Weave a youth mentee. Interview with 21 year old Josh, Tasmania.

by Megan Bayliss | November 8, 2016 9:16 am

josh-irena-weavingYouth mentor (social work studentĀ and whispering wayfarer[1]), Irena Harrison, introduced her young mentee to weaving as a diversional therapy and social activity. Until recently, Irena and Josh would weave together at home and then go out for lunch...without their craft.

With craftivism[2] in mind, I encouraged the duo to take their weaving skills public: to vicariously educate about recycling single use plastic and to spread the contagion widely. Good old Facebook informed me that the bait was taken and diversional therapy married with cafe therapy to produce a publicly birthed woven offspring.

Josh is a 21-year-old, unemployed lad with dual citizenship. A citizen of the world, Josh was born in Florida (Dad is American, hence the dual citizenship), and he has also lived in the UK. Josh now lives with his Mum and sister in Tasmania.

josh-weavingJosh's weaving work is beautiful: neat, even and well creased. He is preferencing silver and white as colour combinations but is going to struggle with what to keep himself and what to gift to family.

Josh is adamantĀ that the world understand that recycling is important. He views his recycled craft as a demonstration that plastic bags be used for good and not hanging around in the street, up to no good and just waiting for an opportunity to foul up daily life.

I asked Josh for some words of encouragement for other young weavers: "Weaving plastic is a good way to keep you from getting bored and it is a good thing to do to help the environment." Touche <3

Josh's best tip for other single-use plastic weavers is to use decent dental floss when sewing rows together because the dental floss is strong and durable. Unfortunately, so are all those single use plastic packets we throw away so thank God for young people like Josh who are prepared to upcycle them into a saleable and giftable product.

A HUGE praise-up here to Josh's youth mentor, Irena. I was impressed not only by her excellent teaching but also by her respect and unconditional positive regard toward her client. Although she passed on her weaving skill and environmental knowledge to Josh she also allowed Josh to own the interview, discuss his understanding of plastic in the environment and pick the words to describe his journey as a single use plastic weaver. Take heed from her, other youth workers: let your young mentees own their successes and allow them to celebrate their wins without sticking your noses in.

I'm off to talk more garbage now. Hope you do the same. Mxxxxxxxxxx

Endnotes:
  1. and whispering wayfarer: https://whisperingwayfarer.wordpress.com/
  2. craftivism: http://thejunkwave.com/craftivism-the-art-of-craft-and-activism/
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