Storytelling, Stylish and Sustainable: Cushions by Parklands Students

Storytelling, Stylish and Sustainable: Cushions by Parklands Students

Students from Parklands Christian College have produced a magnificent display of talent and diversity through cushions that tell their family stories, which also happen to be good for the planet.

The cushions were created by Year Nine Food and Textiles Technology students this term as part of a unit called ‘Tell Me Your Story’ where they were encouraged to express themselves creatively, using recycled textiles as a medium. 

From cultural heritage, to treasured family memories and activities, it was all on display. 

Food and Textiles Technology teacher Janelle Hughes, says she is extremely proud of the designs the students created through their cushions.

“I think what the students did in such a short period of time was absolutely amazing and so creative as well. The skills they were able to use and extend in that process were absolutely amazing,” Mrs Hughes said. 

Among the many students’ creations, was one cushion decorated in Indigenous dot painting by student Jada Miller, which she says was a homage to her Indigenous heritage.

“My dad is Aboriginal which is where my culture came from, and he does dot painting which I knew I wanted to include in my design,” Jada said. 

“I used pieces of Indigenous fabric I got from a relative’s store. Then I used my dad’s dot painting pens and his paint to create the dot paintings on the outside of the patchwork design.

“I feel great about how my cushion turned out. I think it successfully demonstrated my culture and my background. I love the patterns and the way it looked all put together.” 

jada and her pillow
Jade Miller with her cushion

Mrs Hughes says another cushion designed by student Maaka Ngapo, was tribute to his Australian and New Zealand cultural heritage and his family’s shared love of soccer. 

“Maaka’s family is from New Zealand so he included some traditional maori fabric that his mother had in the cupboard for many years,” Mrs Hughes said. 

“He also said that because he was born in Australia, he included the Australian flag. He talked about the fact that he liked to play soccer and that was a part of their family as well.”

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Maaka Ngapo with his cushion

Student  Paige Scott, created a cushion that symbolises the tight bond of her family, through both it’s design and the materials that were used to create it. 

“She did a hand embroidery to outline the image of a mother and a child on black fabric, then on the back put a doily that had been donated by a local family to tie in with the family on the front,” Mrs Hughes said. 

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Paige Scott’s cushion

Then there was Natalin Amare’s cushion, which features an African woman’s silhouette applique to represent her family background, made from scrap materials donated by a local family. 

Mrs Hughes said this design was ‘absolutely beautiful.’ 

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Natalin Amare and her cushion

Lastly, we can’t forget Priya Jaga-Abeyasekera’s cushion created with an old t-shirt which sports a humorous catchphrase from the movie Dirty Dancing; ‘Nobody puts baby in a corner,’ which Mrs Hughes says Priya and her family have watched together multiple times.

“Priya and her family like watching movies together so that was the connection to her family story,” Mrs Hughes said. 

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Priya Jaga-Abeyasekera’s cushion

See more of the students amazing cushions below:

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Yellow ribbon cushion; Gabriella Neil, horse cushion; Savannah Sirvio, apron cushion; Lara Anderson, dog cushion; Samantha Stark.
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Olympic cushion: Marlon Moses, cricket cushion; Austin Cresswell, Dog paw cushion; Chelsea Johnson, Australian flag cushion; Georgia Devine.
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Gabriella Neil and her cushion

Mrs Hughes says it was important to highlight sustainability throughout the project, as she wants to encourage a more circular economy. 

“I think today, sustainability across the board is really important to teach students, to reuse, recycle, don’t waste,” Mrs Hughes said.  

Food and Textiles Technology teacher Dianne Furlonger says the unit’s focus on storytelling was in part inspired by traditional Indigenous practices. 

“Indigenous people use storytelling as a method of sharing and collecting history to pass on to future generations,” Mrs Furlonger said. 

“The unit was tied into this and allows students the opportunity to explore their culture and diversity while developing and extending on textiles skills.”

Parklands Christian College aims to foster creativity and inspire excellence in their students in every subject and discipline. Read about their talented music students here.