This year’s Queenscliff-Point Lonsdale Uniting Church’s tea cosy exhibition made even more of a splash than normal.
Visitors to the exhibition, located on the coastal tourist resort destination of the Bellarine Peninsula, were greeted by the sight of a suspended two-metre papier-mache whale presiding over a school of clown-fish tea cosies.
The underwater scene gave way to a boat on the sea shore and deck chairs under a beach umbrella with the assembled cosies and other knitted items largely embracing the beach and sea theme.
Queenscliff minister Rev Kerrie Lingham said her favourite cosy was an “exquisite and beautifully knitted” mermaid. She also enjoyed the seagull cosies, which proved popular.
There were some more traditional tea cosy designs, such as flower patterns, presented among the 100 items displayed at the eighth annual exhibition held over the weekend.
Ms Lingham is a member of the church community knitting group that created the cosies and woollen wear for the exhibition.
“Apart from enjoying knitting and each other’s company they are a group supporting the church,” she said.
The beach and seaside theme is one that the whole Queenscliff-Lonsdale church community has adopted throughout January under the guidance of the Spiritual Care Ministry Team.
A “grace wall” inside the church has been decorated in blue with sea shells and messages of grace.
There is also a prayer station with a bowl of sea glass, where Ms Lingham said people could toss “the things that are breaking their heart at the moment” into salty water.
Ms Lingham said that adopting a theme each year contributed to the tea cosy exhibition’s popularity.
“People don’t come just to see tables full of tea cosies, they actually come to see how the whole exhibition has been curated,” she said.
Entry to the event was free but the tea cosies were for sale and visitors could purchase a Devonshire tea to enjoy at tables interspersed with the exhibits.
“It’s a very chatty weekend, people hang around for ages just talking to each other and enjoying the space,” Ms Lingham said.
Attendance was good on the Friday and Sunday, although Saturday was quieter with the 44C day keeping many indoors.
Over 190 Devonshire teas were served and 80 tea cosies were sold.
However, Ms Lingham said that the event was not primarily intended as a fundraiser, with receipts only just covering the cost of wool and other overheads, but was part of the overall “seven-day-a-week” effort to make Queenscliff-Lonsdale a community and spirituality centre.
“It’s really about creating a flourishing community,” she said.
“The congregation here are really passionate about being a community base. They’ve got very strong core values around inclusivity.”
“We’re all in this together trying to create this space of love and grace.”