Bridging Arts

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Back in Harlesden and a discussion about fish

Our second class went - dare I say - swimmingly?! at the Asian Women's Resource Centre in Harlesden this week. Hannah Walker led discussions on the fish motif she so brilliantly designed. I sadly couldn't be there, but Hannah has updated me.

"For the blog I asked the class for their fish stories/recipes and the following ladies had something to contribute:

Sheila told me that it's said if a person dreams of fish it means that either they or someone they know is pregnant. As to the origins, she says it could be Carribean as it's quite a common understanding in her culture.

Rivka is Jewish and knows a tale as to the origins of Fish and Chips. In East London there were two neighboring stall owners, one Jewish selling fried fish, the other Irish selling chips. Eventually they decided to join their businesses and sell fish and chips together, which improved their takings. Rivka read this story in a cookery book by Claudia Rodent.

Marina is Brazilian and according to her Catholic tradition, eats fish on Fridays. For Catholics this is also the case over the Easter period when no meat can be eaten but fish is allowed. She also says that the association between fish and Fridays is popular in Brazil and one can find many people there who will follow this eating trend." 
More next week....

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Rain, Harlesden and our first interfaith embroidery class

What a change of weather. Harlesden is very, very wet.
 We're running our first embroidery class, funded by Faiths in Action (through Communities and Local Government), at the Asian Women's Resource Centre. I've worked with the AWRC for some time. Meherun Ahmed has become a good friend. These classes run from 11am to 1pm on Thursdays from now until the end of November. We're lucky enough to have funding for Royal School of Needlework tutors, our own Hannah Walker (who designed the packs) as a co-ordinator, a creche and a cook for a lunch club. I'm sorry that I have to miss the lunch club (as usually the food is delicious).
But by the time I leave, things are well underway. Some of the women in this class are very skilled and quick embroiderers.
 We have a discussion about the fish motif that people are working. It was designed by Hannah and chosen as it has significance in Christianity (as a symbol of Christ) and in cultures in south Asia.
Meherun points out that it is always first on the menu at weddings in Bangladesh - an indication of good things to follow (on the table and in the marriage, presumably).
The idea of these classes is that women of different faiths make new friendships via the shared interest of embroidery. By the way - men are not allowed in the AWRC.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

New embroidery at the Furzedown Project, Tooting

A beautiful day. I am held up in traffic in Tooting and Katherine (Eves, Bridging Arts intern) takes advantage of the sunshine to get down to a little sewing while she's waiting...

We're at the Furzedown project to display the embroidery created at recent classes. There is a fine display.

Amtul has written a message.

Hyacinthe Quamina has embroidered Spanish needles, a flower she remembers from her childhood in British Guyana.

Abigail's exhibition piece; she has carefully hemmed this as well as all the other embroidery she created in the class. All on display at the Furzedown Project, Tooting, for the next few weeks.

Later we have a bit of a panic as we realise that we are short of embroidery hoops for tomorrow's class. I stop off at John Lewis on my way into town to my Arabic class. But they are out of stock and have been for some weeks. As is Liberty's. However, there is a very charming embroidered bag on the haberdashery floor.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Market patterns and a wedding

More embroidery in Budapest, spotted at the Central market.  But it's a bit tame.

Not so the fox furs hanging alongside ...

Again, patterns elsewhere seem more exciting than the patterns on the embroidery.
A mushroom stall.


Grapes and dried tomatoes.

And the stairs, and wire grids.

Shattered glass in the park on the way home.

And a wedding near the Opera House. Human patterns.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Budapest and crochet

No escaping the bleak legacy of Communist tradition in Hungary. It echoes on. You feel it in the metro and as you fly in over the concrete (Soviet era) tower blocks fringing Budapest.
But the architecture and ornament in much of the old part of the city more than compensate. Embroidery on the altars of St Stephen's Basilica.

There is a lot of embroidery in the shops (for tourists). But more interesting is the randomly encountered embroidery and work that's not for sale. For example, the crochet under the linen tablecloth in a magically neo Renaissance restaurant (very much later).

And more pattern, more redolent of contemporary Budapest, on a phone box spotted on the way home.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A quilting show and random patterns

Stop off, by chance, at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square. En route to somewhere else, but I always like to look at the windows (by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris).
A surprise to see a quilting show.

And also a face from the past - the music director once taught at my daughter's former school. He's rehearsing for a concert that evening.

The place is full of pattern - and repeating pattern at that.

The stained glass windows are pieced together, like the quilts.

Friday, 10 September 2010

The Bridging Arts bag

Designed by David Cross. Note the scissors on the logo...Perfect for presents, and for carrying around shopping. Available from me any time - and we'll be selling them at our stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show next month.


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I first heard it in the womb...

As promised, here are some images from the stitched book created by our intern Katherine Eves. I am hoping that Katherine will allow us to display this book when we're at the Knitting and Stitching Show - as its title links in so well with the Stitch project. It's about her connection to thread, fabric and stitch - and her deep affection for her Grandmother.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Volunteering at the Knitting and Stitching Show

Back - just – in an autumn routine. We're once again off to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (having been kindly offered the space by Creative Exhibitions).

We're just putting together a team of about eight volunteers to help with the stand over the course of the show (6th October = set up, 7-10 October = show). Last year everyone had fun, I think. This year we’ll be revealing the winners of the latest British Sari Story exhibition at the stand as well as one or two other exciting elements.

So – please email me know if you'd like to be part of the team at I’d be delighted to hear from you as soon as possible (have four names on the list already). Last year, this did prove pretty popular.