Connecting to Boodja with Wardandi Custodians & Elaine Clocherty

We are still buzzing with excitement from our last workshop Connecting to Boodja which saw guest Artist & Wardandi Elder Vivian Brockman, Artist & Wardandi custodian Mitchella Hutchins and Land Artist Elaine Clocherty join our creative programme. For those that are unfamiliar with Noongar language, the term Boodjais the word for country. This meaning is all encompassing including the whole ecosystem and human culture interwoven. Mitchella also mentioned that the term Boodja can refer to the creation of something new which is why it has been perfect for our project name Weaving Stories of Boodja. To be joined by these three strong, incredible and creative women made this workshop an extra special one. This is how the afternoon unfolded…

Vivian Brockman, Mitchella Hutchins & Elaine Clocherty

The sun came out, as Wardandi elder Vivian Brockman (known as Dwardinan) ceremoniously mapped out the outline of the ephemeral Artwork with sand onto the earth. Families started to fill the garden and watched with wonder ‘what will we be creating today?’, this was slowly being revealed. Elaine Clocherty, surrounded by overflowing baskets of collected Banksia nuts, Karri bark and other fallen bush treasures carefully started to create feather shapes with fallen Red Flowering Gum blossoms.

We acknowledged the country of the Wardandi people that we were standing on the land of the salt water people, then Mitchella Hutchins led the excited group through surrounding bushland to share her knowledge of bush tucker and medicinal plants and trees. Children’s voices joined the rhythmic sounds of Mitchella’s clapping sticks as she taught the group some touching Wardandi songs. Singing voices could still be heard back at the garden as the creativity began.

As the Red Tailed Cockatoo’s flew over the gardens, children’s and adult’s hands carefully pressed clay into feather shapes then decorated these with Sheoak, Karri and other native nuts. These were gently placed into the large artwork with other fallen bush materials to what manifested into a large and incredible Tawny Frogmouth bird. There were baskets and baskets of collected natural materials to choose from all separated into their variety, green Marri nuts in one basket, smooth Marri nuts in another, cracked Marri nuts and bird chewed Marri nuts all found their place. All of these items added to the various colours and textures that families could choose from to work with. Children also added their own extra special collected bush treasures into the Artwork which even included a fallen nest, and a part of a beehive making this Artwork just that extra bit special.

The creative process was a large part of the enjoyment of the Artwork as the hands of children, parents, grandparents, friends, Artists and Wardandi custodians all worked as one and shared this creative space together. As all things in nature this Artwork will exist for a moment in time to be enjoyed for it’s beauty and then will wash away with the rain and wind and return back to the earth.

As the larger Tawny Frogmouth started to create shape, families also enjoyed working with their children to create small sculpted clay owls and nature mandalas. These little owls had a personality all of their own, with one little owl even featuring nine legs! So beautiful.


This is one of 20 creative workshops taking place throughout 2022 in the Cowaramup Community Garden which are based upon the notion of connecting to community, connecting to family and connecting to our natural surrounds. We look forward to seeing you at a creative session soon.

“Thank you to Kendra Benson Photography & Ron Andrew drone photography for capturing the essence of the workshop.”

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