Almost exactly a year ago I mentioned that we’d acquired three beautiful woven baskets. The artist, whose name I omitted to mention then, was Jim Walliss, a white man from down Nowra way. Yesterday onABC’s Awaye he received an honorable mention in a program about Boolarng Nangamai Aboriginal Art and Culture Studio in Gerringong, near Nowra. The Awaye link in the last sentence gets you the audio. Here’s the relevant bit, where Steven Russell, weaver, painter and print-maker is talking to Nicole Steinke from the ABC:
Nicole Steinke: How did you start with the weaving, because you’ve said you really love the weaving?
Steven Russell: It started back in TAFE, in 2000, when I first started TAFE. We were taught by this old fella, a whitefella –
NS: Is that Jim Walliss?
SR: Jim Walliss, yeah. He’s a pretty good weaver himself, and he told us stories about the Aboriginals and what they did. He showed us a lot, and we just took off from there and ran with it and haven’t looked back since. I’m just thankful for Jim, for knowing him, and teaching us something that should have been passed down by our ancestors, and which wasn’t.
NS: So was there a sharing there that went on?
SR: Yes, it was sharing, and he was honoured to teach us. He taught us a lot of things about weaving and styles of weaving. He taught us our traditional weaving and that’s something that we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives, and we’ll pass it on to our kids.
So our beautiful little baskets have some sweet connections.