Earlier this year, Outback Arts and ‘The Hatmobile’ embarked on a tour of the region, delivering a free two day millinery workshop and artist talk led by world renowned milliner Waultraud Reiner. Following the success of its debut in 2014, the ‘Hats off to Outback Women 2015’ tour hit the road again providing an inclusive artistic experience while raising awareness and support for Mental Health in severely drought affected communities. The focus of the project was on engaging rural women in the skills of hat-making and bringing disadvantaged communities a new exciting artistic opportunity. There was also an evening talk open to the whole community, about overcoming adversity and raising awareness of mental health through positive engagement.
Waltraud employs a philosophy of positive mental health through creativity. She believes that hats are more than just shelter for the head; they are a powerful means of self-expression. She has the ability to inspire those that she works with, encouraging others to look after their mental health, and embrace a positive lifestyle. The transformation that this burst of creativity and socialising gave the ladies was amazing to watch. Over the two days even the worry of drought seemed to melt away, if only for a short while. One lady summed it up beautifully when she exclaimed ‘this has put colour and fun back into my year’.
Waltraud herself has a unique story to tell as she has had her fair share of things go wrong in her life. Many would say it is bad luck, but she says, ‘All kinds of things happen to good people. It’s what you do when they happen that matters. And this project certainly mattered to a lot of women in our region doing it tough.