Monday, 8 October 2012

Connecting Threads

The last few months have been wonderfully busy with a whirlwind of activity for Connecting Threads; a project in collaboration with my friend, artist Emily Hayes. We met whilst studying Embroidery at the Manchester School of Art and have always shared a interest in working creatively with community groups. Earlier this year we came together to develop an idea for a project that would engage people affected by homelessness. We tentatively applied for an Arts Council grant and were astonished when we successfully secured the funding back in July!

Over the summer we worked with three organisations in Manchester who support people affected by homelessness; the Booth Centre, Life Matters and the Mustard Tree. We delivered a series of workshops focussing on printmaking and embroidery with the aims of making connections between people through a creative focus. In September we held a week long exhibition at Manchester Digital Laboratory where we showcased the work the participants had made. We invited people to contribute to a giant embroidered landscape, adding their own stitches and drawings. 

The experience of planning and delivering the project has been brilliant.  Although I have lots of experience as a creative practitioner, it was the first time time for both of us that we have developed a project from scratch and seen it through to the final exhibition. I have certainly learnt a great deal and feel that my confidence has been boosted by knowing that we have delivered such a well received project! We met some wonderful people and found that there is lots of potential for the project to continue to grow. We would love to tour the giant embroidery to other communities and see it displayed in a public building. We are having a little rest after the busy summer but will soon start planning our next move! Visit the Connecting Threads blog for more information on the project.