For women who live in rural and remote parts of Australia, getting together to socialise can be difficult. More so if they want to learn a new skill or explore new creative interests.

But a grant from Highways and Byways meant that the Weemalah branch of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) could engage regional silversmith Skye Bragg to tutor six women in the design and creation of silver jewellery.

With the Australian landscapes as their inspiration, the two-day workshop taught the women how to use various tools and processes to cut, shape and mould silver into beautiful rings, bangles, earrings and necklaces. Each woman left with several unique, handcrafted items.

Weemelah is a town of 140 people in far north New South Wales, which has endured over eight years of sustained drought. For the women of the local CWA this has been tough, and any opportunity to step away from the stresses of day-to-day life is welcomed. And it is not often that activities of this nature are offered in this region.

CWA member Libby McPhee reported that the impact of the Covid19 pandemic added to the isolation women in this region were experiencing. “After an extensive period of being isolated because of the Covid pandemic, it was wonderful for women to get together. Being creative and stepping outside the usual world was so invigorating and motivating”.