was inspired by the 2012 murder of Jill Meagher in Melbourne. It aims to create a message of light, solidarity, and courage in the face of violence.

Jessica Fayle, Case Manager at Tumut Regional Family Services, said the creative project was a good way to get people thinking and talking about issues like domestic violence.

“I think because it’s light hearted and it’s fun, it’s an easy way for people to get involved, and it’s an open pathway to have more serious discussions around the subject,” she said.

“That’s why there’s been a big interest in it. Community engagement can be difficult, so for there to be a fun and easy way for people to get involved is really good.

“The idea is to rustle up a bit more education so that people are more aware of it.”

Community Midwife Paula Olsen, who is involved in the Tumut project, said that Ms Pau was inspired to start weaving stars when she saw the following Martin Luther King quote at a vigil for Jill Meagher: In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Mrs Olsen said the Commonwealth Games installation was born out of that initial spontaneous reaction to a horrific event.

“Out of her grief and shock and horror at what had happened, she had that thought, ‘what can I do?’ So out of that she started weaving stars and had this idea of making an art piece,” she said.

“She made that art piece that was displayed and decided to go bigger, so that became the One Million Stars idea for the Commonwealth Games.”

Tumut Regional Family Services will be holding another star-making workshop at the library at 10am on Friday November 11. Anyone interested in getting involved or looking for further information should contact Paula Olsen at [email protected] or Jessica Fayle at [email protected]