Migrants creating together

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by Alexia Johnston

Intricate earrings, bracelets and necklaces are bringing migrants together in Timaru.

The jewelled pieces have been carefully crafted by members of the Aoraki Migrant Centre as a way of giving back to the group after it assisted them in their time of need.

Among those who have created the many items is Euna Lee, of South Korea.

“It’s good when people like my jewellery,” she said.

However, it has not always been an easy process for Ms Lee.

She said that at the start, she found jewellery-making “very difficult”, but she had improved over time and now enjoyed the process.

Her friend Felly Cerniches, of the Philippines, agreed.

“I didn’t enjoy it the first time, but I enjoy it now because now I can make earrings, bracelets and necklaces. So, I now know I have a talent.”

The process involves taking small components, including beads from old jewellery, and creating something new, with the addition of new hooks and clasps.

The project has brought migrants together each Friday, from 10am to noon, at Community House, where they can chat and learn from each other.

Centre manager Rosie Knoppel initiated the project after turning colourful coffee capsules into earrings and necklaces.

“Because we had to buy all the components to put them together, somehow .. it emerged into all jewellery.”

The group asked for donations of old jewellery so they could use the beads and the concept has been growing ever since.

“It started from there and then we realised people were very creative,” Mrs Knoppel said. “You wouldn’t even guess they were recycled.”

She said the creativity emerging from the workshops was impressive.

“They have so many different talents and views on things.”

Their creations will be on sale at Community House today and tomorrow, with the aim of raising money.

“It will allow us to buy more components like hooks for earrings and clasps, [as] they need to be new for hygiene reasons,” Mrs Knoppel said.