Connection through crafting
Judging from its humble beginnings as an initiative for a small group of peninsula crafters, it is unlikely anyone would have guessed that Avalon Craft Cottage would this year be celebrating its 50th anniversary.
What started as a meeting of knitters, sewers, needleworkers and other craftsmen and women in a small room above a French restaurant in Avalon Parade soon grew to a beloved local enterprise with the establishment of a cottage shopfront on Old Barrenjoey Road.
Although the cottage itself no longer exists, Maureen Darcy-Smith, current president of the group and 27-year member, remembers those days in the cottage as the period of time that solidified the group’s presence in the Pittwater community.
“We used to do the most incredible window displays every month,” she recalls. “Customers simply loved them.”
Since that point, the group has been dedicated to using its art a means of offering support and aesthetic pleasure to the local community.
“We’ve done a lot of fundraising over the years, raising thousands of dollars for various charities,” Maureen explains.
“We have hosted morning teas for the Cancer Council, we have fundraisers for Pink Day and the Mona Vale Hospital Auxiliary, and we raised funds for the Women’s Refuge at Dee Why one year. We always try to focus on a local cause.”
On a personal level, Maureen, a card maker and designer of terrariums, says the group has given her a sense of belonging and a strong friendship network.
“I love it. It’s my life,” she smiles.
“I lost my husband three years ago, and the friends I’ve made through being involved in the craft cottage really got me through his illnesses and passing. They’re a really lovely group of people.”
It seems this sentiment is shared by all 25 members of the group.
The Avalon Craft Cottage will be setting up three stalls at St Ives Shopping Village from September 2 to 8, and will be at Warriewood Square from October 21 to 27.
Locals wishing to support the group or take home a unique gift or homeware can head to the village and purchase from the array of handcrafted items.
Local artists and craftspeople interested in potentially joining the group are encouraged to contact Maureen on 9999 3703for further information, or visit avaloncraftcottage.com.au