Learning the basics of home carpentry and wood-working skills has opened a creative door and provided an invaluable social focus point for a group of Gin Gin women.
The Gin Gin Ladies Woodwork Guild currently has around 15 members who meet once a week to uncover the mysteries of creating with wood as well as the safe use and operation of carpentry tools.
President Meri Armstrong said the idea of the Guild grew from an admiration she developed for the wood-work items being created by the local Men’s Shed group.
“In 2016 I accessed as many local community organisations that I could through various networks to request a meeting of women who may be interested in forming a local woodwork group.
“Around 25 women attended and following that expression of interest I set up a regular meeting place on my verandah.
“In January this year Bundaberg Regional Council advised that a shed was available adjacent to the local Youth Centre. Since then we have been remodelling the shed and fitting it out with equipment that has come our way, mostly through donations.
“Council has recently granted us $5000 for the purchase of a drum sander and a Laguna table saw which will allow our group to be more independent in timber preparation.”
Meri said the group was fortunate to have the assistance of Don Williamson.
“In addition to being the Gin Gin Men’s Shed Workshop Co-ordinator, Don is acting in the role of mentor to our group.”
Don is a fully trained carpenter, but an arm injury prevented him from pursuing the trade.
“The ladies are doing an amazing job,” Don said.
“I am looking to teach them some basic household maintenance which is useful especially for anyone living in country areas where tradesmen can be difficult to source.
“Currently we take the wood the ladies are working with and size it on the equipment at the Men’s Shed,” said Don.
“It is a pleasure teaching them and I think it’s pretty accurate to say that the women are far better listeners than men.”
Gin Gin ladies develop passion for woodwork
Gayle Rafferty is another local who is thrilled at the opportunity to create useful household and decorative items from timber, and especially recycled timber.
“I went to the Gin Gin Show and was absolutely in awe of what the men’s shed group had on display. I saw Meri had an information table near the display looking for women interested in forming a similar group.”
Gayle said she has always considered herself a tactile person and loved creating with her hands.
“I am currently working on a small table using 100% recycled items. There is a marvellous sense of achievement once you see what you are capable of producing.
“The weekly meetings feed my creative needs as well as fulfil my social needs through the interaction with like-minded women,” said Gayle.
Meri said the group was always looking for more members.
“We meet on Mondays from 9am until noon and it’s only a gold coin donation to attend.
“Our group is incorporated so there is a membership fee to join.”
Anyone wanting further information can contact Meri on 0401 698 858 or 46714681.