Weavery, culture and consciousness.
You’re sitting in a space where clarity pervades, a space where you feel free and safe and nurtured. Nature surrounds you, from the scattered pieces of stripped and soaked fibre to the dappled shade of the patient tree under which you are sitting. You are aware of what your fingers are doing but at the same time, they are off on travels of their own as they twirl and twist away, immersed in a game of their own making where the creation of a basket or sculpture is the outcome. Your fingers reflect the movement of others`, and as a circle of nimble fingers do their business, so do the hearts of the weavers, intertwining and connecting with each other through shared stories and smiles and insights. This is sacred work, this is tapping into the divine, into the creative force that flows throughout the universe, that makes the universe come alive as we feel a deep sense of belonging, of knowingness of our place within it. This is a space beyond words, where language and culture can meet and commune through connection to nature and the powerful energy of creative practice. It is a practice of active meditation.
Indigenous cultures throughout the world have a long lineage of this practice of basketry. The wisdom embodied in the weave reflects the warp and weft of life, of cultural and community connection, of heart- based living in tune with the natural environment. This knowledge has been handed down, parent to child, grandparent to grandchild, since time began, and tapping into this practice reignites memories that bring us back to these times of our forefathers (and mothers). When we connect through the practice of basketry with weavers from diverse cultures, especially Indigenous cultures on their traditional soil, we have the opportunity to share and learn from each other through roots that still traverse the earth as they have done for lifetimes.
Through the practice of preparing and weaving with natural fibres straight from the earth, we connect with the deep sentience, healing power and wisdom of the plant kingdom and become aware of how our natural ecology expresses itself with life-enhancing intelligence. As we are opened to new levels of knowledge that are sustainable and interconnected, we become deeply rooted in the growth of our own consciousness – with roots that can sustain the growth of a healthier community and culture.
Rene Bahloo of Weavery leads basketry expeditions to weave consciously with Indigenous people of the earth – in Arnhem Land (Australia) and Southern Africa. She also facilitates local workshops and weekend weaving retreats.
I’m so excited to be taking people out to spend time with my precious adopted family in Gunbalanya, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. It is a total privilege to be accepted into their lives and homes as a true sister, daughter, and aunty. Ngalbangardi, they call me. I share my life back, in return, I support and connect, share and learn and teach – they come to my home on the Sunshine Coast and get to connect with my friends and family., to see other horizons filled with the similarity of beautiful hearts. Twenty years this has been in the pipeline – since my first stay on community. Finally, after much consultation (and back and forth travel), earning respect (and love) by being patient, open and honest, I have created the space to be able to share this gift with the world of weavers and non-weavers alike, Indigenous and non-indigenous, to come and experience, first hand, the joy of family, earth connection, and Indigenous cultural ways, all part of a much ‘bigger picture’ relationship of mutual respect and cultural exchange feeding back into itself to ensure long-term sustainability.
Come on an amazing journey deep into the heart of remote Indigenous Australia. Share special times, weaving with family and new friends, experience the ancient art of basket weaving through cultural immersion. Learn about traditional culture as you walk the land, collecting pandanus and natural bush dyes. Sit with mother earth as you learn to split and prepare premium fibre which is exclusive to this beautiful place on our planet. Be in a space of nurture and allow the strong spirit of the land soothe and heal you, to reset your compass. Come with me, and you will see the precious gift of weaving our lives together, through an ancient cultural lineage, in a way that you will change you forever.
This is the trip for you if:
It makes your heart sing to think of experiencing such a unique opportunity.
You are loving, open minded and willing to learn in ways that you never expected.
You are a happy, adventirous spirit, or practicing to be one.
You are open to personal growth and self-development.
You are open to the healing that this experience could bring to you.
You trust in your ability to manifest this journey as a gift to honour yourself, and to allow the magic you receive to flow outwards and spread as a gift to those you love.
This is not the trip for you if:
You have preconceived ideas about the nature of your experience.
You have any fixed judgements, racial or otherwise.
You want to meet some remote-living Indigenous women so that you can start up trips of your own.
You are disrespectful of the relationship that I share with the weavers, as they are my family, or you are disrespectful to them.
You sport an attitude of exclusion rather than inclusion.
If you have a group of people that you would like to share the trip with exclusively – I am happy to guide the journey in terms of transport (I have appropriate legal licencing requirements), resources, permissions (from a variety of sources), logistics and organisational requirements, and allow you to experience the trip with the degree of facilitation that suits your needs. In thse situations, I will quote a fixed price for the trip. This ends up being much more economical for the individual as part of a group situation. Please email or message me for further details or a quote.
The adventure includes transport from Darwin and back, accommodation in shared comfortable bungalows in Jabiru (with a pool), transport in and out of the community, all permits to enter aboriginal land, special fibre for a small basket, all tuition and the most amazing trip to Injalak hill (world heritage rock art site).
Each room has a fridge, sink and tea/coffee making place, please note that these awesome bush bungalow rooms are 2-3 person share. ($50 extra to shotgun the double bed).
(Catered) Meals are catered for: self-cook breakfast, picnic lunches, evening meals. Tea and coffee is included, other drinks are BYO.
Catered trips – your investment is $2350.
Self- catered trips – $1950.
To book your place, a non-refundable deposit of $300 is required.
Here’s a lovely testimonial by Betsy:
Have you ever wanted to immerse yourself in indigenous culture? Most tours give you a tourist’s view
that separates you from reality; a peep through the window. My five-day journey with Rene introduced
me to her family and we spent five days with three indigenous women.
As we collected pandanus for fibre and seeds, leaves and roots for dyeing, friendships were flowering.
We learnt and experienced culture alongside learning about the processing and weaving of fibre and it
was an absolute joy and privilege.
I can’t express my gratitude enough to these women and Rene for the depth of connection to culture;
stories, places, language, ways of being, relationships, to name but a few aspects. I have returned home
with Arnhem vibrating in my body and so much to recall and think about. A life-changing experience not
to be missed.