This post isn’t particularly about my travels, but someone else’s (not my usual approach). One of my favourite things about travelling is meeting people that you wouldn’t ordinarily meet in your usual space. So it’s an absolute delight when those kind of people walk right through your door and introduce you to something new.
This weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Maryann Talia Pau, an Australian artist who aims to raise awareness of and reduce violence in our society through the simple art of weaving. She started the One Million Stars to End Violence project as a personal response to the rape and murder of a woman in her home, Brunswick Victoria. It was quickly picked up by the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games arts and Cultural programme and now the aim is to create a display of one million stars for the games… delivering the same message.
I met Maryann by chance, when she came in to use our work ‘Meet and Make’ space, a zone set aside for anyone from the public to come in and host sociable get-togethers. We see all sorts of people, from knitters, blogging groups, to ladies just wanting to catch up for a spot of tea. With her, she brought a group of men and women, all responding to her social media posts asking Edinburgh dwellers/visitors to come in to help create stars for her project. The (usually calm) craft space was replaced by an electric hub of happy energy, as Maryann injected her enthusiasm for the project into her volunteer weavers. I’d never seen the place buzzing like this.
The set up is simple, some ribbon and a little tutorial about how to weave the (relatively easy to make) stars. The tutorial is on YouTube here.
Now usually I’m not one to get excited about non animal charity causes (it’s just not my niche). Those that know me will also know I’m somewhat apprehensive about things veering towards the ‘feminism’ train. I’m very much pro all the big points, I just have some reservations about how it’s now being thrown about as a way of getting social bonus points (but that’s another story). However, Maryann has the refreshing aura of an artist who works on her pieces because she just loves what she’s doing. The enormity of her project is merely coincidence, as opposed to something she went hunting for. There’s no shiny Commonwealth posters or spokespeople, just her, travelling around and promoting. It’s all very genuine and raw.
My only regret is that Maryann was leaving Edinburgh the next day for her next destination. The creative gal has taken a side step from her usual, festival perfect, costume making to focus on her (now rather large) project. I could have chit chatted to her for ages about her designs.
I suppose this post is here simply to raise awareness of this interesting lady’s travels to build her work, and to encourage you all to get involved and search out (or set up) one of Maryann’s weave communities, and get making stars to help. Good luck sista!
You can follow the journey on..
Instagram: One Million Stars