Talking Needles - Stitching the Strip- Islington with Fiona Wright
Suburban Islington’s shopping strip will be festooned with Hope Flags in May as part of a cross-cultural art event that will raise funds to improve literacy amongst women in rural India.
The flags will be part of the Talking Needles: Hopes and Dreams exhibition at Timeless Textiles Gallery, which showcases the work of much-loved fibre artist Fiona Wright, who returns to the Hunter from rural India where she now lives.
For many years Fiona has been working with locals in her Indian community on the ‘Stitching Project’. A social enterprise dedicated to making fine textile products, the Stitching Project produces quality hand-worked homewares, garments, and craft supplies, with a style that is a both ethnic and contemporary.
“I work with a group of people, mostly women, endeavouring to find a way to produce an income that will feed both our bodies and our souls,” Fiona explained. “Our business is a social enterprise that produces benefits for all.”
Fiona says that the ‘Stitching Women’ who are part of the project take pride in their work, which is hand stitched.
“Sharing the finished pieces with them, and showing them pictures of foreign clients appreciating them, adds to their satisfaction and encourages them in their involvement with the work and its quality.”
The idea for the exhibition arose from the group’s latest designs, a series called ‘Hopes and Dreams’, which fits well with what the Stitching Project members want to share with the world. Fiona says the designs gave members a chance to demonstrate their creativity.
The Talking Needles: Hopes and Dreams exhibition will showcase a collection of Hope Flags (similar to the idea of Tibetan prayer flags) that have been block-printed in English and Hindi and stitched into using a range of coloured threads and embellishments. Their themes are compassion, hope, peace, love, sharing and dreaming.
The exhibition will include Hope Flags created in many places - in India by the Stitching Project; the local fibre art group NCEATA, as well as those made at workshops held by Fiona at Timeless Textiles Gallery, joining creativity across continents and cultures.
The gallery invites anyone who is interested to create Hope Flags with Fiona - listen to her wonderful tales while you stitch - focusing on the themes of compassion; hope; peace; love; sharing and dreaming.
Workshops will be held in May on: Monday 5th, Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th and Saturday 10th. Drop into Timeless Textiles Gallery any time between 10am and 3.30pm and create a Hope Flag.
The workshops are free, with a $5 charge for the hand-loomed cotton flags. 150 metres of stitched white ribbon, created at an International Women’s Day stitch-a-thon, will be used to hang Hope Flags, in the Talking Needles exhibition, opening on Sunday 11 May.
Selected flags, focusing on the unique, eclectic and unusual, will flutter along The Strip, Islington’s vibrant Maitland Road shopping strip, starting at Madame Mo’s and rounding the corner to end up at Timeless Textiles Gallery.
The flags will be auctioned at the opening of the exhibition, from 6pm on Sunday 11 May. All proceeds will be donated to create a library for the Indian Stitching Women, to help increase their literacy. Those flags not sold will be returned to the Stitching Project and stitched together into a quilt.
Time: 9.30 anytime between 10 am and 3.30 pm
Venue: Timeless Textiles Gallery
7 Beaumont St, Islington