by Alison Houston
GOSFORD Community Precinct is "really going to town" this year for its second annual open day.
Events and precinct co-ordinators Lyn Abbott and Gay Brown, from the Central Coast Hand Weavers, Spinners and Textile Arts Guild - or more simply "The Cottage" - said the success of last year's open day in August had prompted calls of "when are you doing it again?"
So, from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, April 14, the bunting and gazebos will be up and a mini fairground will appear on-site, allowing the public to see exactly what goes on at The Cottage, as well as the Central Coast Potters Society, the Makers Studio, Central Coast Family History Society and the Lions Club.
"We all have our own separate days, but this is one to promote the whole precinct as a community," Gay said.
Each group will have displays, items for sale and demonstrations, including spinning and weaving, a loom to try your hand at, pot-throwing, clay play for the kids, a kiln pit, printing and dying, and tips on how best to trace your family tree, including the best websites to use.
Lyn first became involved in The Cottage when her husband bought her a spinning wheel at a garage sale - she needed someone to show her how to use it.
Eight years later, Gay said, "there's nothing Lyn doesn't do - spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, crochet; she does the lot!"
This is The Cottage's 45th anniversary, but Lyn said much had changed in that time.
Weaving is now more of an art form and is attracting an increasing number of participants, with up to 30 people taking part in the regular Tuesday meetings. (Quilting is Wednesdays.)
"Weaving's not just the old scarf anymore," Lyn said, adding that she also creates wearable art, wraps and clothing.
"It's about colour, texture and whether it's hand-spun materials or silks."
And it's something she says you can do anywhere, with looms now small enough that they can be folded up and tucked in your bag.
"Have loom, will travel," she laughed.
Gay has been part of The Cottage for about 15 years, and said she found "a camaraderie you don't get elsewhere".
Lyn agreed, adding it was a great way for people to get out and meet others with similar interests, and "really lose yourself in creating".
For those without experience, equipment is available to use on site and take home until you are ready to buy your own, and workshops are also popular, with felting attracting 20 people over the past two Thursdays.
"I think the enthusiasm comes from within the groups - doing something for a combined project or seeing what someone has made, or someone is wearing and thinking, 'I could do that', or 'I'd like to learn that'," Lyn said.
Building on last year's event, the Precinct on Parade will feature models not just showing off clothes created, but pottery pieces, fabric prints and other craft, including decorated lamp shades.
And the Lions Club will of course provide the all-important sausage sizzle to raise charity funds.
Gosford Community Precinct is at 8 - 10 Russell Drysdale St, East Gosford. To find out more, call 4325 4743 or go to www.cottagecrafts.net.au.