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Craft workshop spreads enviro message



Elloise for Manga Focus-534Sewing hands and creative inspiration helped make wonderful sea creatures in Mary Kelleher’s sewing workshops held at the Stitch-in-time Studio last school holidays.

Dolphins, sharks, turtles, whales, seahorses and tuna were made in combinations of fabric and wallpaper.

The creations revisited a Sustainable Coastlines crafting workshop Mary held last year in Auckland where she combined story-telling sewing with the Sustainable Coastlines message about pollution and plastic littering our oceans.

Workshop sewers made their sea creature ‘pillows’ using recycled materials and waste plastics taken from beach clean-ups.

This got Mary thinking about a recent call-out to the Mangawhai community to reduce the use of single use plastics – shopping bags, coffee cups and drink bottles.

A phone call later, Kate Mathieson – who is behind the Plastic Free Mangawhai movement – and Mary sat in the winter sun brain-storming how their individual passions could be combined and carry the message further about how plastic is poisoning our oceans, fish and ourselves.

“The growing success of the reusable t-shirt bags is a great example of how hands-on creative projects can really connect people to this cause,” says Kate.

“There is opportunity to use this model in other areas of concern. For instance, the appearance of nurdles on our beaches.”

Kate explains nurdles are microscopic plastic pellets or microbeads that end up in the sea, consumed by marine life thinking it is food but in the end poisons them, and consequently us.

“You can see these little pellets around the high tide line where they are left behind by the waves on Mangawhai Heads beach.”

“What we’ve decided to do is work together on a blending of the beach clean-up concept and Sea Creature Sewing Workshop,” says Mary. “So, watch this space!”

In the meantime, making a sea creature is one of the design options available in Mary’s Sew Smart programme which aims to reignite interest in handcrafting technologies, the art of making something using what you have on hand – a tribute to the waste-not, want-not philosophy of previous generations.

n Read more about the complete Sew Smart programme online at handmadehistories.com/sewsmart.

HANDS-ON: Sewing workshopper Elloise, very proud of her dolphin she named Lilly.

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