Are we sitting comfortably? Sew let’s begin…

I like beginnings. The beginning is always a very good place to start. So here I am, at the beginning of my research, at the beginning of a project, at the beginning of my blog. And here you are. Thanks for coming…

I’m going to begin by telling you just a bit about my first project that I’m starting as part of my MA, as that’s where I’m beginning too. I was searching for a community project that would combine a lot of the areas I’m interested in researching to cast this journey off – storytelling, feminism, collective community endeavour. Whilst looking into how to piece these strands together I started to think about quilting and how wonderful it could be to bring together different community groups to make something tangible.

Quilting has a rich history of connecting communities. A traditionally ‘feminine’ art form, these beautiful, humble things have been being sewn by groups of people for centuries, often commemorating occasions or community events. In more recent years, we’ve seen some quilts used to convey collective personal and political messages in connection with specific themes, for example, The Aids Memorial Quilt or The Women’s Quilt. The featured photo above is of a beautiful quilt centered around the theme of The Changing Roles of Women made by a group called ‘Significant Seams’ based down in Walthamstow.

I was very interested in taking an art form that has typically been almost exclusively the domain of women and using it to stitch together a collective message to our ‘daughters’. Looking around at the state of the world for girls and women living in it, we can see that our fight for gender equality is far from over. So it begs the question of what would we like our world to be like for the next generation of women to come? I would like this quilt to be a space for people to share and stitch their ideas together.

At the moment I’m working with several different community groups and spaces throughout Chester to bring this project to life, including the University of Chester, Kingsway Community Cafe, Storyhouse and (fingers crossed!) The Unity Centre. I’m planning to run several workshops throughout November where we will sew the individual patches before coming together in early December to stitch together the quilt in what will hopefully be a lovely community event! Quilting is an art form that in it’s very nature brings comfort. I am very excited about where it might take us. But all remains to be seen… as I said… I’m only at the beginning.

So I hope you enjoyed where we began. I’ll be posting bits and bobs as often as I can, updating you on this project, formulating ideas for new ones, looking into interesting pieces of research that I come across and generally chatting on about some nonsense or other. Hopefully I’ll be seeing you again soon!