Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you start the project?
Like many in my community, I was angry and sad that a young woman in my community could not make it home to the safety of her loved ones. I needed to do something that could help me find peace and a way forward. I drew on an ancient craft that my people use, something that brings me strength, belonging and calm. I decided to weave stars and to invite my communities and people online to join me.
PLEASE NOTE: The One Million Stars project was not created in partnership with Jill Meagher's family and for that reason, I have decided not to use Jill's name when speaking about the project in respect for her family.
I wanted to focus on community connectedness and positive social impact on a daily basis and not just during times of crisis or tragedy. I was inspired by my local community and the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, of being light and love in our communities. I sent a message out on social media and invited the people to join me in weaving one million stars and to create an installation by 2018.
In 2016, I partnered with the Queensland Government and together we made the One Million Stars installation dream a reality, as part of Festival 2018 in Brisbane during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Why one million stars?
I chose the goal of one million because it demonstrates how monumental and complex the work of creating peace and ending violence around the world is. It reminds us that each of us can make a small but positive impact to ensure that others feel safe and empowered.
Ending violence is everyone's business.
What does the star represent?
The eight pointed star is a treasured craft from the Pacific that has a few variations and is woven in the Torres Strait Islands, Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and other parts of the world, including Hungary, Germany and Sweden.
The star is special for me as a weaving artist and Pasifika woman because it connects me to the stories of my ancestors and their voyages across the moana / deep oceans. They had to read the stars, navigate the oceans and be brave, bold and creative to explore the oceans and find their way home. When life feels trying, I look up and remember my navigating stars and it helps me to focus and find my way.
The beauty of this project is that the stars will mean something different for everyone.
My hope is that whenever people see a One Million Stars installation, they are encouraged to use what ever gifts, strengths and resources they have to create safety and dignity for people in their workplaces, villages and community networks.
What kinds of individuals, groups and communities have contributed to the project?
Stars for the One Million Stars installation were received from star weavers from over 15 countries including Nigeria, USA, Canada, Kenya, Barbados, Fiji, Tonga, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Samoa, Scotland, England, Cook Islands and Australia.
Many groups contributed to the installation including - young people, seniors, arts, volunteer and multicultural groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders groups and services, schools, councils, libraries, small businesses, professional legal, design and accounting services, refugee and assylum seekers, women's shelters, juvenile justice and men's sheds.
How can we end violence by weaving stars?
Star weaving is a therapeutic, joyful and creative practice which allows us to come together, to chat or be still, to make new friends or just to have some time out and learn something new.
My hope is that if we all practise kindness in our personal relationships, our workplaces, neighbourhoods and communities that we can create a more accepting and safe world and in turn end violence.
Many groups and communities have woven stars to support different social causes that are of importance to them. Others have used star weaving as a craft activity or a mindfulness practice that has no social agenda but rather, challenges the stigma of violence and creativity.
We understand this project has had a powerful impact for some people. If anyone feels the need for emotional support, please speak with someone you trust or seek professional advice.
Why are projects like One Million Stars important in our communities?
Star weavers have reported many positive benefits from participating in the project including meeting new people, learning a new skill, getting more involved within the community and reducing isolation through an increased sense of belonging. Other benefits include increased calm and relaxation, learning about Pasifika and Indigenous crafts, strengthening identity and building awareness of local resources for people impacted by domestic violence, suicide and racism.
Can I still weave stars and hold star weaving workshops?
YES! Individuals and communities are welcome to continue weaving stars. Many around the world are still weaving because it's fun, relaxing and helps bring people together to keep talking and finding solutions.
In fact, star weaving has been a wonderful way to keep people virtually, and where safe, socially connected during COVID19. Follow us on instagram and facebook to learn more stories of communities weaving stars around the world.
Did the project reach it's original goal of one million stars?
YES! An incredible 2.4 million woven stars were received for the 2018 One Million Stars installation, far more than we ever expected!
In partnership with the Queensland Government, Museum of Brisbane created an installation of One Million Stars in King George Square Brisbane, and stars were also made available to local artists in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns to create smaller installations of their own at Festival 2018 sites. Stars were also used to create displays in the Games’s Village and Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast.
The Queensland Government showcased our stars and message of peace across four cities during the Games. What an amazing platform!
Who created the installation?
The Queensland Government contracted the Museum of Brisbane and Lumen Cloud to create the One Million Stars installation in Brisbane as part of Festival 2018 during GC2018.
The installation was on display in King George Square in Brisbane from the 29 March to the 15 April 2018.
Where did the stars go after the installation??
Individuals, group and communities contributed stars for the One Million Stars installation in Brisbane as part of Festival 2018 during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
After Festival 2018, the One Million Stars to End Violence project kept a number of the stars strings for future projects. In addition, a number of stars were donated to Reverse Garbage Queensland (RGQ), a registered charity that strives to protect our environment.
Will the project continue after the installation?
My partnership with the Queensland Government to deliver the installation as part of Festival 2018 has ended.
However, the One Million Stars project continues to encourage people and communities to weave stars and create their own smaller installations. I won't be receiving any more woven stars because I am focussing on finding a home for the star strands in my possession to be displayed permanently. Any future projects or plans for the project will be announced via OMS social media and the website.
If you wish to create star installations, you may want to work with local organisations, eg. your local kindergarten, schools, retirement villages, hospitals etc. Please email Maryann at [email protected] to discuss further.