Get Caught Crafting: Tricia’s Story
Our Get Caught Crafting campaign prompted Tricia Laine of Traralgon South in Gippsland, Victoria to share her story with us. Thank you Tricia
From Tricia: My photos appear to just be of some people sharing some fun times crafting but the story behind our group getting together is a little bit different, read on…
I live in Traralgon South in Gippsland, which borders on Calignee, Koornalla, Le-Roy and Balook. It’s a beautiful place to live with kangaroos grazing in the paddocks, koalas growling in the trees, echidnas ambling past and lizards soaking up the sun on any warm days. What makes this area different is that in 2009 we were directly impacted by the Black Saturday Bushfires and in my area alone half the houses disappeared into piles of rubble and brick dust within the space of a few hours.
My husband and I had decided to build a studio as my craft and art supplies were piling up with nowhere to be used and (sound familiar?!) so ‘Tricias Haven’ was built about 6 years ago. My intention then was to share it with the community so that locals and others could come and enjoy some creative get-togethers away from the demands of house work and other mundane chores. It was meant as a place to relax, unwind, create and chat. On Thursday fortnightly I held a Craft n Cuppa where anyone could come and work on any craft project just for a gold coin donation to cover heating/cooling and tea and coffee.
On Black Saturday our family left with what we could fit into 2 cars and said a goodbye to our property as we watched the fire clouds storm over the hill. We knew the outcome wouldn’t be good. On the radio that night we heard reports of houses in our immediate area exploding due to gas canisters and being completely destroyed by fire balls. I remember thinking that night while I stayed at my Mum’s that we would need to find a place to rent as I was 99% certain everything would be gone by morning.
The next morning my husband tried to get back but was blocked by the Police at the main intersection. We knew by then that over 100 houses had gone and were feeling very flat. His mobile rang and it was our neighbours who lived above us. They said “The house is still here… and so is the shed……and the art studio”, we were ecstatic but also felt guilty that by some miracle our entire property was left intact. Be it the last minute wind change, the neighbours making sure the fire didn’t come down, the firemen, a slight remnant of left over green grass but everything was black all around us.
From then on I vowed to make sure I could provide an outlet for people recovering and rebuilding after the fire. I started Cardmaking Classes every second Tuesday, Paperbag Album Classes every second Wednesday and every Fortnight Thursday I still run the original Craft n Cuppa. The Salvation Army has helped immensely by providing me with two grants to help with the costs so I can halve the costs of the classes for the ladies. Any money I earn goes straight back into the craft and any supplies I buy such as stamps, punches, tools, dies are shared so that everyone benefits.
Some of the ladies are currently rebuilding, some have just finished getting their gardens, sheds and fencing to the point where they feel everything is a bit more ‘normal’. New friendships have been formed and our community is stronger and I am blessed to have met and made so many new friends as well as sharing my love of crafting with others.
Thanks for listening.