Friends' Craft Groups at the Cottage in the Gardens

  • The Friends' Craft Groups welcome visitors to their meeting days

  • New members, especially beginners, are especially welcome to join a group

  • Visitors and non-members are all welcome to come and watch

  • To take part in a craft group you need to be a member of the Friends
  • Join the Friends to become involved

  •  see below for information about the groups and their meeting and demonstration days

  •  Friends are reminded that Plant Craft Cottage has an extensive reference library on plant crafts.

          Friends' Craft Cottage, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens, H Gate

Time:             10.30 am - 2 pm - Dates for each group listed below
Cost:              Free entry. Come along.    
Bookings:      Bookings are not required    
Enquiries:     (03) 9650 6398

Craft Groups at the Cottage
(Adobe PDF File)

Basketry Craft Group

This Craft Group meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. The Group investigates the use of plant material, Australian and introduced, to make a wide range of baskets. Techniques range from traditional stitching and weaving to free form construction with vines and creepers. In recent times the Group has made basketry items from corn husks, pine needles, vine prunings and red dogwood, and experimented with dyeing basketry materials.

On a very warm Autumn day at the Cottage, we had a group of 10 for our April Meeting including two new members, who had previously attended a melon basket workshop. They both very competently completed a raffia wrapped basket.

Those who did not have a project were given the task of preparing the vast amount of lavender needed for the stitched lavender basket which Christina and Libby will be work shopping on Saturday 11 May.
It was decided that each month, rather than a set project, each member can work on their basket of choice so that we can present a vibrant and interesting group to visitors and new members.

Read more about

Garden Secrets for Basket-Makers

Basketry Views

Meetings/Demonstrations:     17 April, 15 May, 19 June, 17 July, 21 August 2019

Natural Dye Group

This Group meets on the 1st Wednesday of the month. The Group works with natural dyes and researches their preparation and use in the dying of cotton, silk and other natural fibres. The dyes are extracted from the leaves, flowers, fruit, stems and roots of plants. Some of the dyes used have been madder, logwood, camomile, eucalyptus, thryptomeme, correa and indigo. The Group also uses the Shibori technique to pattern cloth. A reference collection has been established and is stored in the von Mueller Resource Centre. Read more about plants used...

2019 has been a positive start undertaking some sifting and sorting of papers and samples. We developed the first of our displays for the year, have made use of the new cupboards for storing our ongoing work, and become more familiar with the materials in storage which we plan to use for projects throughout this year.
On 23 March we enjoyed a Dye Workshop with 10 participants. A variety of everyday food materials were provided as we worked through the processes of dyeing:  mordanting, preparing the plant materials and fibre, then seeing what colours emerged.  A number of the group had some experience with natural dyeing. This led to some interesting and informative teaching and learning. Each participant went home with samples and ideas from which to develop their own practices future.
April saw us dyeing with Weld. This showed us how each season affects plants, and therefore the colours we are able to extract. The great resource of samples from experiments done in previous years, held in the PCC library, means that we are able to compare over several seasons the colour range from many of the plant materials we use. Much speculation is had on dyeing techniques as well as how each season is different. 
In May we will be using Cochineal, dye from an insect that lives on prickly pear cactus of Central and South America. From these insects we will explore the range of pinks/reds we can get by modifying the acidity of the dye bath.

Meetings/Demonstrations:   1 May, 5 June, 3 July, 7 August, 4 September 2019

Working with Fibre Craft Group

This Craft Group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. The Group specialises in the use of the plant fibre fabrics and threads cotton, linen and jute. They study ancient crafts, as well as traditional and modern ones. They use the skills with a view to their appreciation in everyday use. In 2016 we spent a number of meetings on 'scrumbling' or free form knitting. Read more about this ....
The group continues to meet on the second Tuesday of every month. This year we have been exploring textile jewellery, crocheted, knitted, knotted and stitched. We are always happy to welcome new members.
Meetings/Demonstrations:       14 May, 11 June, 9 July, 13 August 2019

The Knitting and Crochet Group 

We invite you to join our friendly group of knitters. Our first project was to knit/crochet a Poppy and contribute to the Remembrance Day Poppy Appeal 2018. Future projects include knitted fruit and veg. or your own special project. All welcome, Join the Friends to take part in the activity. We are looking for some new faces who would enjoy crafting with us
When:  3rd Tuesday of the month from 10.30 am  - 12.30 pm
Plant Craft Cottage, RBGV, Melbourne Gardens, near H Gate
Materials:  BYO wool, crochet hook/knitting needles
Tea and coffee provided.

Dates:    21 May, 18 June, 16 July, 20 August 2019

Paper Group

The Group experiments with plant fibres and recycled paper to make handmade paper and sculptural forms. In recent times they have made plant fibre papers using New Zealand flax, tried various ways of decorating paper, both commercial and handmade, and investigated different types of bookbinding.
Read more about the Paper Group......
Meetings/Demonstrations:    the Paper Group currently have no planned meeting dates

Plant Card Group

This Group meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month. The Group presses flowers, leaves, grasses, weeds and even seaweed and uses them creatively to decorate home-made and commercial cards and bookmarks. They specialise in landscapes and creatures, and seasonal themes. 
With the ‘Cards for Kids’ workshop coming up in July, we are busy pressing plenty of flowers and leaves and letting all our friends know to bring their children/grandchildren to visit us on Thursday 11 July. This is a great opportunity for youngsters to learn how to make cards and bookmarks and enjoy seeking their own flowers in the garden.

Meetings/Demonstrations:    18 April, 16 May, 20 June, 18 July, 15 August 2019

Pot Pourri Group

This Group meets on the 2nd Friday of the month. The Group dries, strips and mixes herbs, spices, fragrant barks, leaves and flowers to make perfumed mixes having a variety of uses. Some of the items they make include both moist and dry pot pourri, pomanders, drawer sachets and insect repellents. They are also experienced in sand-drying flowers to retain their shape and colour. Moist Pot Pourri Sachets and Heather's small jars of Moist Pot Pourri are popular items in the Shop.
In both March and April meetings we had the support of our trusty Roster duo, who are a great help with stripping etc. and we enjoy their company.  We have been able to make several boxes of Pot Pourri for sale, along with bay leaves, moth repellent and lemon verbena.
Christine has been helping by making the drawer sachets and now I have to make sure that the new moist pot pourri is ready to fill them, maybe by July, as it does take quite a while to mature.  I leave the wheat bags to the care of others.

Read more about The Art of Pot Pourri  and Moth Repellent

Meetings/Demonstrations:     10 May, 14 June, 12 July, 9 August 2019

Cottage Craft Shop 

The cottage crafters produce a wide variety plant craft items and other material for sale in the Craft Shop in the Cottage. Some of the items produced include kitchen herbal wreaths, scrapbooking kits, flower holders, garden tool holders, rosemary salt, cushions and a wide assortment of bags.
Take the opportunity to visit the Cottage Craft Shop full of hand made gifts. Hand dyed items, beautiful cards, Friends' calendars and cards, and festive themed gifts. Parking available on Alexandra Avenue and enter the Royal Botanic Gardens via H Gate.  The Craft Cottage is open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 3 pm and the 3rd Sunday each month
Meetings/Demonstrations:    Visitors and volunteers most welcome - please come to the shop in the cottage during opening hours.

Cottage Garden Group

This Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. The Group maintains the Cottage garden with advice and assistance from the staff of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Plants suitable for use by the Craft Groups can be found in the cottage garden. To join this group please contact the Friends' office.
In the weeks between our last report and the Christmas break the garden continued to flourish and bloom and gardening days were largely spent keeping the exuberant growth in check. These weeks saw the final burst of Spring flowering and we enjoyed roses, iris, geraniums and pelargoniums, aquilegia (especially good this year), nemesia, lavender, thyme, Mackaya, arthropodiums, and masses of Gallipoli Heath which threatened to envelop everything else nearby, amongst others. As a result of the heavy rain in December there had been a significant washing away of the gravel from the path in the top garden and also significant growth of plants (and weeds!) which required trimming back (or in the case of weeds, removal). Some plants which had flowered earlier in summer were dying down whilst others were about to burst into bloom.
The creepers climbing around the windows on the north side of the Cottage building were trimmed away from the windows to facilitate external cleaning planned as part of the Cottage refurbishment. The vine growing over the archway on the north side of the Cottage has also been trimmed and clipped to follow the shape of the arch, with very pleasing results.
As summer has progressed and faded, the garden has continued to ’grow like topsy’ so each of our gardening days has seen us busy with still more cutting back and trimming, especially in the main bed at the front of the Cottage where the enthusiastic growth of some plants has been smothering others. A lot of privet seedlings have been removed from the top/east end bed. This is the area where the diseased Pittosporum undulatum was removed in the middle of last year. Three of the team undertook a bit of ‘dry stone walling’ to try and shore up the edge of the garden on the left hand side of the path to the shed in an attempt to stop the soil washing away over the path, and have been adding (transplanting) some extra plants to this bed.
With the passing of summer and the coming of autumn we have been enjoying a different ‘cast’ of floral performers: salvias, sedum, geraniums, Ginger Lily, cannas, rosemary, lantana, plectranthus of various kinds, Easter Daisy and Morning Glory have all taken to the stage, together with a wonderful display of Japanese Anemones.
Location Map
(Adobe PDF File)