ON A FRIDAY in Townsend, the sounds of saws and lathes echo through the air as a committed group work on projects and learn more about the art of working with wood.

To join them you must wear a pink shirt, and be female.

The Women's Shed runs Friday morning under the umbrella of the Clarence River U3A, and for founding member Doreen Plymin it was a simple idea three years that formed the splinter group.

"I used to a lot of work with patchwork and other crafts, and a lot of the ladies would say I wish there was a place we could make picture frames and other objects," she said.

"Then the penny dropped to come out to the Men's Shed and see if we could start something up for the women.

"We had to have at least six in the group to start us off, and once we had that, the Friday was available to use the shed and it started."

Members of the CRU3A Women's Shed gather together for a quick picture before working on their project in the Townsend workshop.
Members of the CRU3A Women's Shed gather together for a quick picture before working on their project in the Townsend workshop. Adam Hourigan

The group numbers more than 20 each week now, and Doreen said it is word of mouth that has built the group.

"We've got a new lady who's arrived this morning, and she's come with a friend who started the previous week," she said.

"A lot of people tell us they're surprised that something like this exists."

New members are helped through the basics of working with wood, and regular workshops are held to introduce members to new techniques.

"We start most people on building a toolbox, so they get used to using hammers, nails and cutting," Doreen said.

"But we've got members who make beautiful pens and bowls on the lathes, or restore furniture they bring in."

Doreen said members of the Men's Shed who come in to mentor the ladies were fantastic teachers, and were often amazed at some of the work being produced.

"We're all about expanding our knowledge here, and learning different techniques and methods," she said.

"And I'm just wrapped the group has continued on. The feeling of creating something and finishing a project is just wonderful."

The women in action at the CRU3a Women's Shed on Friday.
The women in action at the CRU3a Women's Shed on Friday. Adam Hourigan


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