Stitching Up a Local Craft Industry

by Delia on July 8, 2011

The June beading workshop had an extra community dimension to it. Teacher, Annlee Butler is a well established Australian beader who is the technical advisor for Creative Beading, one of Australia’s main magazines in this area. She set one afternoon aside to invite 9 local women – and one man – up to Daku to learn some new approaches.

Beading Workshop Annlee Butler Daku Resort

Rosa Sui and others beading around the big table at Daku

All the women sell handicrafts for a living, with stalls at Savusavu market, the Copra Shed and the airport. They were delighted to learn a new skill relevant to their business – and they were fast learners.

“I was stunned at how fast they learnt everything,” said Annlee. “I didn’t know what to expect, how quick or slow they’d be – and they got it immediately – the right tension in the stitch so the beads snug up together, and the stitch itself.”

Beading Workshop

Lauren Byvank and Mira Wati

The stitch she taught them was the Dutch spiral, a fairly simple stitch based on two movements: pick up / go though / pick up / go through. She showed them how to use it with a bigger bead and a seed bead, creating a lovely tube-like effect of beads wound together in a soft rope. She wanted to show them something they could use with their local resources – and this stitch is ideal for using with pearls.

Beading Workshop

Annlee shows Lauren and Angela a stitch

Getting new ideas is an important business asset for the women, who are always eager to add to their wares and have different items to sell. It was also very rewarding for the other beaders who were in Annlee’s workshops. Annlee had taught them the stitch in the morning so they could help help with demonstrating the stitches. They really enjoyed the afternoon, sitting chatting with the women as they worked. Later that week they went to the market to see the women and were delighted to find that they were already selling necklaces using the new stitch!

Beading Workshop

Annlee and Koletta Tukana

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