Monday, 14 October 2013

Matchbox City

We are currently developing an exciting project called Matchbox City, using creativity to explore ideas about the current housing crisis and notions of ‘home’. Working with people affected by homelessness and the wider public, we will create animated films and sculptural installations for exhibition in autumn 2014. It will be our most ambitious project to date. 

We have been meeting with some fantastic organisations who support people who are vulnerably housed such as Crisis, the Booth Centre and Petrus who are all interested in collaborating with Connecting Threads to make the project happen. We have also found some wonderful venues to exhibit the work created including the brilliant Brink in Liverpool. and Touchstones in Rochdale. Alongside indoor exhibitions we also have grand plans to bring sculptural artworks to a street corner near you! 

We are anxiously waiting to hear on the status of our funding application, but are itching to get  building the Matchbox City in 2014!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Crisis Skylight Merseyside

We had a brilliant time supporting some of the fantastic arts activities delivered by Crisis Skylight Merseyside in Liverpool as part of their Summer School programme. At the Bluecoat, Crisis members asked visitors 'who do you think you are?  and showed families how to create masks and flip books based on the theme of identity. At St Luke's 'Bombed Out' Church, Crisis members worked with arts organisation Urban Strawberry Lunch to try plastic fusion techniques. Using recycled plastic bags fused with heat, we created brightly coloured panels which will become part of a 'stained glass window' to be installed in the open window spaces of the building and illuminated during the winter months. 

It was fantastic to get to know some of the wonderfully creative clients from Crisis who shared their skills and ideas with the public so confidently. We are currently developing plans for our next Connecting Threads project and feel that this approach of peer learning and active skills sharing would be a great way to engage both clients affected by homelessness and the wider public. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Our Growing Embroidery & The Next Steps ...

Earlier this spring Connecting Threads were invited to deliver a day of workshops and presentations for  MMU Manchester School of Art undergraduates interested in developing careers within community arts. We spoke about the different projects we have been involved with both individually and collaboratively since graduating from MSA's Embroidery degree in 2008. Our aim was to give an honest and realistic account of both the challenges and rewards of working within the arts and wellbeing sector in the current economic climate and some of the routes that are possible to take following graduation. The students were all engaged in their own work placements in community settings and it was interesting to hear about their different projects. 

Part of the session involved working on the Connecting Threads embroidered Manchester landscape from last year's exhibition. This proved to be an effective icebreaker as the participants got to know each other as they chatted, adding their marks and embroidery to the piece. The piece will get another outing as part of the Didsbury Arts Festival on Saturday 22nd June, between 1.30 - 4.30pm. Join us at Emmanuel Church in Didsbury to add your own doodles and stitches. 

After a busy 9 months working on our various projects, Connecting Threads are currently regrouping to develop our second project together and secure funding. We are meeting with some fantastic organisations who provide support to homeless and vulnerably housed people in the North West. We used the MMU day as an opportunity to test out some of our workshop ideas including the possibility of creating a 'matchbox city', the results were lovely and spurred us on to get that funding bid in. Keep watching this space for updates on our next project!