The Woolly West Fest 2019
The Woolly West Fest takes place in the Western District in the Shire of the Southern Grampians, and some say that it’s the largest community arts project (in spread) in Victoria and possibly even Australia. Festivities take place in ten towns during a two week period. The focus is a celebration of all things woolly and early childhood literacy. The creators Jacinta Wareham is the Knitwit and Naomi Turner is the Litwit.
Wearing my early childhood hat, I packed the big story basket and had fun in the Hamilton Library with a crowd of ankle biters - my people.
Teaming up with storytelling buddy Kate Lawrence, we offered a joint evening of stories for adults. Kate and I have known each other for a few years now and although our interests take us in different directions our work is complimentary. Kate established StoryWise Women, the only women’s only personal storytelling open mike in Melbourne and has written and performs a show titled Fantastic Feminist Folk Tales. I love hanging out with Kate so needless to say, we had fabulous time in Hamilton.
I love (yes ‘love’ is the word) regional festivals. The welcome is always warm and sincere, the conversations enlightening and the stories often deeply moving. Meeting Jacinta’s Knitwits or ‘the posse’ as they are sometimes known was revelatory. These women, mostly in their 7th decade and beyond, are full of stories. It’s the posse that yarn bombs the towns and creates the woolly exhibition pieces.
The skill of the Knitwits, their humour and resilience not to mention their casserole cooking skills is fast becoming the stuff of legend.