For some of SwanCare’s residents doing arts and crafts is more than just a passionate hobby, it’s a way of life. Judy Mackintosh has always loved arts and crafts, and it is a love that has been passed down through the generations of her family.
Growing up on a farm in Rocky Gully near Mount Barker in WA’s Great Southern region, Judy’s family was a practical one. Everyone pitched in to help, whether that was shearing or helping Mum out in the kitchen, mending clothes as such.
“We all did a bit of everything, growing up on a farm is like that,” Judy said.
“Mum taught us how to knit, sew, crochet and mend our clothes. My brothers worked on the farm, but they also helped out in the kitchen. We all did what we could to help Mum and Dad.”
Judy’s country upbringing led her to training as a nurse and when she was fully qualified and looking for work, an opportunity came up in Port Hedland. This is where she met her husband Bill, the love of her life.
“Bill was an accountant for the National Bank up there. Port Hedland was a very small town at that time, everyone knew each other. There was one pub, one health centre and one bank, and when Bill and I met, he declared it was love at first sight,” Judy said.
Judy and Bill had three daughters, twins Susan and Lara, then Joanne.
“When the girls started going to kindy, they were always doing lots of arts and crafts and I used to do it with them at home too. It was a nice way to bond. I can’t remember a time when the girls were growing up that we didn’t do arts and crafts together, we were always working on a project,” Judy said.
Judy and Bill were keen to give their daughters a practical upbringing, so Judy taught them how to sew, knit and cook, while Bill taught them mechanical know how.
“It was important to Bill and I that the girls learnt how to be practical. They know how to change the oil in their car and change a tyre. They can also sew, knit, weave, do pottery and they taught themselves how to do all manner of practical things. We both wanted them to grow up like that,” Judy said, “Now Lara makes all of her own clothes, and she loves it.”
Judy and her husband Bill, both 81, moved into SwanCare in 2006. Judy’s parents had also lived at SwanCare for a number of years and were some of the first residents in the 1980s to join the village.
When Bill retired, she was more than happy to make the change when it was time to downsize and live an easier life, “We saw how easy and enjoyable it was for Mum and Dad living here, and we wanted the same for ourselves as we got older too.”
Although Bill is now in residential care at SwanCare, Judy still lives independently in the village and says she appreciates how close by the care centres are, “It’s great because I spend a lot of time with Bill and can simply walk to visit him. I don’t really like to drive so this makes it quite easy for me,” Judy said.
Judy is part of SwanCare’s Patchwork Club and said it’s a wonderful way to relax and unwind, while also meeting like-minded people, “Patchwork is a gentle art and you can get to know people by sitting, talking and sewing together, as well as have fun.”
Judy recently retired from being a child health nurse, working at Ngala where she was employed part time on the telephone support line, “I enjoyed my years of nursing immensely, but I was ready to retire, it was time to let the younger nurses take over,” Judy said.
“Now that I’m retired, I have more time to visit Bill, spend time with our daughters and do more arts and crafts,” Judy shared, “Arts and crafts have always been second nature to me, I don’t think I’ll ever stop enjoying them.”
When reflecting on her time at SwanCare, Judy says she couldn’t recommend it enough, “I love all the clubs and facilities. It’s been such a bonus for Bill and I to live here,” Judy said.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Judy. We love having your creative spirit part of our SwanCare community.