My love of cooking and hosting began long ago when I was a child. As a four year old I would set up a cafe, don my apron and serve rust tea from my tin tea-set, to my two brothers. I remember distinctly the day I lost the ‘illusion of control’. This particular tea party saw my brothers both decide they had had enough of being patient customers and walk out!!
Unperturbed, I continued to hone my hosting and cooking skills and went on to love both home economics and sewing at school. (I think they are called food technology and textiles now). My first sewing project in Form One Vermont High (now year Seven) was to make an apron with my name embroidered on it. I loved making that apron and still wear it today. I am in that apron, in the photo above. Though I had to take the hem down, as it was very short. (I hate to think how short my school uniform was!)
I cut a pattern from that apron many years ago and began sewing aprons as presents for my friends; maybe you have one or two. If you would like to, I would love you to email a photo of you in your apron so I share them.
I embroider names on them and at times theme them with Australian animals for overseas friends. I really enjoy making these aprons and friends tell me they like wearing them. Embroidering descriptive names on them helps remind me and maybe others too, of our connection and how appreciative I am of their friendship. I am so thankful to friends, my mum and teachers who have given me ideas, inspired me and taught me these skills.
Over the past year my apron production has reoriented to be part of POM. I still make the aprons, only now I buy them from my little POM shop, here at home, and put the profits into POM. This means I can still do what I love to do and help support the work of my friend Tenzin Lektron and the Kandy Women’s Development Centre (WDC) in Sri Lanka.
The Women's Development Centre in Kandy provides a home and support for women who have suffered sexual abuse, incest and physical abuse. Many of them are pregnant and lactating mothers. When we were there there were 47 women and 9 babies safely housed and supported there. As well as a home the women have access to health services, education and some training at the Centre.
The training at the centre includes weaving, broom making, cooking and sewing. I brought some of their beautiful handmade products while there and plan to sell these and give them as gifts in my little POM shop and on-line in the future. I have ordered some of their products, which will be arriving with the directors brother when he comes to Australia in May.
The wonderful work of the staff and deep respect, support, optimism, love, friendliness and compassion amongst all there was so heart warming. It was so good, inspiring and humbling to see the women and staff there supporting and caring for each other during pregnancy, child-care and their developing education and skills. It is exciting and such a privilege to have formed this connection with the WDC and to have the opportunity to work together with them and Tenzin Lekdron.
I was recently reminded of a quote, I love and try to remember. "If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." These inspiring, wise words are by by Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, activist and educator from Queensland, Australia. This quote reminds me we are all in this together and it is through working and connecting together, we can liberate each other.
My recent trip to Sri Lanka and the visit to the Women’s Refuge Centre (WDC) has provided a wonderful opportunity to work with the women at the WDC and yet another interesting apron twist. I have ordered hand woven fabric aprons, woven and sewn by the women at the WDC. These aprons will have the 'Sri-Sisters' brand. They will be arriving in May.
In the meantime I will continue to make the aprons here and sell them to others and myself too, in support of the WDC. Over Christmas some friends ordered aprons and I happily made them and some profits for POM, supporting Tenzin Lekdron and the WDC. I love the fact the aprons have a story to tell and that, that story will involve others at the WDC even more in the near future. It is very exciting and I am very thankful for the support of others.
If you would like to order an apron for yourself or a friend I would be happy to make it for you. Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you re fabric, names etc. and then get to work. In the following weeks I am planning to get the POM Melbourne Online shop happening and will be putting the aprons for sale on there too.
I am also planning a future workshop, so you can learn to sew your own apron too. Will keep you posted.
Thank you for your continued support and friendship
Kind Regards and Best Wishes