Friday, 30 September 2022

Event Details

Threading needles and threading stories at the arpillera workshop on 26th April, 2018. (Photo: Isobel Cleary – ‘Women Along the Border’ project)

Threading needles and threading stories at the arpillera workshop on 26th April, 2018. (Photo: Isobel Cleary – ‘Women Along the Border’ project)


Workshop:Stitching Stories – the Power of the Needle and Thread
Description: A new programme for women along the Fermanagh/Leitrim border got underway with a one day exhibition and talk on how women across continents and history tell their stories through the art of stitching. Women have worked with fabrics and textiles throughout time, but interwoven into this is their own stories and the stories of their families and their communities.

‘Women Along the Border’, a Fermanagh/Leitrim cross-border initiative of the North Leitrim Women’s Centre will run a series of workshops, events and classes for women over the course of the project.
‘Stitching Stories – The Power of the Needle and Thread’ was a one day/two location exhibition and talk by Roberta Bacic, born in Chile and now resident of Northern Ireland, who is the founder of Conflict Textiles, an international collection of ‘arpilleras’ or ‘story quilts’ from around the world, illustrating women’s lived experiences.
‘Stitching Stories – The Power of the Needle and Thread’ exhibition and talk was held on Thursday 26th April at 3pm in the Healthy Living Centre in Belcoo and at 8pm in the Gillaroo Centre in Garrison. ‘Women Along the Border’ is supported by Leitrim County Council through the Leitrim County PEACE IV Partnership. The project will work with women along the Fermanagh Leitrim border, comprising the areas of Kinlough, Rossinver, Garrison, Kiltyclogher, Glenfarne, Cashel and Belcoo. This project has been supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Project Development Worker, Isobel Cleary explains, ‘Our aims are to provide opportunities for women to continue to live, learn and socialise together across this border area; to share our experiences; to define ourselves as a strong cross-border community; and to find a way to express our hopes and concerns for the future of this area that we all call home.’

Media coverage of the process
Women come together to stitch vision of 'soft border, (RTE, 13th April, 2019)
Commissioned by: North Leitrim Women’s Centre
Date(s): 26th April 2018 - 26th April 2018
Venue: Belcoo and Garrison, Co. Fermanagh
Healthy Living Centre, Belcoo and Gillaroo Centre, Garrison, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Curator: Roberta Bacic
Facilitator: Roberta Bacic and Isobel Cleary
Outcome: A total of 48 women participated in these initial workshops. As the project developed, workshops across seven areas of the Leitrim/Fermanagh border resulted in seven individual quilts, and a centre piece showing the lakes which separate the two counties, and the roads which connect them. The Quilts depict the villages, landscape, history, memories and what is important to us as women living here. At a time when the Border is receiving so much attention, this was our opportunity to depict our communities as seen by people who live here. A variety of crafts were used in the process: screen-printing, quilting, knitting, sewing, wet felting, needle-felting, embroidery, cross-stitch.

Documents: • Stitching Stories - Invitation, April 2018 - view
• Stitching Stories - Poster, April 2018 - view
• Stitching Stories - Press release, April 2018 - view
• Stitching Stories - photos, April 2018 - view
• Launch invite: Stitching Stories quilt-June19 - view
• Stitching Stories quilt: People and Places - view
• Photo gallery: Story quilt launch, June 2019 - view