I'm a freelance writer who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. I enjoy finding new things to see and do in the beautiful area that I live in.
It seems you can have festivals for just about anything nowadays, and this has never been more evident than with the recent exhibition of The Journey Scarf Festival, which is being held at the National Wool Museum in Geelong from June 16 to September 2, 2012.
Yes, the humble neck-warmer of winter has made its mark in the world of festivals - not only are scarves here to accessorise and keep us warm, but they are obviously also here to be celebrated and nurtured into an icon worthy of the top-floor gallery in the local museum.
With 275 handcrafted scarves on display, The Journey Scarf Festival is, indeed, a celebration of scarves and neckwear finery, but it is also a competition, with all of the scarves judged within 12 different categories, including Best Thematic Scarf, Best Use of Colours, and Best Knitted Scarf, amongst others. There is also a category for primary school age children, and I have to admit, many of their entries far surpass the quality you would expect from a person of their age. You only have to look at the entry that won this category to appreciate that these young people know how to get creative. Of course, if you disagree with the judges' choices, there is also a People's Choice Award, giving you the opportunity to vote for what you believe is the best scarf in this unique exhibition.
Inspired by the 2012 theme, The Journey, many of these scarves have a story to tell. Each artisan has given a little synopsis about their creation, which is displayed above their scarf, and tells us a bit about the travels, holidays and personal journeys that inspired each piece. Also mentioned are the materials used to create each scarf, which vary enormously. Just walking around the displays, I saw scarves fashioned from wool, shells, wire, beads, buttons, felt, gumnuts, towelling, pearls, photos and even bubble wrap.
There are also craft demonstrations running daily throughout the festival, allowing us the opportunity to see some interesting displays of artistic prowess. Among the demonstrations listed in the program are basket weaving, embroidery, felting, 3D knitting, and even barbed-wire sculpting (which not only sounds like an exceptionally unique art-form, but also potentially painful if you happen to get caught on it).
Some of the winners of 2012- You can see the rest of the winning and commended designs on the National Wool Museum website. www.nwm.vic.gov.au.
Most of the scarves on display are for sale (although you can't take them home until after the festival is over) and prices range from approximately $30 to $300. This is a fantastic opportunity to pick up a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, possibly award-winning scarf, which you can wear with pride as you traverse the streets in these cold winter months.