I have just returned home from attending my second year at the Yandina Fibre Arts Festival, held on the Sunshine Coast from  4th to 6th October. I will try my best to put into words what my heart feels from being a participant at this event. From the moment I enter the festival space my heart soars at the anticipation of three days of creating with amazing teachers, renewing friendships and connecting with my tribe. The welcoming ceremony of our Indigenous people and the beautiful singing and response of the Maori contingency is the opening for knowing that you are attending something special.  I realised at last year’s festival that it felt like we were a tribe of people coming together to celebrate our passion for creating and learning the traditional ways. To be part of a movement that is dedicated to passing on the traditional crafts is incredibly humbling. To come back for a second year this feeling was cemented with joyful reunions of connections made and shared excitement of what workshops we had signed up for this year. When you have a festival this size it allows connections to take place.

I have attended other festivals but have not experienced the uniqueness that this festival radiates. To try and name it – the uniqueness is a feeling of love, acceptance and connection. To feel completely comfortable to start a conversation with a stranger, to share the joy of someone’s creation that you have just met, to hold someone when emotion pours. Art is a recognised therapy and is known to contribute positively to mental health. In the workshops when I am creating my mind calms and I am completely in the moment. For me personally this is a priceless gift – my spirit is happy, and I release the worries that I carry. And the wonderful thing is that I have brought my happiness home, my fish-trap lamp shade is hanging proudly in my lounge, I have hung my beautiful woven tapestry and I have created a unique piece of indigo clothing with my cyanotype fabric pieces. I feel proud and my creative spirit fulfilled. But the most special thing is the connections I have made with other participants, my teachers and my gorgeous friends.

This is what Luke and Alice have created. A festival that feeds the soul and honours culture. A festival that is ethical and has outreaching impacts – participants that are supporting indigenous cultures to claim back their crafts and pass it on to future generations.  Luke and Alice are there to greet you as you enter the festival and throughout the festival, they are present in body and spirit.  They have brought together facilitators from Australia and around the world to teach their crafts and in doing so have created one incredible experience. As a participant I am deeply grateful for their passion and ongoing commitment to their Fibre Arts Festival.

For more information about the 2020 Fibre Arts festival, go to

Fibre Arts Festival Participant

Nat Hamlyn