JCis a metal worker and owns their own 'shed'. They trained 20 years ago as a set builder at WAAPA and graduated as a carpenter/welder. They currently trades at Strategic Arts Services and has a workshop in Welshpool. JC prioritises hiring women, cis, trans and non-binary folk as well as intersectional people who face other barriers to accessing skills that are traditionally considered 'masculine’. They're also currently reconfiguring their workshop so they can offer short course training that is accessible for the disabled community. JC's interest in the Women's Shed is from the other side, as a someone who has skills and want to share them. We spoke with JC about what the prospect of a Women's Shed means to them... "I've always been a very visual hands-on person. My brain works better when I'm on my feet and doing things, it really helps with processing my thinking. We humans function better when we are working with our hands. I'm not sure if there is some kind of scientific evidence for that statement, but I really think there is something there. Making gives you such a huge sense of fulfilment. Just being able to grab a piece of paper and design something, then to make it, and then to go "Sh*t, I did this". As humans I think we are geared to that sort of thing. Women are really disenfranchised in this area and men get far more opportunities in this area." JC has had some frustrating experiences over the years working in male dominated workshops. They found it difficult to learn new skill sets as asking for help often resulted in having the job done for them, instead of shown to them. "You need people [in the shed] to show you how things are done. I know a lot of women who have been interested and capable in doing this kind of stuff, but are put off because they don't feel confident. I've seen people flourish in spaces where they aren't afraid to fail and are encouraged."
This is Olive
Olive Gill-Hille is an artist and designer living and working in the Fremantle area. She specialises in functional artworks, ethically sourcing materials from interesting locations. Olive is excited by the idea of the Women's Shed, which would enable her to access new skills and equipment. I met with Olive to talk about power tool empowerment ... "It's in our nature as humans to want to use our hands and to make things. Having an end product, having something solid that I can see and touch, be proud of.... it feels very grounding. Having these skills and equipment and being able to manoeuvre large bits of timber makes me feel strong. Being an artist can be very solitary work, I like the idea of being able to go to a dedicated space and learn with other people and bounce off the energy of a community that is making. Coming from the eastern states, there are a lot of spaces that allow people to work and collaborate together. I think when you are making things, you learn so much through other people. There aren't many spaces in Perth right now that allow women to do that, especially when it comes to learning skills with power tools. Learning new skills is such a big part of creating and being an artist, as well as having the right resources, and the right people around to help, teach and collaborate with.” "As an emerging artist, I think having access to larger, more expensive equipment would be so helpful. There are processes in my work that require machinery that I currently don’t have access to. I predominantly use hand tools and smaller machinery and have to outsource some elements that I would rather do myself. If there was a space that allowed me (and others) to share and explore equipment and processes I think it would give me more autonomy over my work”
This is Fran
Fran is a fan of the power tool and has a genuine drive to learn more about the processes of making. Pictured are her first year architecture students making wax and sand site models of Victoria Quay in Fremantle and one of her own furniture pieces completed while she was a student herself. "When I was a kid, I remember seeing my brother play with this plywood. He just got out dad's jigsaw and he cut out all these pieces and made this jigsaw table. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever and wished I could join in and do something like that. I guess... I was always quite intimidated by the tools and the tools shed - it was more of a 'thing' for my older brother as he always knew what he was doing because was so clever, and I didn't really have the confidence to go do it myself. Then I started uni and all I wanted to do was this furniture subject in my final semester so I could get into the workshop. It was everything I imagined it to be and more - so much fun running around the workshop with all the tools at my fingertips. I remember feeling quite safe in that space as well and quite empowered by the ability to use the tools. The best part was when I used the tools - to make the tools - to make the thing that you want at the end - which is a huge important part of the process, that might otherwise be overlooked." NEXT- Linda from Hi-Vis Women will talk about her journey and her thoughts on the under-representation of women in construction. Fellow shedders - until next time. Women's Shed Movement WA ✊
This is Carol
Carol was reluctant to let me take her photo today in spite the fact she is the driving force propelling the incipient first Womens Shed of WA. Carol runs at 110%, 100% of the time and simply gets sh*t done. Without Carol, the dream for a shed would remain a dream ! WSMWA has been quiet since Christmas due to Carol's unending schedule, but we're back with an exciting new year that will hopefully include the official (or unofficial) opening of an original, built for purpose, community Women's Shed. If you're interested in getting involved, the first meeting of 2021 will run at 7:30pm on Tuesday the 16th of February (and every fortnight after that) at the SHAC, 3 Cower Mews, White Gum Valley. We'd love to meet our fellow Shedhers!