Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cartooning Workshop with Bradfield Dumpleton

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Last week at co-op we had the pleasure of inviting local cartooning mentor, Bradfield Dumpleton to co-op. Bradfield has extensive experience working with children and school groups and our co-op children have boundless amounts of enthusiasm when it comes to cartooning, so we knew we were in for an interesting day.

Bradfield led the children through various drawing games before asking them what they'd like to draw… What mythical, made up, madcap creatures they could imagine for him to show them how to draw. For the next three hours we watched our children relax into a wonderful afternoon of cartooning. Fears and inhibitions were overcome as artists emerged from each child there. Some even surprised themselves! What a wonderful thing to witness! Bradfield was a warm and encouraging mentor whose passion for drawing is infectious - hopefully we'll be able to welcome him back to co-op some day soon!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Open Day :: Imbolc


We'll be holding our very first open day at co-op on Thursday, August 21st and we'd love it if you'd join us! Seasonal celebrations have always been such a wonderful way to bring our families together to mark the nature and abundance around us, so we'll be creating seasonal celebrations for each of our open days going forward.

Our first winter open day will be a belated celebration of Imbolc. Traditionally, Imbolc is a time when we first start noticing the stirrings of spring. It's a celebration of the passing of winter,  the lengthening days and stirring seeds give us hope for the warmer seasons ahead. Imbolc is a wonderful time to mark new beginnings and to set plans into action. It's a time of reawakening and a beautiful time to welcome our friends to co-op.

Open day activities will include:

* Yarn bombing our beloved tree with colour and love. Sadly, the tree we gathered under was pruned to a tall stump a few weeks ago, so we saw fit to nurture it and create some new happy memories with it. We'd love contributions of hand knitted or crocheted squares, blankets or lengths of fabric or yarn to cover what's left of our tree on the day.

* Making seed bombs to plant in the co-op grounds or take home and plant in your garden at home. A little guerrilla gardening and seasonal observance all in one…

* Beeswax candle rolling and decorating - for lighting the remaining days of winter through to spring!  There will be a small additional cost for this.

We've discovered some public barbecues in from of the hall, so we intend to make use of these on the day, so bring along anything you'd like to cook up for your family or to share.

The open day will cost $4 per family. All are welcome to come along and join in, both old and new friends! We hope to see you there! xx

Sharing Skills

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Much of our talk at co-op lately has been about what skills we have between us that we can pool and share. Realising that creating a culture of sharing and learning is strengthening and nourishing for our group and its members, we aim to draw out those skills as we grow together. Adults learning from other adults inspires children to get involved and learn alongside their parents, or their peers. And finding skills that the children can share with each other is wonderful too! Kids are always so keen to learn what their friends can do…

Last week, one of the children facilitated a Manga drawing workshop while one of the parents facilitated a granny-square crochet workshop. Long held crocheting and manga drawing ambitions were fulfilled! And we got a start on preparing to yarn bomb our tree. By the end of the session, children were learning to crochet too! Some of the crocheting parents were rather keen to learn the art of manga, so we may need a repeat performance of that one at a later date!

Our Tree...


Quite shockingly, one day we arrived at co-op to find our beloved tree severely pruned back to a tall stump. You can read more about it here.

We hadn't realised just how much of the magic of our little co-op had been wrapped up in that beautiful, shady tree. But it's something we've come to realise in the weeks since.

We'll be planning a yarn bombing project for the tree, to make it a cheerier place to be and to honour what was. We're hoping friends from our wider community might feel moved to join in and celebrate with us and look forward with us...

Fungi Walking


One of the fantastic things about co-op is the sharing of knowledge, within the group and across generations. By learning together, we share skills and new ideas and parents learn alongside children, meaning information can be delved into more deeply away from co-op as more questions arise… And it keeps us adults inspired to learn new things too!

One of our parents is an avid fungi enthusiast and offered to lead a fungi walk in some bushland just down the road from our cottage. We were a bit amazed by the diversity so close to town! Highlights included seeing a number of earth star fungi and some beautiful early orchids hiding along the bank, beside a creek. So much beauty around us everywhere and it's wonderful to slow down and acknowledge it together, if only fleetingly.

Winter Solstice at Co-op

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The cooler weather has seen us return back indoors for a portion of our gatherings at the cottage. For the Winter Solstice, we treated ourselves to a large delivery of new art and craft supplies and settled in for some freestyle crafting, snowflake making, popcorn bird feeder making, and drawing.

There was much happy creative work and play as we celebrated the shortest day of the year together in our little cottage. New skills were gained, celebrated and shared and (thanks to a large amount of glitter), we all went home sparkling!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Strengthening community & new beginnings


We've been talking about community quite a bit at co-op lately. Wanting to strengthen what we have, we've made a slight change towards seasonal membership subscriptions, encouraging members to come along weekly for a whole season at a time. Those who can't make it weekly, we are hoping to see at our seasonal open days which will be big, beautiful celebrations of our wider community and a chance for new friends to check out where we are and what we do.

We're hoping the familiarity that comes from a regular bunch of friends will mean an even more comfortable, reliable and supportive community for all of us, but especially our wonderful children. In recent months we've seen friendships blossom and bonds form that we hope will be life-long.


Today we lit a camp fire and held a loose kind of loud and rambunctious circle around it as we marked the beginning of this new phase for our co-operative. 


We cooked baked apples, corn and damper in the coals as the children built bush shelters…


And then honed their skills in the skate park nearby...


The warmth of the fire, shared food and company and plenty of wild space to explore were just the antidote to a cold, wintry day. Almost certainly, it'll be the first of many such fires for the season, and a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a day that is an absolute highlight of our week, every week. 


If you're keen to come along and try out our co-op, please don't hesitate to get in touch. We'd love to meet you! You can stay up to date with details for open days by subscribing to this blog via the email box above, or joining our Facebook group.