Crafters Unite Globally For Australian Wildlife

January 28, 2020

Image: Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild Facebook

It is difficult to watch the devastation families are subjected to from damaging bushfires spread across our wonderful Australian continent, let alone witness the helpless wildlife caught up in it all. 

Innocent and traumatised, unable to express their feelings nor cry out for help other than attempt to escape, our animals suffer in silence, maybe a whimper a sad expression reflected in their eyes. It is heartbreaking and everyone is affected around the world. 

Yet the Aussie community spirit rises to the occasion, it’s part of our heritage, something we do in times of crisis where biases and discrimination are pushed aside. A reminder how human compassion is powerful and diverse as it manifests in times of need.

But we are not alone and it is where social media can be a good thing. It has the ability to bring global awareness behind the scenes where people react well before the news reports are cast across our televisions. I am referring specifically to the arts and craft community. People making and creating in response to our call for help for our Australian wildlife. 

Global crafters have united and contributed. Who could have imagined there was such a demand for animal rescue good’s? I knew of people in the community ‘who made things’ for injured animals but had no idea how big it is, nor being a worldwide phenomenon. 

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are sharing imagines and videos of suffering wildlife and it has touched people’s hearts everywhere. Our koalas, kangaroos, flying fox, and millions of the small creatures such as bees and ground life we sometimes forget about either injured, displaced or destroyed. People from all over the world, USA, South America, Canada, UK, Europe, Asia to name a few have their needles, hooks and sewing machines out and are mass producing items to help wildlife affected by the bushfires. 

Image: Sompit Watkins‎ via Facebook

It was my friend Clare who lead me to Facebook’s Yarn Me Calm community based in Melbourne, Victoria and from there I found the Animal Rescue Craft Guild (ARCG). A public group created by the Animal Rescue Collective and as they say we have “a lot of crafty people” who make, design and recycle to produce products that help animal rescue. 

According to their Facebook page ARCG have 233,434 members and this will have changed by the time you read my column.  

On their page there is a Group tab that takes you to numerous other groups in Australia and other countries but I found their page had everything I was seeking. Volunteer crafters have access to templates, can make as many items as they like then send them to the rescue centres taking in animals. The centre has registered carers and when a request comes through the ARCG will review their stock of donations then issue a callout to the crafting community for specific items. 

The photos page has wonderful pictures of people working on their crafts and copies of free patterns. It is a wonderful page to browse through before deciding what to make. 

Image: Angela Smith via Facebook

As an example I found patterns for knitting or crocheting kangaroo joey pouches, nests for possums and groups of birds, sewing hanging day and night kangaroo bags, bat wraps, animal jumpers, blankets, kitten onesies. Sewn pouch liners are particularly important as they can be removed and rewashed rather than wash the complete pouch. A bit like the old fashioned liners for terry towelling baby nappies (for those old enough to know what I am talking about). I learnt that Joey’s are accustomed to their bathroom being in their mother’s pouch. 

I have to smile though, terminology can be confusing and crafters must establish if in US, English or Aussie terms, e.g. double crochet stitch in US is a treble stitch in Australia, this can make a difference in size and shape.

They also have callouts for animal beds, crates, containers and support equipment to help rescuers. 

The good thing is ARCG has regular updates on their needs, current situation, what they need the most both from Australia and internationally and what they have enough of. 

To access information, go to the Facebook page and see what I am talking about it is amazing. I also Googled Animal Rescue Craft Guild and the link took me directly to their Facebook page as well as Animal Rescue Collective/Animal Rescue Cooperative, their link is about supporting animal rescues for drop hubs, links and safe house locations. 

As an Aussie crafter I am grateful and thankful to my global crafting community, stitching together to support our cause.  We should never underestimate the human spirit, it simply comes down to one human being helping another, showing compassion and kindness, no matter where we live.

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