Refugee Week Scotland: Festival Lounge


This year I’m looking forward to Refugee Week Scotland (RWS13) in both excitement and trepidation as I’m taking part in not one but two elements of it. I’ve already mentioned the Stitching Continents exhibition so today I’d like to give you a taster of the Festival Lounge where I’ll be holding embroidery workshops.

The Tron Theatre has very kindly offered us the use of the Victorian Bar for the whole of the festival. The Festival Lounge will host events around the theme of heritage including the power of herbs/plants and storytelling whilst encouraging you to go to some of the events happening at other venues.

In the run up to RWS13 I’ve been working closely with Paria Goodarzi, an Iranian born fashion graduate, and Cat Tabbner from Scottish Refugee Council to dress the room. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but we have combined powerful images and colours to stimulate conversation in line with the theme of heritage. Just take a second to think about what the word heritage means to you. Is it tangible? What if you were banned from speaking your mother tongue? What heritage you will leave for future generations? We certainly hope to start these conversations with our design.

A HUGE THANK YOU has to go to Glasgow School of Art’s Centre for Advanced Textiles who have gifted RWS13 a meter of fabric onto which they will print images Paria and I want to use for the Festival Lounge. There will definitely be another post showing you these images and how we used them…just in case you’re not in Glasgow. I’ve also just heard that Timorous Beasties has also donated some of their printed fabric!!! So kind of both businesses.

Since being asked if I would like to run an event at the Festival Lounge I’ve been on the hunt for a relaxing workshop which uses traditional techniques and doesn’t just stop at the end of the afternoon. I think I have found this in The Napkin Project which is a joint project between Deirdre Nelson (yes her of BirdYarns fame), Brunelcare who run Saffron Gardens for people suffering from dementia in Bristol and arts consultancy Willis Newson. During a residency at Saffron House and work on a project at Saffron Gardens Deirdre noticed that residents used their napkins not just at mealtime, but as a source of comfort and to carry items in amongst other things. From there The Napkin Project evolved.

I’m really excited about this event as our work will help stimulate the minds and creativity of the residents long after RWS13 has finished.

It would be wonderful if you could take time out of your busy day to come and stitch with me. Don’t worry if you haven’t stitched in a long time (or ever), I’ll be on hand to guide you and you’ll be amazed at how a simple stitched line across a napkin can change your perception of it.

My workshops will run on Tuesday 18th and Saturday 22nd June between 12.30pm and 2.30pm. There is no need to book and all equipment will be provided.

All events in the Festival Lounge will take place between 12.30pm and 2.45pm . Refugee Week Scotland runs between 17-23 June 2013 with events all over Scotland.


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