Friday, 30 September 2022

Textile Details

'Threads of Life', by participants at the 'Threads of Life exhibition' workshops, Liverpool World Museum, 2009; facilitated by Janet Wilkinson and Susan Beck. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)
'Threads of Life', by participants at the 'Threads of Life exhibition' workshops, Liverpool World Museum, 2009; facilitated by Janet Wilkinson and Susan Beck. (Photo: Martin Melaugh)

 

Title of Textile:Threads of Life
Maker: Participants at the 'Threads of Life exhibition' workshops, Liverpool World Museum, 2009; facilitated by Janet Wilkinson and Susan Beck
Country of Origin: England
Year Produced: 2009
Size (cm): 1.40m x 1.35m
Materials: Recycled donated fabrics, yarn, thread, wadding, nylon tights, hand and machine stitched
Type of Textile: Arpillera
Description:

In 2009, as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival, the Threads of Life exhibition took place at the Liverpool World Museum. This featured arpilleras and quilts from grassroots groups and women in Chile, Peru and Northern Ireland, who felt compelled to share their experiences, to reach out so as to be heard and also to hear what others had to say.

A series of twenty textile workshops on the theme of heritage also took place to enable people to create personal arpilleras that told their own stories. For some, this was a profoundly moving experience, re-awakening old memories and emotions. Some participants were newly arrived to the UK with little or no English and some had no sewing experience.

At the half hour drop in sessions for children and their families, participants were invited to make an arpillera figure of someone special in their life. The child then placed this figure, with an accompanying tag explaining its significance, on a large piece of blue fabric with a bright centre sun. The figures were then secured in place, and the quilt completed, by the workshop facilitators.

Clearly moved by the process, workshop facilitators Susan Beck and Janet Wilkinson reflect: "Everyone was totally absorbed in the making of their figure. The figures are amazing in their variety. Some are very touching to look at and many have heartfelt sentiments on their tags."

For Susan, arpilleras communicate on an emotional level: "when arpilleras are made from real personal experience there is a real emotional connection with the work and this is stitched into the piece and communicates eloquently with the viewer."

She reiterates the power of arpilleras: "Whatever the amount of time taken or the degree of skill applied, the arpillera figures make an instant personal connection with their maker. They are truly little people made of cloth, and are very powerful indeed."

Owner: Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Museum Collection. Donated by Janet Wilkinson and Susan Beck
Location: Coleraine Museum, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Martin Melaugh



Textile exhibited at: Following the Thread, 21/06/2010 - 27/06/2010
From Threads of Life to Following the Thread, 15/08/2010 - 31/10/2010
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
WE CANNOT WALK ALONE – Refugee week 2021 , 5/05/2021 - 21/06/2021
A World of Stories, 15/05/2023 - 31/08/2023



Textile Detail Image(s)