Local Lass Rhiannon Simmonds is making her mark in our community, educating in life skills of recycling, up cycling, sewing and more … FOCUS caught up with Rhi about the benefits of learning these skills for life …
Tell us a bit about yourself, your connection with Port Macquarie and how you came to call it home …
I am lucky enough to have called Port Macquarie home my whole life; I loved growing up here. I moved away a few times, but always came back to my nest! It’s a beautiful town; I am so lucky to call this place home.
When did you first discover your love for crafting, and what was the first creation you made?
I have always loved craft, making things and sewing. My mum always had little craft projects for us to do as kids; I carried my love of craft throughout my whole life. What started with paddle pop sticks and “glue” evolved into sewing, up cycling, gardening, painting, screen printing, ceramics … You name it, I love it! The first major craft project I made was a quilt when I was 11; it was during the school holidays and I was so excited to finish it, I didn’t stop for three days. I still have and use it.
How do you feel your crafting throughout your upbringing has skilled you for life?
I think that crafting has skilled me in so many ways. It’s calming after a long day at work to take a few moments to put something beautiful together. Crafting takes time and trial and error, so you have to be patient (that is something I am still working on). It has taught me how to use every last little scrap of material and how to recycle everything, and in this day and age I think it’s pretty important to put less things in the bin and find a second use for them.
You now share these skills and methods you’ve discovered over the years in educating through workshops and lessons, one of which is sewing for children … What age group do you cover, and what do you want your sewing kids to get out of their lessons?
Over the years I have shared my skills with many of my friends and family members, who have in turn shared their skills with me. I recently had a felting night with my aunty and Mum. My aunty taught us how to felt over drinks and a cheese platter; we had a wonderful time laughing and learning. I love that you can not do anything wrong when you are crafting – you can only learn. That’s what I want to share with all of the amazing people who come to my workshops and sewing classes. It’s OK to make mistakes, because they are really easy to fix – or you may stumble upon something awesome.
We try really hard to be perfect, and we manage to teach this to our children. There is no such thing as perfect – just the best we can be, our shiny amazing selves. This is what I want everyone to feel – happy to be the person they are.
My sewing and craft classes are for children of all ages. The youngest I currently have is four and the eldest is 12; I encourage teenagers and adults to join as well.
I want all members of craft school to leave happy and relaxed; I want them to feel like anything is possible. We can make anything!
What are some of the items created in these classes, and do they cater for both boys and girls?
So far at craft school we have made tote bags, screen printed capes, created glittery shorts, made cloud pillows, sewed purses, learnt how to fold paper into origami and how to arm knit – there is also talk of crochet as well. I cater to boys and girls of any age, of any learning level, and of any interest!
You have some workshops coming up; what are they and how can we join in?
Workshops! These are a lot of fun and a great way to meet new friends. My favourite one so far has been FOTSUN 2015. I hosted an upcycling workshop; we transformed old FOTSUN tees into kimonos and origami from old travel books at the Wabi Sabi Night. I have a macrame workshop at Port Central on the 31st of this month, an arm knitting workshop being hosted at Social Grounds on the 28th April, and a DIY cleaning products workshop being hosted at the community gardens in May. I also will host intimate workshops for birthdays, baby showers and hen’s parties. If you are interested in any workshops, classes or to book a party, please contact me at email@example.com
Not only is crafting fun, it also teaches us how to be more sustainable and appreciate the joy of creating something for ourselves or to gift to others. What are your thoughts?
Crafting is a great way to be more sustainable. You can recycle anything if you have a creative mind and an imagination! In this crazy world of touch and go lifestyles, it is more important than ever to be more environmentally aware, and what better way of doing this by crafting with unwanted things!
Where can we follow you for workshop news and updates on your next projects?
You can follow me on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/rhirebellion or instagram @rhirebellion.