When Sydney architect Richard le Plastrier talks about design within the urban realm, he uses the term ‘weaving.’ He sees that there is already a warp and weft in any city and that any new action needs to work within that weave. Sometimes loose or weak threads must be removed in order to facilitate new things and at other times it is about stitching into a particular patch to increase strength or richness. In order to do this, one needs to listen, watch and research in order to understand exactly what is needed. Importantly, it is about acting with respect.
Through my eyes, this new branch of the CWA is all about creative weaving. It is not a breakaway group trying to show that they are very different from what has gone before, or judge past actions. It is about listening, watching, respecting and researching in order to establish branch activities that build upon a tradition. It is about new threads.
The Country Women’s Association is an organisation which has made a considerable mark within most towns and cities throughout Australia. As the website of the organisation proclaims, it grew to over 50,000 members, nationally, in the middle of last century. While most of us think of scones, sponge cakes and kiss biscuits when CWA is mentioned, their scope of influence is considerably wider and runs to lobbying government on selected issues and engaging in settlement strategies for refugees.
Appropriately, I am the Secretary for the new CBD Branch of the Country Women’s Association. Just as in any organisation, my role is to record the minutes.In this case, I will step beyond the realms of a meeting room and typewriter. My minutes will be observations of the Branch Activities run by our founding members, who are each artists exploring directions in their own practice through the structure of the organisation. Our founding members are artists Elizabeth Woods (Treasurer), Bec Stevens, Sharon East, Lucia Usmiani and our esteemed President and Curator, Paula Silva. My notation about their projects will take the form of published blog posts connected into to the vast network provided by social media. I recognise that my minutes are also a project and an intervention to some extent, as it is well documented that by observing something, you change it.
Judith Abell, Branch Secretary, CWA CBD Branch