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Chair Report 2023

Woven AGM 2022/23
Chairperson's Report
24th October 2023

Dear Woven Members,
It’s a pleasure to present this years’ chairperson’s report which hopefully illustrates our journey of growth and community-building since our last AGM in July 2022. 

To start out this eventful period, we welcomed four new committee members– Julie, Peta, Olivia, and Phili – bolstering our remarkable team of women to a total of ten.

Woven in July saw our very own Michelle and Cara expertly facilitate macrame keychain making and
coaster weaving workshops. After a brief hiatus in August and September, we resumed our activities in
October at the Cowaramup Community Garden, where the talented print-master Francesco Geronazzo led an inspiring Mono printing workshop.

In November, a pivotal moment unfolded as we held our first Woven Calendar planning meeting. We
successfully drafted the entire calendar of events for the upcoming year, marking a significant shift in our approach to planning. These planning meetings will now occur bi-annually, enhancing our operational efficiency.

Over time, we've realised that our workshops are most effective with around 15 participants. This optimal size allows for a more intimate and engaging experience, facilitating deeper connections.
While the Cowaramup District Social Club remains a wonderful venue for larger community events, our
smaller workshop sizes have prompted us to explore alternative venues better suited to our offerings.
We made several important decisions, including to offer one craft and one well-being workshop each
month, with a set price of an additional $15 per workshop for non-members. Furthermore, we resolved
not to reintroduce studio sessions until we secure a dedicated Woven hub, which remains a core part of
our long-term vision.

December brought the popular Christmas wreath-making workshop at the District Club, with flower
powerhouses Kat Harris and Jay Yorke once again leading the way. Victoria Robertson also held a puppet
Angel making workshop at the Cowie Community Garden.

Woven began the new year with a Posca pen art session at Montague Estate, guided by Carol Seeley, and
powerful journal writing session with Kate Howell. In February, a captivating music, paint, and inspiration-filled event took place in a private Cowie garden to ignite excitement for our Community Art Exhibition.

The rest of the summer was packed with diverse events, including a Body Talk group session with Melia
Brentwhite, Botanical embroidery with Peta Lierich, Polymer Clay earrings with Nikki Larsen, and a
Meditation session conducted by Jean-Michel David.

In March, we had the privilege of hosting author Greg Campbell, who discussed his thought-provoking
book 'Total Reset' under the trees in Pioneer Park, drawing over 50 attendees.

April 1st marked a significant milestone for Woven as we hosted our first Wooden Block Community Art
Exhibition, with the theme; Elements. This one-night-only fundraising event was a huge success all round and feedback from the community was extremely positive. We showcased over 190 wooden blocks, with 170 of them selling during the evening, resulting in a profit of $8400. Moving forward we plan to make this type of exhibition event our major fundraising effort every two years.

April, May, and June were filled with a wide range of workshops, including a kids beaded bag tags,
crocheting Tunisian scarves with Michelle Bretherton, song writing with Nikki Sandover, and watercolor
mandalas with Asha-Lily. Issy Downie's Vulva and Vino event returned for another sell-out evening of entertainment and education.

We also held a macrame plant hanger workshop with Lucy Gouws at Duggan pavilion and a screening of
the documentary;Black Cockatoo Crisis’ at the District Club, where we raised over $200 for the Karak Bird
Rescue Centre through raffle tickets sales of donated ‘Black Cocky’ wines and lolly bags from Candy Cow.
As the financial year concluded, Stacey Hutt from the Collab Effect conducted an invaluable Strategic
planning meeting with us, helping Woven shape a co-created vision for the next five years. The Operational Business Plan generated from that consultation will be an invaluable tool for us to work with into the future and we are very grateful for Stacey’s assistance with this.

In July and August, we took a two-month break, which may become a yearly rhythm. During this time,
Michelle and Cara presented their Shire-funded Weaving Stories of Boodja Exhibition at the Heart,
showcasing family workshops held throughout 2022 in Cowaramup. This partnership has been a great
success, and Woven is proud to auspice and support the girls and their programs. We are also the auspice for their Cowara Bird Project; a colourful dance performance set for November in Cowaramup Park.

Woven events resumed in September, with a documentary screening of ‘Tender’ and a coaster weaving
workshop with Michelle. October brought two well-timed workshops for spring, Forest Bathing; with Jaqueline Nichol and ;String and Cordage Making; with Cynamon Aeria held in the Community Garden.

Looking Ahead
As we look to the year ahead, Woven is brimming with potential. At the time of writing, we have 89
members and a strong committee of 10 women who are all re-nominating for the coming year, along with 6 additional nominees. We are optimistic that with implementation of procedural templates, meeting planning and more refined systems and processes we will continue to thrive. 

Our decision to discontinue our partnership with the Cowaramup District Social Club membership,
primarily due to us conducting most of our workshops in alternative locations, has resulted in the $35
annual membership fee now exclusively contributing to the sustainability of Woven as a non-profit

This cash injection has been timely as we have encountered rising operational expenses this year,
particularly in insurance, due to the incorporation of our health and well-being activities.
Conversations have commenced, but decisions are yet to be made regarding the possibility of
compensating artists for workshop leadership. We're also exploring the potential of securing paid support to alleviate the time-consuming administrative responsibilities essential for sustaining Woven. Just last week we have obtained Shire grant funding to cover 25% of our operational expenses for the next three years and the funding could assist with the previously mentioned costs.
It is hoped that we are then able to channel a larger portion of our own fundraising proceeds into
imaginative community projects and also allocate a portion of these savings toward realizing our enduring vision of having a dedicated space of our own.

I’d like to now extend sincere gratitude to our volunteer facilitators and helpers who have shared their
talents and support, making our events possible. We cannot operate without your contributions and we
appreciate every single one of you.


A huge heartfelt thank you to our current committee for their unwavering dedication and enthusiasm.
Woven would not be the organisation it is without you incredible women.
Shelley Genis
Nicky Sandover
Michelle Bretherton
Cara Ratajcak
Julie Petersen
Peta Lierich
Olivia Knowles
Beth Bridson
and Fiona King -the superstar who jumped on board mid-year to assist Michelle with the secretary role. A special thank you also must go to Kate Tarrant, a past Woven committee member, who has remained a
huge line of support to Nicky in her treasury role.

To all new nominees, thank you so much for jumping aboard! We are super excited about the future of
Woven with so many new faces and I have no doubt you’ll enjoy being part of the amazing team of super

And of course, we thank all our members. We hope you will continue to be part of the Woven journey, as
we evolve and grow into our greater vision, while having lots of fun and banter along the way.
Lastly, on a personal note as I step down from Chair this year, I would like to acknowledge how remarkable the last 3 years have been. What was 3 years ago, a pipe dream, Woven has brought joy and depth to my life beyond words. For sure in a creative sense, but the biggest impact on me has been the friendships and connections that I’ve formed along the way. I have so much love and commitment to the Woven vision and what it stands for, and I’ve got no doubt that Woven will only continue to grow and thrive, which really is a testament to our amazing community and all the like-minds who live here. 

With the Warmest of Regards,
Alice Boyd
Chairperson 2022/23
Woven Cowaramup

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