Dearest Brown Owl Family.
It is with sadness that I finally write my letter of retirement today as the Brunswick Brown Owl convenor after almost 5 years. It was when my son was 9 months old (Feb 2011) and he started having naps out of my arms and I was looking for a crafty outlet in the wider community. I stumbled across the Brown Owl concept online, I think I’d had Pip’s book Meet Me at Mike’s, and Frankie Spaces Vol.1 by this time and was so excited that craft and making was finally becoming popular. I’d been such a lonely crafty-making-nerd for so long that it was a delightful surprise that it was now kinda cool. Thanks Frankie magazine for making me feel a little less lonely in the crafty world and uniting us vintage-collectin', Nanna-stylin’, upcyclin' lassies.
Pip suggested that perhaps I could just start a Brunswick group. So I did. I insisted on making things even in our tiny one bedroom unit in Brunswick, and I hand-made many things for my son's first birthday. It was a joy to share ideas and get tips from fellow crafty types and even learn how to crochet a granny square! I’m not really a knitter or a crocheter, as I prefer sewing and making in many other ways, but I was always blown away by the talent of so many women (yeah, it was mostly women except for the ridiculously talented Ralph who joined us occasionally). Women who found a pattern and taught themselves, or you-tubed a video or asked someone else how to do it and they were suddenly selling their crocheted bloomers on etsy or having a market at Rose Street. Even when I was exhausted (probably pregnant, and with a one year old at this point) and I didn't quite feel like going, I was always rejuvenated by the energy and cameradierie of our Brown Owls.
It was the sharing and the true sense of community that I adored and wanted to continue with the Brown Owls. We started at the Retreat Hotel for a couple of sessions, then we went to the Sporting Club where we were happy in the Ladies Lounge for a few years. By this time I had moved to Kyneton and started back at work teaching part-time. It wasn’t as easy to get to Brunswick with two small children from the Macedon Ranges, but I usually found a way. We then moved to the Victoria Hotel in Brunswick, and are now at the Grandview Hotel in Brunswick. I’m proud that no one ever had to RSVP and no one ever had to pay.
With part-time work, part-time study, full-time parenting, and being located in the Macedon Ranges, it’s been harder than I hoped to continue convening the Brunswick Brown Owls. But help came in the vision of Susie Bate, an original member from the very beginning at the Retreat who will now be taking care of business with the rest of the team. I leave with the pride of over 200 Facebook group members and plenty of discussion and sharing over there and the friendship that began with the Brunswick Brown Owls. There is a dinner to begin the year on January 20 7pm this evening at Los Hermanos Mexican Tacqeria in Brunswick.
I must thank all the amazing people who have been so supportive of the work we have achieved from the beginning, including Debra, Kathryn and Kimmy who have been utterly supportive and helpful and lovely. And Kris and Sophie who were there at the Retreat too and always taught me things, and Allanagh who had such fun equipment and laughs! And every other creative who said no to the shyness and popped in anyway. We’ve been through births, deaths and marriages and all the good and bad life stuff in between. I’m grateful.
We did good.
We donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation with the Craft Cubed event Lucky Dip Swap Shop.
Donations were made to the ASRC
Donations were made to Softies for Mirabel.
We made books for Sophie’s wedding.
We made bunting for Kris’s departure.
We made brooches with Hanakin.
We made cushions with Casey.
And we made yo-yos with her too.
We made paper pom poms with Zoe.
We made crochet with Sue whilst being filmed for Channel 31.
We learnt embroidery with Sue too.
Kathryn organised terrarium making
We did shibori at Kathryn’s too.
We made a sinamay lily with Kimmy.
We made pompoms for Pip.
We made felt balls with Allanagh (IN A BABY BATH IN THE PUB!)
And pumpkin carving with Allanagh too.
And we made felt finger puppets too.
Bec taught us how to embroider.
We made plarn and paper beads with Kate.
We upcycled cards and envelopes with Sophie.
We knitted and crocheted washcloths.
We made rag rugs with Jo.
We made numerous festive things for Christmas and Easter.
And we made t-shirt yarn necklaces.
You can find photos of these activities over at the old blog page http://brownowls-members.blogspot.com.au
The new one is http://thebrownowls.com
I can now be found online at http://smockpockets.com
Instagram as smockpockets
Facebook as smockpockets
and the Kyneton Brown Owls Facebook group too.
I do hope to make it in to the pub with you real soon and catch up with all you diamonds, as I will miss your faces every fortnight. EVERY FORTNIGHT! Good work team and good luck.
Signing off with a French knot,