Back in February 2016 I went to the Mathoura fishing classic with my husband and a group of friends. Mathoura is a little town in NSW about half way between Echuca and Deniliquin.
One of my good friends KA, is Regional Arts Development Officer at South West Arts which is the peak body for arts and cultural development in the south-west of New South Wales.
So the Mathoura Fishing Classic is a great weekend away every year, camping on the Murray River, fishing and having a catch up with friends. On one particular day it was getting quite festive and me and KA started talking business and came up with this fantastic idea to cover a ute in fabric for the Deni Ute Muster which is on the last weekend of September.
With decided, KA sent me a big box of old fabric and off I went to start researching how we could make this look like a fantastic and vibrant ute. Trawling through pinterest I found yoyo’s an old quilting technique used to make use of scraps of material. I thought this was a great idea and found the biggest yoyo template I could and started my career as a yoyo maker.
It was in April when I started making yoyos, it was relaxing and thought I would definitely be able to make enough by the time the Deni Ute Muster rolled around. I think I had made around 800 yoyos before I got the ute measurements in August and realized I needed well over 2000. So I called in the big guns. KA had some volunteers, I roped my husband in, my mum, my best friend, her mother in law, her auntie and pretty much anyone who came over to our house had a crack at making at least one yoyo!
I think we got to around 2500 yoyo’s two weeks prior to the Deni Ute Muster. Approximately 1900 of which I had handmade myself.
So with our 2500 yoyo’s Carlin my best friend and I set to work connecting all the yoyos together in panels. Just a 9 hour straight sewing session, no big deal ha ahhh….
If you haven’t heard of the Deni Ute Muster it is a weekend long festival that over 20,000 people attend with country music (the headlining act this year was Keith Urban), they try to break the world record each for the most blue singlet’s worn. There is whip cracking, wood chopping, rodeo and most importantly UTES! There are ute races, circle work, hotted up utes and pretty much everyone who attends the Ute Muster arrives in a ute of course!
The day before the ute muster opened was our day to attach all the yoyo’s to the ute, so with the help of Carlin, KA and another colleague of her Spencer we went down to the site to begin to attach our yoyo’s to old Toyota Hilux ute.
In the wind and the rain, mud and the freezing cold we set out with rattle gun and screws, glue gun and double sided tape. I think it took about 6 hours to attach all of the yoyos, it definitely felt heaps longer because of the weather though. It was FREEZING!
The next day we were there at 5am to spruik the ute! The Channel 9 Today show was filming from the Ute Muster and all stands and stalls had to be set up so that they could come and film us. Well this wasn’t the case. It was too cold and muddy for the hosts apparently, so they didn’t come down and see the stall holders. We were there just to stand in the cold and eat toasted sandwiches and drink coffee. Ha ha, that’s showbiz!!
Needless to say Friday was a long day; again it was cold, wet and windy. Once we got over having to be there from 5 in the morning we got amongst it. Pod Casts, interviews with local papers, photo’s for magazines, and everyone who passed the ute took their photo with it. Carlin and I felt the Deni ute muster vibe so much we bought our own cowboy hats! We were making people smile and it was awesome! I’ve never felt like that before, something that I had worked so hard to make was making people smile as soon as they saw the ute and it gave me the warm and fuzzies inside even though outside was cold wet and our gumboots were in 3inches of mud!
A massive thanks has to go out to Carlin and her positive pants. KA and the team at South West Arts for helping out and volunteering their time and fabric remnants! My husband and Mark for not divorcing us for spending more time with yoyo’s than them and our families for about a month prior to the Ute Muster. Sheep and Anne for such wonderful hospitality – as always. Every friend and family member that made a yoyo or more – you know who you are and you know you are awesome!