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Connecting Threads…. The power of textile art in celebrating heritage

A project, ‘Connecting Threads’  celebrating  the heritages of the Middle Eastern and local communities culminates in an exhibition at Westbury Arts Centre, 30- 31 March 2024 and a presentation at Milton Keynes Literary Festival 4th April 2024.

Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct.
Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct. Workshop members Waed and Sue. Sue has written ‘friend’ in Arabic in soya wax on her Batik and Waed is checking that it’s correct.

The project raises awareness of the power and importance of textiles and textile art in prolonging memories and celebrating diverse heritages. It brought together 50 members of both Westbury Fabric and Fibre Group and the Middle Eastern Cultural Group in a series of workshops over 3 months.


Participants learnt and shared experimental textile techniques such eco-printing and batik with natural dyes, while recounting their individual stories and childhood memories.


Some of the women created poetic statements to articulate their feelings about their heritage and about those strong women in their past who encouraged them to value themselves, and some of these are incorporated into the textiles on display at Westbury Arts Centre. One such textile includes the words “The crossing of worlds as the sun goes down”.


Yvonne Elliott, who is the project manager for ‘Connecting Threads’ and a resident artist at Westbury Arts Centre said: “The project brought to life the value of meeting and learning from each other in relaxed, safe settings, and how this learning can support mental wellbeing.”


The project has been kindly supported by Milton Keynes Community Foundation.


Fragments of a heavily embroidered dress brought in a market in Jerusalem in 1967.
Fragments of a heavily embroidered dress brought in a market in Jerusalem in 1967.

Westbury Fabric and Fibre Guild is hosted by Westbury Arts Centre.


See the printed and stitched work at Westbury Arts Centre on Saturday 30 March and Sunday 31 March between 11am and 5pm, Find out more EXHIBITIONS | Mysite (westburyartscentre.org.uk)

Hear readings by two local writers who participated in the workshops and created poetry and prose  in response to the exhibition on Thursday 4 April at Milton Keynes Central Library from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.


Entry to both events is free, and advance tickets for the event in the Library can be booked via MK Lit Fest https://www.mklitfest.org/connecting-threads





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