Bridging Arts

Friday, 28 January 2011

Second workshop in Harrow

Katrina showing an embroidered panel from Peru

Monica Alcazar (far right) filming
Showing embroidery - from different traditions - sewing and eating.
Monica Alcazar came along to help capture just what was going on....

Friday, 21 January 2011

Next round of Faiths in Action workshops

Just to give the full picture: these started on Thursday 20th January at the Marlborough Hill Centre in Harrow. We have almost a full house. The idea is to give people of different faiths the chance to come together and build friendships through a shared interest - in this case, embroidery. Some familiar faces from other projects. Meherun, at the Asian Women's Resource Centre, has worked hard to bring people on board.
We have also advertised via Gumtree and local churches.
Leading things this week: Katherine Eves and Katrina Williams, the second workshop of the week for them.
Thanks to our funding from Faiths in Action (via Communities and Local Goverment) we can offer these sewing circles and the materials needed for them, free of charge.
There is also a lunch club at these sessions.

Starting off

Chandrika with her first stitches. She and her family embroidered wedding garments when they lived in Tanzania....
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Bharti and Kiran

So many old friends in this group, many from the Asian Women's Resource Centre....
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Starting off with surface stitches

The fish motif....
A brief discussion about its significance in different religions.
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First class in Harrow

A very good turn out - almost a full house....
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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

More demonstrations from Rosa

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More stitches

We only have an hour - not long enough really - but can make a start.
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Rosa demonstrating back stitch

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Concentrating on the task (literally) in hand

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Starting with split stitch

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Finished sample

Worked by Katrina at an earlier class and brought along to inspire the learners....
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Threading needles to get started

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Ten girls in the class

All are Year 9. No one has done any embriodery before.

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Telephone socks

While waiting, we notice Rosa's fabulous telephone kiosk socks .....
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Rosa Martyn at the Islamic school

Rosa, a volunteer from the Royal School of Needlework, has come to help demonstrate stitches....
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Sign in the reception at the Islamic School

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Workshop in the Islamic School in Tooting

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Saturday, 15 January 2011

"A little cracker of a show"

A recommendation from Helen Scalway, artist and friend of the British Sari Story.
At the Foundling Museum - click on the link below for information....

Fabric swatches from the 18th century tell stories of mother and babies parting

Sunday, 9 January 2011

High points

We always - of course - distribute and collect evaluation forms. Our funders need and request them.  But I hadn't looked at the ones from the Faiths in Action course in Harlesden until today: am only just getting back into the swing of things after the holidays (Hannah Walker dropped off a bag with leftover materials and the forms just before Christmas).
But I just have read them - and someone (don't know who, as the forms are anonymous) has written:
"It has been the loveliest part of my week since September."
Couldn't dream of more rewarding feedback.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Book your place before it's too late....

Just a few places left for our sewing circles this spring in Harrow.
These will be informal, two-hour sessions, followed by lunch (similarly informal but potentially fabulous - there are some good cooks in the Centre, I know from my first visit!).
We'll be studying four embroidery packs, developed with the Royal School of Needlework (RSN), looking at Islamic and western traditions of patterns and techniques. There will be a chance to bring in your own embroidery, discuss and show the group. Please do email me if you would like to know more, volunteer or book a place. 
Thursdays, 11am to 1pm starting 20 January 2011.

The sewing circles will run weekly, with the exception of 12 March (International Women's Day) for eight weeks.These classes will be free, thanks to our funding from Faiths in Action, through Community and Local Government.
Venue: Marlborough Hill Centre, 76 Malborough Hill, Harrow HA1 1TY

Friday, 7 January 2011

Boxing not embroidery...

A (possibly)  little-known fact: quite a lot of our embroidery classes this year are funded by Faiths in Action (through Communities and Local Government).
The aim: to bring people of different religions together through a shared interest i.e. embroidery.
Filmmaker Lea Gratch has emailed a link to her short internet film documenting the same process - i.e. bringing different religions together - but through boxing. She films 20-something Jewish and Muslim boys
'going to see a boxing match and having a great time - as Howard Jacobson, Mann Booker Prize Winner this year says:"Most hopeful thing I've seen in years.Young Jews and Muslims laughing and rapping together. Half the time you don't know which is which. Wonderful."'
I love it. Viewable on
(Do not be alarmed by the impression that you need to wait 10 minutes for it to download - you don't.)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

British Asian Style

Spotted by very keen library goers in the V&A Shop today (the National Art Library at the V&A is THE place to go. This is the first day back in a scholarly routine...) Just published by the V&A - British Asian Style.
Featuring a chapter from Bridging Arts on Stitch and The British Sari Story.
This book is the result of the V&A project Fashioning Diaspora, in collaboration with Royal Holloway London. Funded by theArts and Humanities Research Council.