As Call for Cloth takes up temporary home on our second leg of the Tall Tales tour, at Touchstones, Rochdale, project artist Lauren Sagar is starting to weave the collected stories from community groups and the general public so far, together into a new art work.
Whilst based at Touchstones, Rochdale, Lauren has been meeting both local Rochdale group Knitty Gritty, as well as wider knitting and crafts groups from Greater Manchester (Cross Acres Knitters from Wythenshawe Age Concern and Many Hands from Victoria Square in Ancoats) to develop some visual ideas for the final Call for Cloth installation.
Lauren has been focusing specifically on creating a series of blankets which relate to each of the touring venues and its local communities, responding to conversations with the general public and their associations to blankets as an item for care, comfort, sharing and family. So by inviting the local community groups in Rochdale and Manchester to pick up on details from personal stories attached to cloth and textiles, as well as responding to other collected stories and images of cloth, the groups were able to create a piece of work which will weave into the fabric of the final blankets. Once the project finishes and the Tall Tales exhibition is over, each of the blankets made will be donated to a local group / community of the participants choice, keeping the gift of sharing stories and care growing.
Lauren is also working with a local South Manchester, Burnage group. As Lauren explained to me she started to work with this particular group about 15 years ago.
The final blanket artworks, will be situated in our final venue for the tour, Glasgow Women’s Library, and the work could not be better suited as Lauren herself discovered during her research trip to the Library last week.
Amongst the richly diverse textiles archives the Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) owns, they also have their very own GWL blanket, again with its own story. Lauren learnt that there was Adele Patrick, Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager at GWL, explained to Lauren how a volunteer had knitted the blanket for the library. It lives on one of the arm chairs within the main reading area, which people often make use of it. She said that recently there was a conference at the Library and that one of the attendees felt faint and unwell. She spent the rest of the day in the arm chair, wrapped in the blanket. Both Lauren and Adele “wondered about other similar stories this blanket is safe keeping.”
Glasgow Women’s Library local groups are also working with Lauren and supporting project artist Joanna Peace to make their own responsive Call for Cloth artwork which will weave into the overall Tall Tales exhibition at the Library this October so Call for Cloth really is finding its home in the fabric of the overall Tall Tales project and we can’t wait to see the results!
If you want to find out more about the Call for Cloth project or donate your own Call for Cloth story you can visit the project page here
Liz Wewiora, Tall Tales Curator
Image credits: top image, donated textiles from Call for Cloth participant, Image C. Artist and participant, 2016
bottom image: Glasgow Women’s Library Blanket at Glasgow Women’s Library, Image C. Artist and Glasgow Women’s Library 2016