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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Creating a Welcome Wrap-Up with Author Anna Branford

Photo: Jo Windred
When human beings are in need of support, sometimes we have to venture far out of our comfort zones in order to be of any help. But at other times, if we look deep into those comfort zones, they can turn out to be full of surprisingly helpful things after all.

Creating a Welcome is an idea that grew from some conversations a few months ago between creative friends, all looking for a way to offer support to people seeking asylum in Australia, all uncertain about how to help.

We began building a collection of the things we most love creating, working in the cracks of our already busy days with stolen moments of knitting, crocheting, embroidering, felting, stitching, beading, spinning and more. Gradually we were joined by local creators, interstate creators, a couple of creative folk even contributed from overseas.

Photo: Lois Wadelton

We held our first market stall in April, then a whole mini-market of our own in May. Those two collections of our handmade work have raised over $3400, all donated directly to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. The support from our community has been incredible (with special mentions to Northern Regards Artisan Market, who gave us our first stall, and to Chalice Uniting Church, who hosted our mini-market).

But it was Tania McCartney, founder and editor of Kids’ Book Review, who had the idea of extending the concept of Creating a Welcome to include authors and illustrators. Established creators of children’s books all over Australia were invited to offer their work to be part of a huge online sale, hosted by KBR.

I loved every moment of putting my own offerings together. But the most exciting part of all was seeing the list of all the contributions, published in a special post on KBR at the beginning of May. It was pure treasure, every piece. You had to be quick though. Whole sets of signed favourites, original illustrations and offerings of school visits started disappearing immediately. Almost all the offerings sold over April and the grand total was a figure no one could quite believe. Over $5700, with every last cent raised sent straight to the ASRC.

We hope that Creating a Welcome will continue to offer creators of all kinds a chance to do the things they love in support of human beings seeking asylum in Australia. We are blown away by the beauty of the creations people have offered and by their generosity in doing so. We are also profoundly grateful to those who make our efforts so worthwhile by purchasing our creations and enabling these crucial funds to be raised.

Thank you Tania, and everyone at KBR, for extending the concept of Creating a Welcome so brilliantly and so incredibly successfully! After all, we all need a nest to call our own.

If you are interested in our project, we would love you to follow us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/creatingawelcome.

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