When I was on holiday earlier this year I had what I can only describe as a ‘calling’. I have always been ambitious, often looking and dreaming up projects I felt the need to see realised. This was different somehow, it wasn’t about just me and my practice. It was about moving outside of my own creative space and placing myself in a group to support and nourish the creativity of others. How did it happen? It was like the idea popped into my head and began to grow, sinking roots in my thoughts in a way I knew this idea was here to stay. I became consumed by it, and felt such an urge – that I knew I had to do it.
I think part of the reason why I felt so compelled to do something to help humanitarian refugees was that I felt a little lost as to what I could do. I knew it was important to begin to educate myself on the FACTS – because there are a lot of misled statements that have been put forward as the truth.
Refugees are forced to leave their country because they are at risk of, or have experienced, persecution. There is grave concern for the human rights and safety of these individuals – not to be mistaken for economic advantage. They leave behind their homes & more often than not all of their belongings – family members & friends. Some are forced to flee with no warning and many have experienced significant trauma or been tortured or otherwise ill-treated. The journey to safety is fraught with hazard and many refugees risk their lives in search of protection. They cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves.
I mage from the ‘Road To Refuge’ : an interactive site where you can take a journey through the eyes of another & make decisions which have consequences – (like choose your own adventure books) Click on image above to be directed there
I named The project : MAKE SPACE created for individuals who have recently arrived in Coffs harbour in the Mid North Coast of NSW from afar. Leaving their homes behind to take refuge in Australia. I like the name because it references the space as a place where making happens, but also addresses the concept of sharing what we have, to make space for those in need.
The MAKE SPACE ‘Poster Girl’ Bag
It was kind of like a Zap when I realised the way I should be assisting these individuals in the settlement process is to show them what i love, what I am passionate about, what I have devoted myself to ~ working with leather to make items that are beautiful, functional and express my own stories.
When I was in Melbourne I visited The Social Studio Smith Street, Collingwood. This amazing place is a fashion hub, shop, a cafe and an extension of RMIT Tafe all rolled into one. The Social Studio has been running for over Five years and has proven this model is meaningful and relevant to individuals who have experienced being a refugee as well engaging the broader community.
I called Youth Directions as a partnership because of their expertise and interest in facilitating local projects that make a difference to people’s lives.
We decided to run a nine week workshop to learn how to work with leather, use the tools and machinery with a strong focus on creativity in a safe and relaxed learning environment.
After meeting with Steve Miller at the North Coast TAFE who manages the ‘English as a Second Language’ service as well as settlement services it became clear we should integrate this space to support English language skills through sharing, speaking, writing and action packed making! What does this mean? We will be joined by an English as a second language teacher and students can bank hours spent in MAKE SPACE as part of the 500 hours of the ESL course.
Having the idea, the passion and the drive is only a portion of the necessary ingredients required to get a project like this off the ground. After submitting several grant applications for funding we got word we were successful from The Coffs Harbour city Council as part of the 2014 Small grants program. This funding will go towards materials, space hire as well as tools we will need to work with leather.
Why We Need Your Help:
After reading through many grant applications I realised we couldn’t raise the funds for machinery this way as this is not an eligible component to the budget. Thank goodness for Pozible! Pozible is an Australian Crowd funding campaign that allows creative projects to exchange “rewards” for “pledges”
Our Page: www.pozible.com/makespace
The truly wonderful reason why Pozible is so great is people are not asked to make ‘Donations’ as such – instead when you visit the site you can choose a ‘reward’ for your ‘pledge’ to MAKE SPACE:
What Can you do?
Have a read below about some of the ‘rewards’ you can exchange for ‘pledges’ made to our crowd funding campaign to purchase machinery for MAKE SPACE.
A big huge Thank you to these amazing individuals and groups who have agreed to donate their products to our MAKE SPACE pozible Campaign.
CLICK HERE TO ‘PLEDGE’
Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper:
Who Gives A Crap Limited Edition Packaging
Flush Poverty Down the Loo
At present, 40% of the world’s population don’t have access to a toilet. Diarrhoea related illnesses fill over half sub-Saharan African hospital beds and kill over 2,000 children under 5 every day. We think that’s pretty crap. That’s why who gives a crap gives 50% of their profits to WaterAid to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
Make Every Wipe Count
WGAC believe that the need to wipe shouldn’t mean we wipe out the planet. That’s why they only use 100% post consumer waste recycled fibres in our toilet paper. It saves on trees, water and landfill which means you’re doing your bit while doing your bit to help keep our planet great.
Only test on bottoms
No use of any chlorine, inks, dyes or weird perfumes in our toilet paper. They just pulp the clean fibres at super high temperatures to make WGAC biodegradable, safe in septic tanks and as strong as it is silky soft. And since it’s only tested on the finest human bottoms, our toilet paper is as good for your bum as it is for the planet.
Miss Chu ~ Queen Of The Rice Paper Roll
Vietnamese Tuck Shops Sydney and Melbourne
MissChu Rice Paper Rolls
Nga Chu, known to everyone as Nahji or MissChu and to those who get in her way, as ‘The Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’ is the founder and creative director of MissChu.
Born in Luang Prahbang, Laos, in 1970, Nahji and her family escaped the Pathet Laos Regime in 1975. They sustained themselves on the meagre living conditions afforded by the various Thai refugee camps they inhabited over a four year period before the Chu family’s number came up and the Australian government made them one of the first Vietnamese/Laotian refugees to settle in Australia.
A talented filmmaker, she produced a charcoal animation telling her story (click here to view this animation) and that of many other Vietnamese refugees. These skills are still part of the brand, with Nahji hand writing the menus on the blackboards found in the tuckshops. Nahji’s early desire for a career in the arts has been fully handed over to the creative life of MissChu – the high-design fast food chain.
The success of MissChu is based around Nahji’s instinct that Vietnamese food’s largely gluten free and highly tasty base ingredients would be a hit with contemporary diners.
MissChu tuckshops are the first of their kind anywhere in the world and can be described as a modern day hawker takeaway with high end food at a low price tag. Designed for the modern eater on the go, MissChu currently offers home or office delivery in Sydney and Melb CBD via electric bicycles.
Miss Chu ‘The Queen of the Rice Paper Roll
Klezinski: The Science Of Apparel Success
Klezinski is a Melbourne based label. Ultimate fabrications used in the creation of their products along with clever pattern cutting results in every piece made being distinctively unique and timeless.
Klezinski’s Mr Rabbit has four strong magnetic paws to attach to his matching scarf. He also has a hidden zip pocket to hold keys or other small objects
I own this scarf and it is one of most favourite things in the world. Gorgeous fabric, stunning attention to detail – a scarf and friend in one!
Mr. Rabbit Hand Made Scarf by Klezinski Melbourne
Mr. Rabbit Hand Made Scarf by Klezinski Melbourne
A handmade rabbit with a small internal pocket and
matching 3 meter scarf in wool marled jersey
• Wool jersey
• Rare earth magnets in the hands and feet
• YKK zip
• Dry clean only
UNEMPIRE – Melbourne Socks
Socks don’t get any better than this: fun, bold, well made, and detailed in design.
- Spaghetti, meatballs ‘N’ garlic Toast Socks, By UNEMPIRE Melbourne
Prawny socks By UNEMPIRE Melbourne
Socks designed by the Unemperor, who also answers to the name Zoë Lea and is based in Melbourne, Australia.
Unempire sox are soft like fluffy clouds, but strong like a really strong thing so they last longer than your average sock.
They come in one size and shape, but are super stretchy, so they fit every foot- big and small. The Unemperor doesn’t discriminate.
Being the same size and shape means Unempire socks can also be mixed-up and mis-matched. So no sweat when one gets lost at laundry time or disappears in the bedroom vortex.
Collect them all or play swapsies with friends!
Dippy eggs ‘N’ Soldiers socks by UNEMPIRE Melbourne
Cheezzze Dreamzzz socks by UNEMPIRE Melbourne
Piccolo to Go Coffee
When a Melbourne girl moves to a coastal paradise she wonders: “where will I get my caffeine fix?”
Bailey Centre and City Centre Coffs Harbour
flossy-p is an illustrator who sees the world in such a beautiful light! Her imagery makes me want to return to my childhood and turn 90 tomorrow all at once.
Since sea changing from a noisy city terrace, up the coast to a creekside house, nestled between the hills and the sea, her art has grown oodles of flora and attracted all nature of critters, birdlife and marine beasties. Prints of original illustrations are in editions of 100 signed by flossy-p. 8 x 10″ with a border (page size is A4) note:copyright watermark is not on actual print
Never Never Creek: A lucky boy gets to snuggle up warm and cosy with a sleeping platypus, in a patch of reeds under soft yellow stars.
Giant Wombat & Banjo Boy:A giant but gentle wombat meets a boy and his banjo beneath the night sky.
All The Animals Know The Secret Of Life:A graceful, all-knowing swan, with detailed feather plumes.
A signed copy of Beci Orpin’s latest book ~ HOME: 25 Amazing Projects for Your Home. Beci is without a doubt one of our most talented living Australian artists. She has a playful style that seems to strike a chord within all of us. Her latest book is filled with gorgeous inspirational imagery along with projects you can make for your home.
A One Year 2014 Subscription to Catalogue Magazine Australia (Six issues)
A leading fashion magazine that has some of the most beautiful photo shoots I have ever seen! Relaxing with a magazine is my time to be inspired and keep up with local and international talent.
I originally stumbled upon Old Johns when I first relocated to Coffs Harbour to ask for directions. As soon as I walked in I felt like I was transported, awesome little spot with just the right balance of attention to detail and relaxed atmosphere. I love this little gem in Coffs. Visit here with a friend for the perfect combination of delicious food, great service, and good conversation. Dinner menu is perfect for shared plates between cold drinks xx
Old Johns have given up five vouchers for Thursday Dinner + Drinks for two ($50 Voucher) at Old Johns 360 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour.
April Phillips Footwear (that’s me!)
So usually I don’t ‘leak’ my own stories early but I couldn’t resist offering these shoes I am working on as a reward.
I will be releasing a made to order range of women’s shoes in early 2014 which are set to go on tour in various retail spaces, and galleries around Australia and then Overseas. There will be thirty shoes in total each with a single hand illustrated, carved and painted object. Every object featured on a shoe pertains to the human being: exploring some of our desires, habits, superstitions, inventiveness and absolute absurdities. The mary jane style of shoe has a scolloped edge and is made from vegetable tanned leather, with pigskin lining. A very low (nearly flat) heel with a leather / rubber sole so there will be no slipping about. Completely repairable, wear these for a lifetime and then pass them along ♡
Hand illustrated, carved, and painted Mary jane Shoes April Phillips Footwear
I will also be running a:
Sandal Making Class:
I will be teaching a sandal making class at the crafty hub Weave 42 hyde Street, Bellingen . The class will run over two Saturdays: 18th and 25th january 10.30am – 2.30pm All materials are included. Sandals will be made to makers foot and personalised with specialised leather paints and stains.
‘Storm Cloud’ Sandals by April Phillips *Image Pictured is an example only
My eyes are set on next year, and the launch of this very important new project.
I look forward to sharing the success of our contributors and friends!
Please Pledge funds to receive rewards and help us to buy the machines we need! CLICK HERE
Also MAKE SPACE has a blog too here it is: www.makespaceworkshop.wordpress.com
Until next time