Category Archives: Craft

My Crown of Weeds

My Crown of Weeds.


On foraging and making videos

From Alex and Clare 🙂


Pioneers from vdmalex on Vimeo.


2010 we attended a ‘Weed Tour’ of Sydney Park, hosted by local artist Diego Bonetto as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s major exhibition ‘In The Balance: Art for a Changing World’. Diego introduced us to his friends – dandelion, wild mustard, sowthistle and more, unjustly categorised as weeds despite their various culinary and medicinal values. We came to understand these species not as weeds, but as Pioneers, colonising and breaking the bare ground left exposed by human intervention.

We came to appreciate our local environment in a new light – seeing every verge, every overgrown lot, every forgotten space as bountiful gardens and potential smorgasbords. We set out on our bikes to see what edible goodies we could find.

Alex Papasavvas and Clare Devlin-Mahoney.

Please note that we had positively identified each plant species as safe prior to consumption. Don’t eat anything unless you know exactly what it is. and be careful of polluted or contaminated soil

on How To Make Soap with Plantain

this is a step-by-step photo essay on how to make soap using ribwort plantain as ingredient (plantago lanceolata)
by Lisa, thanks for sharing 🙂

on the Soap Tree

as we talk soap-making Vicky shared a story:
“On the subject of soap and plants, are you familiar with the soap tree? We used to use the leaves to wash our hands when we were kids, playing in the bush near our house.”
“Soap tree? I don’t know that one. do you have an image?”
“I just googled it. Botanical name is Alphitonia excelsa, common name red ash. It’s a rather undistinguished-looking tree: leaves are oval, shiny dark green on one side, and silvery on the underside. The leaves contain saponin, and new growth smells like sarsaparilla. Apparently the fruits have been used medicinally by the aboriginals, but I only know its use of leaves as soap.”

On How To Make Dandelion Infused Oil

This is a great introduction to making infused oils from your fresh herbs. Dandelion oil smells like summertime and is great for aching muscles and joints.


Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 30 minutes, then 2 weeks

Here’s How:

Pick one glass container full of dandelion blossoms.
Pour olive oil over blossoms until they are fully covered.
Using a wooden handle of a kitchen utensil, or a chopstick,
carefully poke the mixture to remove air bubbles.
Cover glass container with a breathable lid, such as a
coffee filter or woven cloth, held on with a rubber band.
Place in sun to steep for a minimum of 2 weeks.

Strain and keep in a cool, dark place.

What You Need
Glass container
Breathable lid, such as a coffee filter or woven cloth

On how to make a bark Canoe

Historians Jim Walliss and instigator Diego Bonetto collaborate with artists Steve Russell and Noel Lonesborough from Boolarng Nangamai Aboriginal Corporation to tackle the challenge of making a traditional (Aboriginal) Jervis Bay canoe from the bark of a stringybark tree sourced on the Bundanon property.

The canoe was constructed in eight hours – following clear directions provided by Maritime Architect Davis Payne from the National Maritime Museum, and contemporary marine artist James Dodd who had constructed two canoes in 2010. The Siteworks bark canoe was made from traditional materials (with a little help from a Bunnings vice), including string from the stringybark tree and beeswax and resin from the grass tree. It was then launched as part of Siteworks 2011 on the Shoalhaven River.

Allegra’s Wild Story

Allegra telling the story of shooting plantain’s seed heads (plantago lanceolata) as she learned at school