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Bawden Cases: Threads of Our Lives
January 21, 2016 @ 12:00 am - February 20, 2016 @ 12:00 am
Streatham Hub has been working with Morley College to provide weekly Sewing and English classes to women in our local community. Classes are led by Maire Quinn who teaches sewing techniques and instruction on how to use sewing machines, with an additional focus on improving English language skills.
This exhibition displays samplers using creative stitch that tell deeply personal stories in one of the universal ways we communicate – through art. The women are from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds but they share a common thread: all are beginners at sewing who are keen to create visual representations of themselves and their lives.
The starting point was the wellbeing booklet that the women received at the beginning of the course. This explains how activities such as learning something new and connecting with others can enrich our lives. Many of the women do not have English as their first language and some do not speak very little. So in addition to sewing there was also an element of learning to communicate through the spoken word with new vocabulary and also through gesture and depiction. Their first project was to create hand-sewn covers for their booklets. Subsequently, they developed many new techniques including: appliqué, self-made braid, sewing machine stitch, hand embroidery, beading and haute couture stitches. At the same time, they learned to consider composition and balance.
The women started by making their own sewing kit – pin cushions, needle-books – and went on to making the lined purses, bags and artefacts displayed here. Their creative output was fuelled by a desire for self-expression and we hope that you will be able to see and enjoy their stories here.