Community Houses add that Much-needed Extra Fibre!

knitted fish longbeach place

Today, I returned to Chelsea for another eight weeks of my creative writing class grandly titled: Writing Creatively Towards the Future.  Again I was reminded how lucky I am to be teaching writing in neighbourhood houses, especially Longbeach Place Chelsea.

When I walked into the centre and saw the foyer display I was reminded of Walt Disney’s description of his studio –

Around here we don’t look backwards for very long… We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

I’ve written before about Longbeach Place’s involvement in the Storybook Yarn Art Trail and the global phenomena of ‘yarn bombing’. In Chelsea, they prefer the term Urban Yarn Art, and it is happening again in 2015, but like Disney they always look forward and a new strand (or two) has been added!

yarn art trail

Longbeach Place will host a super fun Fibre Play Day,  on Saturday, October 24th.

There will be demonstrations of spinning, dyeing and weaving by some of Melbourne’s most talented natural fibre artisans, plus interactive activities for adults and children. Presenters will also be selling some of their beautiful fibres and yarns alongside displays of last year’s storybook characters.

The garden at the neighbourhood house will be “alive” with knitted Elves and Fairies. This iconic Australian book of verse and illustrations written 99 years ago. The world of elves and fairies imagined by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (also known as Ida Sherbourne) in collaboration with her sister Annie who contributed a story and selection of verses to the book.


How beautiful to see 5 Primary schools, the Girl Guides and 3 Uniting Churches participating in the 2015 Storybook Trail, giving new or another life to classic stories and even to books not necessarily well-known. We are all indebted to the Longbeach Place community for celebrating the written word and reviving crafts not so widely practised today.

Please mark your diaries now to increase healthy fibre and enjoy the Fibre Play Day on October 24th, and make sure you have explored the Storybook Yarn Art Trail before November 1st! You will be in for a delightful meander  while being introduced to characters and scenes from:

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The traditional story of Noah’s Ark from the Bible will come alive as well as Charlotte and the Ants, a classic Girl Guide Story. How wonderful the children and adults used their craft skills to reimagine these stories after reading the books.

Surrounded by all this colourful, creative craft it wasn’t difficult to spend the afternoon writing creatively with my students. Imagine the result when walking the trail, pen in hand?

Autumn Leaves
Mairi Neil

Colourful autumn leaves are fallingimg-thing
they carpet my lawn so green
the fairies have been at play again
silent and unseen.
They’ve climbed or flown into the trees
and selected a leaf for transport,
on their magic carpets, they’ve raced around
’til too exhausted to cavort.
When gentle moonlight politely gives way
to the brightness of dawning sun
the leafy vehicles are discarded…
until darkness permits more fun.

Have you visited your local community house lately? Be curious and check out the amazing activities they offer – lifelong learning at an affordable price and friendship and belonging thrown in for free!