Her Cave bringing women and craft together
REGINA Doyle has wrestled back the concept of the "man cave" to Her Cave, filled it with arts and crafts and is enticing women from throughout the Central Coast.
Her Cave is a not-for-profit group which Regina began from her own home, but which since January has run out of Kanwal Community Hall.
"I am a craft addict, and I've lived with art and craft all my life," the 56-year-old admitted.
Her dream is for all women to have somewhere to go and do craft together, to be able to "have a go" at something without it costing the earth, or being judged for the outcome.
"I see their eyes light up as soon as they walk through our doors, and they're welcomed as friends," Regina said.
"I've had so many people say, 'I wish I could do that', but they think they can't because they've never had the chance to learn and, when they try it, they find they're actually very creative."
While practically speaking, being able to do your own sewing or mending can save you money, Regina said many women also enjoyed being able to personalise gifts by making them themselves.
She said she was also concerned that if older women didn't share their crafts, those skills would be lost.
There are currently 73 members of Her Cave and counting, with a record of 27 women attending on any given day; the youngest 13 and the oldest 89.
"We have different rosters of activities every month, and if we're not doing something, and people want to do it, we'll learn it," Regina said.
But Her Cave has a pretty complete list of crafts already on offer including, but not limited to, sewing (hand and machine), embroidery, dying, pattern-reading and making, cards and paper crafts, scrapbooking, candle-making, knitting, crocheting, weaving, folk art, decoupage, jewellery-making, beading, upcyling and pottery (without a wheel).
One of the few things not yet on the list is macramé, but it's been asked for and is on the way, according to Regina.
"We have such a variety of women with different skills who are able to share those skills, it's wonderful, and we're very relaxed with our teaching," Regina said.
It costs just $10 for annual membership and $10 each week you want to go along, whether you go on one day or all three, stay for one hour or five.
You can also choose to join in with the classes or just bring along your own craft, with Regina estimating there are often three different activities going on in the big hall at one time.
The aim is to create a community of crafters, to let people know that while craft is often an individual activity, it doesn't have to be solitary.
And Regina said this has been a huge benefit of starting the group, with several members saying participation had "saved their lives", giving them somewhere to go, to be active and socialise, rather than being isolated and lonely.
"That's a good enough reason to keep going," Regina said.
Her Cave is at 25-33 Pearce Rd, Kanwal on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9.30am-2.30pm and Saturdays from 12- 4pm. Upcoming events include: Dec 23 last-minute gifts, Dec 27 Calendars and birthday cards and Dec 30 Scrapbooking Christmas.
To find out more, go to the hercave.org.au, the Facebook page or call Regina on 0415281920.
Her Cave has received a large number of donations of materials and tools, but has also been successful in applying for three grants and has bought new sewing machines, so Regina is happy to give back to the community by providing the second-hand machines to others in need.