I found the 2 'Stitch + Tell' workshops over the weekend very interesting and moving. I met a group of lovely women of all ages and walks of life and 1 man visiting London, who participated, stitched, shared stories, memories and emotions around the table.
As you will have seen in my last post, participants were invited to choose a pre prepared hexagon patch and stitch into and leave behind a secret, memory, a piece of emotional baggage, an affirmation. The 'Handmade Tales' exhibition at the the Women's Library also contained a lot of nostalgia and family memories for participants which they drew on.
Here are some of the stories behind and contained on the patches:
"The lilac design is in memory of my great grandmother Olga and her beautiful hand embroidered screen of lilacs. Olga is also the name of my grandmother and my friend who currently has breast cancer " (Barbara)
" I have just found my birth mother" (Lindsey)
" Be useful Be happy" (Amy)
" T + G " in memory of my music teacher Thora who taught me tatting and lived with her sister Greeba (Dita)
" A Christmas pudding in memory of making steaming Christmas puddings with my grandmother" (Natasha)
"BE WITH" Learning to BE but also BE WITH (Anna)
At the BUST Christmas Craftacular the stitching and telling continued to flow on the Sunday. 2 people made complete flowers, which was a pleasant surprise for me!
" I have an illness" was stitched into the central hexagon with "But my illness doesn't have me" on each of the outer petal hexagons (Caroline) This was very touching for me as I know Caroline and admire her strength and generosity of spirit even when she is feeling a great deal of pain.
"Love stinks, unless you act!" (Sarah)
"Nancy Jackson" (Sarah) In memory of the embroider, who Sarah visited twice a week as a support worker. She continued to embroider into old age and inspite of her health and movement in her hands.
This is a detail of one of Emma's patches "Actually it is easy to say but it is difficult to do". Emma who is a stitcher and also teaches at RCA and Bournmouth Arts University is currently researching into the recent resurgence of craft and I enjoyed the discussions she brought to the table on her own personal observations into craft.
Some of the finished flowers ready for planting in the Handmade Tales exhibition at the Women's Library, so if you haven't visited already, I highly recommend a visit! You've got until April 2011. If you'd like to contribute a patch or even a whole flower then just pop in to Fabrications to get your patch! (s)