In 2015, teaching at High School and TAFE became possible after finally gaining a Diploma of Education and Certificate IV.
Maryborough Education Centre (M.E.C), located 50km from Castlemaine offered Cathy full-time employment teaching Textiles and Art. The two methods complement eachother in many ways and allow promotion of the Textiles Department with a fresh approach to meeting the Technology Curriculum requirements.
Students in Years 7 & 8 engage in projects that start them off hand-sewing using embroidery hoops and demonstrating various stitches including ‘chicken scratch’ (cross-stitch on gingham). By students repeatedly threading needles and tie-ing off of knots, fine motor skills are developed and students settle into the zen ambience of Textiles and Craft. Hand-sewing skills are then applied to projects including the making of Voodoo-theme pincushions and Monster-theme wheat bags (see picture above).
Year 9’s participate in a unit called ‘Destination Barbie’. Students create a travel wardrobe for a specific destination whereby their Barbie or Ken doll attends a fictitious business conference and does some site-seeing. Through this unit students learn about the properties and characteristics of natural and synthetic fibres and the production processes of fabrics. Students also learn about commercial patterns and garment construction. Final assessment involves students following a rubric and writing a postcard home to the partner doll outlining appropriate choice of fabrics used for the wardrobe.
Boxer shorts are the first human-sized garments that students make in Year 9 using a sewing machine. The shorts further develop student understanding of pattern making and sizing of garments in Australia and around the world.
Students doing Year 10 and VET studies make either Princess-line bodices with quarter-circle skirts attached or waistcoats complete with welt pockets. Folio work makes up a huge proportion of VET Textiles incorporating Trade and Style Sketching, Elements and Principles of Design, Fibres and Fabrics and Sustainable Work Practises including Ethical Clothing Manufacture.
Numbers for Textiles for 2017 have gone up and a class of VCAL Personal Development Skills has replaced the Art load. Perhaps this could mean the resurgence of the Brazen Hussy Chicken Bags to be made by VCAL students in time for the M.E.C Family Fair scheduled for the end of March 2017.
Commons themes appeared – the use of recycled materials, acknowledgement of grandmothers passing on inspiration and a love of sewing, and that many of the designers had made the tree change from Melbourne to the country to enjoy a better lifestyle.
The event was one of a series giving new life to under-used country town halls. The models from local high schools were coached under the direction of the seasoned event organiser – Gussy G.
Shown here is one of Brazen Hussy’s collection inspired by her 6 chickens who she talks to daily and lovingly collect their eggs, check fresh hay in their nests and salvage feathers from their clipped wings to adorn the corset shown here.
Sat 19 and Sun 20 October and
Sat 16 and Sun 17 November
As with all classes offered by Brazen Hussy, students work on their own choice of project having discussed it prior to class with Cathy.
Students need only bring some fabric and ideas – all machinery, tools (scissors, threads, quick un-pickers etc), some stock (such as fusings and elastics) and refreshments will be provided.
The patternmaking of each project is usually the main interest to students and they each have the choice of learning how to do it themselves, or sitting back and watching as it is done for them (with or without explanation).
This means that even an amateur sewer can attempt a project at a higher level than they thought possible!
With the release of their fifth studio album ‘Steal The Light’ this May, The Cat Empire unveiled their lead single “Brighter Than Gold” with a stunning video.
The theme of the clip was “Haitian Voodoo”.
The band was dressed by Brazen Hussy top-to-toe in white tuxedos , vintage waistcoats, 70’s body shirts, felt top hats adorned with chicken and cockatoo feathers, and laden with chunky jewellery made from wood, shell, leather and bones.
One of the dancers, Lenny, was dressed as a witchdoctor. His costume featured a chestpiece made of real chicken bones. Both the chicken chestpiece and the ceramic knuckle jewellery worn by the band were made by much-sought-after Castlemaine artist Nici Wright.
Click below to watch the video clip “Brighter Than Gold”.