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As part of the The Art of Survival International and Irish Quilts exhibition a series of workshops were held from May 2007 through to April 2008. This page contains details of these workshops (listed in reverse chronological order).

'Workshop Week' – 8 to 11 April 2008
To coincide with the running of the exhibition a series of four workshops were held in the Tower Muesum and one workshop was held in the Harbour Museum.

"The Art of Survival Exhibition 'Workshop Week' was a great success for the Heritage and Museum Service.  We welcomed a wide range of new visitors to the Tower Museum to take part in a number of different activities and as a result made a number of new connections.   The Tower Museum workshops were aimed at adults and were very sociable and everyone who took part commented on how much fun they had as well as learning some new techniques and meeting up with old and new friends.
We also ran an activity for schools facilitated by Louise McElhinney.  Ten pupils from Lisnagelvin and ten pupils from Steelstown Primary Schools went to the Workhouse Museum where, over four mornings, they worked to produce their own wall hanging which then went on display in the Tower Museum.  The nature of the activity allowed the pupils to meet and talk over what they were doing and to get a sense of achievement from what they made as a collective group
The nature of the exhibition was very interactive and therefore the workshops were designed to allow the participants to work with textiles, to work with each other and to get a better understanding of how quilts have been used over centuries to record events and happenings as well as providing an alternative form of expression."
Margaret Edwards, Education Officer with the Heritage and Museum Service.

photo of schools workshop"Since we live in a multi-cultural society, to live in peace with each other we need to respect each others differences. This Peace Tree project highlights children's aspirations for peace. Symbols of peace from various cultures were stitched to the tree. The silk flowers under the Peace Tree are symbolic of the twenty children that participated in the project. Many thanks to the children for their enthusiasm, children are the future. I hope the seeds sown producing the quilt encouraged friendship, sharing and respect."
Louise McElhinney (Speaking at the launch of the children's quilt.)

11 April 2008 – Harbour Museum
Tutor – Roberta Bacic
Duration – 3 hours
Title – The Politics of Chilean Arpilleras
This workshop was organised by request of a group of women from Belfast. They were especially interested in the way women expressed pain caused by human rights violations and political violence and also wanted to know about the narratives of each arpillera maker as a woman and were looking for insights into their ways of coping.
There was a guided tour the 17 pieces, a friendly question and answer time and also the film 'Como Alitas de Chincol' was shown. It is a 10 minutes animation that tells about the history of Chilean arpilleras, puts them in historical context and also refers to the technical elements of making them. It was produced by Vivienne Barry a Chilean filmmaker who was awarded for this short film the 1st prize in La Havana, Cuba at the 24th festival of Latin American Film. As a result of the workshop some of the participantes decided to look into the possibility of bringing the exhibition to Belfast early 2009.
Number of participants: 6

11 April 2008 – Tower Museum                              
Tutor – Irene MacWilliam
Duration of workshop – 4 hours
Celtic Animal Designs
photo of workshop 11 April 2008 The participants painted a Celtic animal design and transferred it to fabric. Irene discussed with the women how these could be used to make a small wall hanging, a bag, a greeting card, a tablemat or used in a cushion. No previous experience was required. Participants did not go home with a finished piece. Materials and designs were supplied.
Number of participants: 10
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10 April 2008 – Tower Museum
Tutor – Mary Good
Duration of workshop – 4 hours
Niaeve Applique Sue and Sam Panel
photo of workshop 10 April 2008This is a technique workshop and suitable for participants of varying sewing/quilting experience.  Women were shown how to use this to make a cushion or small tablemat.
They needed to bring a sewing box to include embroidery needle, scissors and pencil. A 12” square of fabric for the background and a small piece of bondaweb was provided in class at a small charge to the participants.  The participants were asked to bring along any small pieces of coloured fabric to use for the appliqué and these were shared out among all other class members. Embroidery thread was provided.
Number of participants: 12
See photographs taken at the workshop [opens in separate 'tab' or 'window'; close to return to this page]

9 April 2008 – Tower Museum                                        
Tutor – Doris Rohr (Artist/Lecturer Art & Design, University of Ulster)
Duration of workshop – 4 hours
Draw, design and make with flowers: a contemporary flower paper quilt
photo of workshop 9 April 2008 This workshop explored the emotive power of flowers as a source for drawing, painting, collage, textile art or other art processes. No prior knowledge of art, design or textiles was necessary, only a preparedness to be open minded and to be able to share creative processes and stories with each other. Participants were expected to work individually and with other participants on designs, which formed a collective paper quilt at the end of the workshop.
Participants were asked to bring a flower or a plant (cut or in a pot) and in particular flowers or plants, which have a special personal symbolic meaning or an individual story or association to the participants, which the women would be willing to share with the other participants. Some basic materials were provided (paper, scissors, glue, coloured crayons, paint, and some material for collage). Some participants preferred working with their own materials; others contributed materials to the workshop. Participants were positively encouraged to bring coloured papers, patterned and plain, and a range of books or magazines depicting their favourite plants/ flowers, so that there would be additional source material to work from beyond the material provided by tutor.
Number of participants:7
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8 April 2008 – Tower Museum
Tutor – Bridget Guest
Duration of workshop – 3 hours
The Quaker Tapestry – learn the secrets behind the stitches...
photo of workshop 9 April 2008 Bridget helped the women discover how the tapestry panels were designed and created by over 4,000 people, and how these techniques continue to inspire others to create their own projects for embroidery. The unique Quaker Stitch was invented for the Quaker Tapestry project. The main aim of the workshops was to discover the technique of this versatile stitch and practice with it. Materials were provided and no sewing experience was needed.
The participants were invited to visit the Tapestry Museum in Kendal and also the existing web site
Number of participants: 14
See photographs taken at the workshop [opens in separate 'tab' or 'window'; close to return to this page]


Other Workshops

8 February 2008
photo of workshop 8 February 2008 On 8th February 2008 a workshop was held in The Junction immediately prior to launch of Chilean exhibition. The aim of this workshop was to discuss relevant aspects of the exhibitions due to start on 8th March 2008, decide on some practical matters regarding the Irish quilts that had started to be collected, and attend together the launch of the Chilean exhibit.
See photographs taken at the workshop [opens in separate 'tab' or 'window'; close to return to this page]

17 January 2008
Workshop with all the quilt-makers to write captions for the Irish catalogue

17 January 2008
Photographic session to photograph the Irish and Chilean quilts

3 November 2007
photo of workshop 3 November 2007 Meeting at The Junction with quilt-makers from all over Ireland which provided them with an opportunity get to know each other and share their quilting experiences.
See photographs taken at the workshop [opens in separate 'tab' or 'window'; close to return to this page]

31 May 2007
photo of workshop 31 May 2007 Workshop in Downhill Hostel, County Derry. This workshop was run by Gaby Franger and Roberta Bacic and was set up and organised by Quaker House Belfast. The main aim was to explore the possibility of exhibiting together and participate collectively of International Women's Day 2008. Photos were taken by volunteer of The Junction, Nikki D'Adamo, who also took notes of the session and helped the project move forward. At present she is back in the USA.
See photographs taken at the workshop [opens in separate 'tab' or 'window'; close to return to this page]


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