Blanket Without BordersKate Stuart
Kate Stuart is the eco-creator and owner of The Phoenix Green Store, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Here she talks about her experience with the Blanket Without Borders Project, and her workshops to give opportunity to the North East to share their stories of place and connection with those of the wider community and international family.
In January 2017 I answered the call to create a patch for a collaborative blanket that was being made by artist-makers of The Sussex Circle to explore themes of belonging, home, and cultural heritage in the aftermath of the EU referendum and the impact of the ongoing refugee crisis.
It was a really difficult time for me – I wasn’t working, choosing instead a time of reflection after the death of my mum, but struggling with a sense of having nothing to do with my hands and mind. The call for a textile patch gave me an opportunity to make, think, reflect in a way that I hadn’t expected. I wrote about my experience for my Phoenix Green blog, and you can read it here.
When I was asked by the group to host the blanket and run workshops to help create more patches and to hear more stories, I was excited and honored. Sharing stories of migration and settlement, stitching them together in cloth and thread, and acknowledging the threads that bind and connect us all feels like an important thing to do at a time in our history where so much fracture and division blights us.
The blanket arrived this morning and it is heavy with stories – each square representative of a person, their connection to place, their sense of belonging. I am so excited to share it with the people of the North East of England, and to collect more stories to add to it. If you would like to come along, the next workshop is on 3rd March in Newcastle upon Tyne, click here for the link to the event or email email@example.com.
We are supporting the work of MEENA Centre, who are assisting women and child refugees arriving in the UK from Calais, and all proceeds from the events will be donated.