TWICE a month, people from the Gunnedah area and beyond have been gathering to turn their hands to creative tasks most of them have never even thought of attempting.
Participants of all ages have been working with shards of tile, or weaving twine, or piecing together coloured glass, in workshops at furniture and decor store Sunburnt Treasures.
Owner Polly Montgomery said the events, partly funded through an Empowering Our Communities grant, were "about being creative and about socialising".
The grants of up to $50,000 were in the first round offered by Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (PHN) "to support farmers and communities during the big dry".
Eligible activities included community events or workshops; classes to improve physical and mental health, such as exercise, yoga or mindfulness; and education on topics such as managing stress, anxiety, depression and stigma.
Ms Montgomery said she applied because she believed creative pursuits could be a way to promote wellbeing during a tough time: the long and lingering drought.
With a funding contribution from the shop, she and guest tutors have been taking guests through creating mosaics; hanging plants encased in twine, called kokedamas; and leadlighting.
It has offered people the chance to spend time with others, boost their wellbeing and learn a new talent.
"I guess when people are feeling quite low, they tend to want to hide that and be brave," Ms Montgomery said.
"By presenting these wellness-type workshops under the guise of art and craft, it becomes [a way to] get the group together and start laughing and talking."
PHN is a not-for-profit organisation that consults communities to find out their needs and possible ways to fulfil them. The next round of the grants will open in late 2019 or early 2020.
- Ms Montgomery plans to take some workshops on the road; starting with Wee Waa in July. For details, call 0487 635 445