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#IAMWOMAN Craft Day Hailed a Success

#iamwoman Get Crafty - photo courtesy of Dan Abell

Women from Scarborough were able to 'get crafty' as part of a year-long project, giving women a voice through art, culture and creativity.

Following the launch of #IAMWOMAN on International Women’s Day, the first community event was held on Monday 22 June at The Summit in St Nicholas Street.

The event began with a Crafty Lunch. While staff at The Summit and The Trefoil Guild served food and drinks, a range of craft activities were available with skilled volunteers on hand to assist anyone who needed a helping hand. Wet felting proved particularly popular and there were some beautiful felt pictures by the end of lunch.

The craft activities remained available throughout the day but the focus for the rest of the event was on textiles and dress-making as those attending worked towards the evening's 'Rags to Richness' fashion parade.

Since the launch event of #IAMWOMAN in March, bags of rags have been available for collections from Miss Elainey's, a charity boutique that supports women's services in the Scarborough area, with the challenge of turning the rags into a garment, which tells a story.

Each bag came with a woman's story and the recipients had the option of telling the given story or one of their own. Throughout the day, a number of individuals and groups delivered garments which they had previously completed, including a couple created by women who attended a workshop run by Carol Eaves at Material Moves.

Most of the garments were created over the course of the afternoon as clusters of people gathered around sewing machines and tables to work on transforming their rags.

One of the organisers of the event, Julie Hay, North Yorkshire County Council's Community Cohesion Worker, said:
"One of the best parts of the event for me was watching so many women, who had never met before, coming together as they ate, drank and stitched. Not only did they share the stories behind their garments, but they told their own amazing stories. It was a privilege to see relationships being formed and strengthened through the power of story."
The climax of the event was the 'Rags to Richness' fashion parade, which saw the textile workshop space in The Summit turned into a professional catwalk scene by the Kingdom Faith team. There were 12 garments in the show with some modelled by their creators and others worn by a handful of willing volunteers. As each model took to the catwalk, the story of the garment was told.

The fashion show was judged by Scarborough Borough Council’s Deputy Chief Executive, Hilary Jones, and The Trefoil Guild. The overall winner was The Youth Angels.

The dress was a collaborative piece of work by the whole youth group, telling the story of one of the teenage girls in the group. The white breast area of the dress depicted innocence with a large black sash around the waist symbolising a traumatic life-changing event, leading down to a skirt which displayed an array of textile images all showing other life-events and experiences, which helped to put the ugliness of the trauma into the past, while never being able to erase it. This story of trauma and abuse, giving way to a future empowerment, was a common theme throughout the evening with the majority illustrating experiences of some form of abuse.

One of those attending the event said:
"I only called in for an hour to find out more about using a sewing machine but I was enjoying myself so much that I stayed for the full seven hours."
Another of those that attended added:
"I've made some great new friends today and now have the confidence to go away and do some dress-making on my own."
The event was the brainchild of Jo Purdy from The Cambridge Centre and Sandra Rees, Scarborough Borough Council Community Safety and Safeguarding Manager. The event itself was delivered in partnership with Kingdom Faith, Miss Elainey’s, Hull University (Scarborough Campus), CaVCA, The Trefoil Guild, Barrowcliff Angels, local Guides and a number of independent artists. It was financially supported by North Yorkshire County Council's Stronger Communities.

#IAMWOMAN is a project which aims to bring together women across the region from all backgrounds, providing them with a platform to tell their stories through arts, crafts and cultural events. In the long-term, the vision is to build bridges, grow relationships and encourage greater community cohesion. There will be more events coming soon.

#IAMWOMAN Craft Day Hailed a Success Reviewed by Editor on 19:29:00 Rating: 5

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