Bishop Street Methodist Church

Art at the Chapel Explorations into Art and Spirituality


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WEAVING WOMEN’S WISDOM EXHIBITION

INTERFAITH PROJECT

We are very excited to be hosting this wonderful exhibition at Bishop Street which includes the rug our Leicester Interfaith Weaving group created. Come and see this wonderfully colourful and diverse show which includes the stories and concepts behind each rug. Why not bring a friend and enjoy a drink in our friendly cafe after looking round the exhibition.

When: 6th January to the 3rd February 2016

Where: Bishop Street Methodist Church, 10a Bishop Street, Leicester LE1 6AF  

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Our Completed Rug!

Over 30 pairs of hands have worked on this rug over seven sessions held at the Sharma Women’s Centre and Bishop Street Methodist Church in Leicester. Our group has included Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Christian women.
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Our design is based on the stories we told each other. Two themes in particular influence the design. Firstly the idea of how we can rely on God to give us strength through difficult and painful times in our lives. This theme initially came from our conversations about the importance of Mary in both the Muslim and Christian traditions and how she drew strength from God during the time of the birth of Jesus. We incorporated the ‘flower of Maryam’ into the design to symbolise this.

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This is the actual flower….find out more about it’s meaning and how it is used during labour even to this day by clicking here  Below you can see our visual interpretation of the flower in fabric.

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The second theme that we found in many of the stories we told of special women in our lives was that of hospitality and having an ‘open door’ which welcomed people in need. We used two, ‘door shaped’ pieces of fabric to represent this idea and decorated them with beautiful embroidered and sequined scraps that had been kindly donated to the project.

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We have enjoyed meeting each other and sharing about our lives and faiths, the smiles and laughter and finding out how much we have in common with each other. It has been fabulous to see how the rug has progressed as weavers brought new ideas to it along the way which changed its direction as it went along.

We have learnt about the central role God plays in our lives and how many of us find strength and comfort in prayer.

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We would like to thank the Sharma Women’s Centre for hosting many of our meetings, for encouraging people to get involved and for providing excellent biscuits!

I would also like to thank Surinder for doing such a great job in edging the rug with cream wool so that it can be easily joined to the other rugs in the project.

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Details of the rugs – many techniques were used to create them! 

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This rug will now be sent to Bradford where Touchstone – the organisers of the national project  – will gather together similar rugs made all over the country and sew them together to create the floor of a Yurt which will then become a touring exhibition.

We are hoping to host the exhibition in Leicester later this year so watch this space for more details!!


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Weaving Women’s Wisdom | Session 1

Today our group of Sikh, Muslim and Christian women shared stories of wise women from our lives and faiths – we found many common themes in our tales – the generosity and welcome of an house with an open door, the importance of sharing skills and wise words through generations, how to help others is to help God, stories of women of courage, strength and a positive approach in adversity, how God is always there to support us so never say never and just give things a go! We also shared inspirational stories about Khadija, Mai Bhago, Mary, Ruth, Naomi and other amazing women from our different faith traditions. A big thank you to the ladies from Touchstone Bradford for coming all this way to introduce the project and teach us these wonderful rug making techniques

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Rada brought in some beautiful weavings to share with us made by members of her family in Serbia. Although they were made a long time ago it was amazing how contemporary they look!

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Ruth and Jenny from Touchstone had brought in some examples of rugs in the process of being woven to show us the various techniques that we could use. They also gave us a goodie bag with some tools, wool and the base webbing for us to create our own rug with.

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You can even create text!

We decided we wanted our design to contain an open door to symbolise the importance of being welcoming and generous to others, the flower or Maryam / Mary which is often used today to help women in labour as a symbol of strength in adversity, the names of the women who are special to us and a patchwork made of pieces of cloth that have a special meaning to women in the group. (Find out more about the amazing flower of Maryam here)

Next Wednesday we will begin to create our weaving!