“Let the wild rumpus start!”
The Northern Illawarra is home to some pretty amazing humans, and the team that started our local ‘learning collective’ are classic examples.
Young mothers Caitlin Marshall and Lizzy Rose established Wild Rumpus a couple of years ago, and since Day One, the learning collective has gone from strength to strength. In fact, more than 2000 people have already ‘made mischief of one kind’ in their workshops!
In short, Wild Rumpus organises short workshops which are run by experts and passionate people on a huge variety of subjects, from bee-keeping to macrame and from Beach Fishing to Laughing Yoga.
Wild Rumpus springs from the desire to build community within our community!
With backgrounds in social work, community development and sustainability, the team fully appreciates the need for people to work together and share skills to improve quality of life.
“Lizzy and I have been friends for years and have always done a lot of creative things together, which included a lot of our clever friends,” says Caitlin. “We talked about how difficult it would be to get things done if you didn’t know people who could help, so Wild Rumpus was born. We wanted to provide a framework for that ‘over-the-back-fence’ exchange of skills, to help people learn things to help them be resourceful. To make more, grow more, consume less, and fix stuff!”
So the ‘one class per month’ model was quickly outgrown, with Wild Rumpus now organising four or five classes every month.
“They love the enthusiasm created by the classes. Particularly the craft-related classes, where people are always amazed by their own abilities. It’s rewarding to get people excited about learning new things.”
Then there is the market…
In the beginning, Caitlin and Lizzy needed capital to set up the infrastructure of Wild Rumpus, so they organised a suitcase market at Thirroul Community Centre. Instead of the second hand clothing and dusty books they were expecting, they were deluged with local creatives, looking for somewhere to sell their wares.
The markets have now become a regular feature of the Wild Rumpus calendar, however last market, they outgrew Anita’s in Thirroul so have been forced to move their next event this Sunday (November 29) to Wollongong Town Hall.
“We have 65 stalls and we still had to turn people away,” says Caitlyn. “From our market experience we realised there are not many opportunities for creative people to sell what they make, and it’s quite a procedure to set yourself up for a larger market, with displays and weather protection. Just being inside is so important, and makes it possible for many more people to take a stall.
“It’s a great platform for local creatives,” she says, “and the quality is amazing.
“It would be fantastic if everyone did their Christmas shopping at a local market. It’s better for the local economy and therefore the local community, if the money is spent here!”
The future is bright for Wild Rumpus, with plans next year for a skills-exchange program involving seniors and refugees (which they have touched on this year, organising cooking classes through community organisation SCARF).
‘We are also planning a Creative Escape’ weekend which will include workshops, feasting and live music, but more on that later,” she laughs.
“We are growing, and we are full of ideas, but we want to make sure we have the Northern Illawarra covered first. That there are opportunities for all walks of life to get involved.
“At Wild Rumpus we believe the area’s cultural health reflects our general health. If the people are engaged and present, the whole community is happy!”
And why Wild Rumpus?
Caitlyn says the book is a favourite of both her own and Lizzy’s families. “We are encouraging people to play again. To get lost in time and become absorbed in the task at hand, emerging to feel renewed and refreshed. Just like Max!”