'Off Loom' Chair Weaving Project
Our exhibition Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles (January 2020 – April 2020) focused on seven pioneering women who saw beyond the purely functional, to reveal the extraordinary artistic, social and cultural importance of textiles.
Alongside this exhibition, Two Temple Place collaborated with the wonderful ‘A’ Team Arts to create the ‘Off Loom' Chair Weaving Project. The project engaged 14 young participants aged 11-19 from Tower Hamlets who reimagined our café chairs, using different weaving techniques to give each chair its own identity, narrative and story. Each chair involved a group approach with careful planning and preparation that reflected the diversity of young people taking part, and their story. Working on a live project was a great motivation for the 14 young participants, all from different schools, cultural back grounds and genders, culminating in this wonderful opportunity to show their work in a professional environment that is Two Temple Place! The chairs were then on display in our café rooms throughout our Unbound exhibition for people to admire and even sit on! Below we will take a closer look at the chairs from the project and hear about what inspired the young people who made them.
Below is the first of these amazing chairs, 'Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow' (The Textiles Chair') created by Nishat, Farzona, Farhunda, Iman and Jubaida as part of the project.
The chair below was made by Anam using personal objects such as photos, medals and bracelets that have been woven onto the chair, each representing their own story, memory, goal or even beloved pet! The book attached tells the story behind each special object, and gives us an insight into Anam's life in Tower Hamlets.
The 'Wedding Chair' was made by Melissa, Ben and Rakib, "this chair is about cultural marriages (Chinese, Bengali, White British) using dresses to represent this. The thing we like the most about our chair is the patterns and also how we have experimented with a variety of materials".
‘The Environment Chair’ below was made by Iman, Aliyah and Nabiha, "our environment is what surrounds us, and it's a vital part of how we live. The environment plays a vital part in our quality of life. Many of us take that fact lightly. This chair is a representation of my local environment. The use of different materials creates a unique profile and texture is a big part of appeal of the piece and helped convey my message".
This chair was made Jahida, Nurun and Firdowsun, “our theme was based of travel that available for members of Tower Hamlets to travel out and into different boroughs. We like how we incorporated all of our journeys and stories into this chair. We liked the fact that our journeys were unique from each others. We learnt how to weave and present our journey using different techniques and materials. We worked with textiles before and we had all enjoyed creating patterns and embroidering with different materials. We also screen printed the design on the seat, developing a new skill in the process".
Below is 'The Community Chairs', representing the themes of Yesterday, Today Tomorrow and have drawn inspiration from the different projects ‘A’ team arts has embarked on during its 40 years of existence as well as from the rich history and heritage of Tower Hamlets. The community chairs portray these different projects and themes in a positive way through collage, texture, patchwork, weaving, stitching, printing and batik. Each chair has its own identity that communicates hope for the future.
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