On Saturday night last week, Vanessa didn’t put on her dancing shoes and hit the town. She stayed in with friends, chatting and drinking tea. And sewing.
Vanessa, her daughter and some friends gathered in her home in Coburg, Victoria, and worked late into the night, snipping, stitching and sewing to create pouches, tents and nests to help animals injured in the bushfires recover.
11 January 2020 – Coburg, Victoria – Vanessa Ellis pieces together fabric to create pouches for the Animal Rescue Craft Guild to distribute to wildlife shelters in need around Australia. Photo: Louise Pacor.
“So many of our defenceless native animals have perished or have been burnt and injured during the last few months of extreme fires. These animals are in need of urgent care and attention.
Last Saturday night, two of my friends came over and we worked til midnight, cutting, sewing and nattering. I’ve slowly been finishing off the pouches: early mornings, when my daughter is in bed, etc. Whenever I get a chance, I am stitching.”
11 January 2020 – Coburg, Victoria – Ronella Gomez (right) and Louise Pacor cut fabric pouches from patterns downloaded from the Internet. Photo: Vanessa Ellis.
“My daughter came with me to buy fabric. She chose the patterns. Spotlight a fabric store gave us 50% off the cost. We then washed the fabric so that when the wildlife volunteers wash the pouches they won’t shrink.
Patterns were downloaded, printed, then taped together like a jigsaw. A few centres are saying they have enough supplies, but others are still wanting donations of pouches, so we continue to sew.”
16 January 2020 – Coburg, Victoria – Three pouches stitched, lined and ready to keep animals safe and warm. Image: Vanessa Ellis.
“I’m aiming to complete 10 with 3 changeable liners in each. Like many others, I have been feeling very hopeless and helpless about the situation. Finding a practical, hands-on way that I could help was a no-brainer for me. Yes, it has meant juggling that bit extra between family life and work, and there have been a few late nights. I can’t help but think that if I can push a little bit more… my discomfort is nothing compared to what has happened.”
Are you a past or present mentor and want to help? A one-off AIME Mentor Recruitment drive to connect you with organisations assisting in fire affected areas is running until the end of February 2020.