Come to a Friends' Craft Group meet up

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

  • New members, especially beginners, visitors and non-members are all welcome

  • Come along, watch and ask questions of any member of the Craft Groups

  • Join one of the Craft Groups and take part in Craft Workshops

  • Join the Friends to become involved

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

          Plant Craft Cottage, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, near 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

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.

September – Corn Dollies will be the project. Christina has plenty of corn and she has offered to bring some in, but please bring your own if you have it (you can start collecting now).
October – We will be running a Children’s workshop so please consider putting up your hand to help tutor. Very cute, very easy project – if you can twine you could teach in this workshop.

The Basketry Group is interested in making some larger works which can be displayed in the Cottage garden. We will be working on ideas over the coming months to develop designs and sourcing materials. 

Read further insights on Basketry ...
Meetings/Demonstrations:         20 September, 18 October, 15 November 2017

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 ....

We have been enthusiastically embroidering for the last couple of months. Margaret Rutherford and Sally Buckner have made beautiful cushions featuring Jacobean designs on linen.

We have now moved on to crocheted or knitted Mandalas. These are colourful circles, often with very intricate patterns, which represent the universe in Hindu and Buddhist culture. Looking at the dictionary definition of the word Mandala and the representations seen everywhere at the moment in colouring books and crochet patterns, I think the connection is a very loose one. They share some characteristics with traditional doilies. Making circles with either knitting or crochet involves some challenges, both with reading patterns and technical skill. The popularity of the craft in recent times is because they offer an opportunity to
experiment with colour, stitches and textures without committing to a large project.

Meetings/Demonstrations:      12 September, 10 October, 14 November 2017

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.

With a noticeably cold winter, attendances at meetings have been rather low. We thank Anne Dluzniak who taught us to make brooches with indigo dyed cotton fabric. We have taught newer members to wind skeins and brushed up our own skein winding skills. This is to be followed by mordanting and dyeing with Eucalypt leaves.

We will be ready for a Eucalypt leaf dyeing workshop in 2018.
Meetings/Demonstrations:     4 October, 1 November 2017

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 is hoping to meet on the 4th Wednesday of the month please phone Jean on 8588 1824 if you are interested.

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. 

We had a most lively, happy workshop for children on 6 July. Although we went over anticipated numbers, the children were happy, enthusiastic and beautifully behaved. They produced some great creative pieces of work.
We are now looking forward to more creative meetings for the second half of the year.
Meetings/Demonstrations:      21 September, 19 October, 16 November 2017

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.

Thanks to Elaine for making and posting Heat Bag Covers to us. Rosemarie Cerny, Frances Nicholls, Eleanor Peeler and myself were able to fill them (with a little help from Jean Walker and Chris Stott who were on Roster!) and they are now in the Shop for sale.

Moist Pot Pourri Sachets were also made. Heather has produced some attractive small Jars of Moist Pot Pourri which have already proved a good seller.
Read more about The Art of Pot Pourri
Meetings/Demonstrations:      8 September, 13 October, 10 November 2017

Cottage Counterpart Craft Shop 

The cottage crafters produce a wide variety plant craft items and other material for sale in Counterpart, 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 garden. To join this group please contact the Friends' office.

We were blessed with very good rain in the latter half of April (71.6mm) but there has been a lack of any decent rain since, however the garden has continued to look good. Although the weather in recent weeks has been on the dry side there has been little wind, and autumn and winter have been providing us with many still and sunny days.

Our gardening mornings have been largely spent in general maintenance — there have been plenty of leaves to sweep up, weeds to pull out and cutting back to be done. Over these cooler months there have still been lots of plants in flower with various salvias, the early jonquils, Winter Iris, both blue and white, little chrysanthemums (pink and yellow), the Butterfly Bush (Clerodendrum myricoides now known as Rotheca myricoides), lantana, daisies, hellebores (H. foetidus), Rosemary and Wallflower (Erisimum) all doing their best to add interest and colour to the garden. The large Winter Sweet (Chimonanthus praecox) growing near the shed has given special pleasure with its inconspicuous yellow flowers sending their sweet perfume wafting all the way to the top garden.

Two Special Interest Groups focus on the day-to-day activities of the Cottage.

House Group

This Group is responsible for household duties at the Cottage.

Roster Group  

The members of this important Group are the hosts in the Cottage each day it is open. They introduce our local, interstate and overseas visitors to the history of the Cottage and the range of plant related crafts practised.