Tuesday 10 December 2013

An old friend and further work in Bugle, Cornwall

Great to catch up with Lois Wild at Diocesan House this week. Lois is organising a Family Christmas Party in Bugle, central Cornwall - near Minorca Lane where we worked with Portuguese families on I Packed This Myself. We created a suitcase with items brought by Portuguese people - Lois has the case and hopefully it will be on display. It would be great to hear news from some of the people we worked with.

A Portuguese worker photographed close to Tulip meat processing factory, near Bugle, in 2007. Tom Pilston/Bridging Arts
Details of the party from Lois:
"Christmas Family Party
Saturday 14th December
2.00pm till 4.00pm
Bugle Methodist Church Sunday School Hall

There is no charge to come to the event and there will be food, craft activities, the chance to have your say on Bugle and we are hoping for a visit from Father Christmas at 3.30pm.

You don't need to let us know you are coming, please just turn up any time during the afternoon."

Wednesday 6 November 2013

On the 207 bus

Spotted at the Queen Adelaide bus stop on Uxbridge Road - a white skateboard.
I am no expert at all but (almost) instantly recognised this as an Isle skateboard - the new company set up by Nick Jensen and others. Nick was the driving force behind our project, Whatever It Takes, in Cornwall last year. There are some amazing Isle designs. Had to snatch these photographs on the bus and eventually at the tube station: thought it might have been slightly odd to say 'Can I take a picture of your skateboard?'

Great to see that Isle - only set up in the last 12 months - is already so visibly on the streets.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Skirt: project with the Roma Support Group

The Roma Support Group is based in Newham
Exciting to be starting a project with the Roma Support Group looking at the long skirts worn by many Roma women.
We're at the initial brainstorming stage at the moment. The aim of the project will be to increase understanding and break down prejudice.
As with other projects that we've done around dress and  fabric -  issues of identity and cultural heritage will take centre stage.
“The origin of the word ‘cloth’ probably comes from the root ‘kil-‘, to stick or cling to, which makes cloth ‘that which clings to the body or that which is pressed or ‘felted together’. The idea of cloth as a second skin is thus intrinsic to its meaning.” Soft Logics and Material Worlds (2009), Pennina Barnett

Thursday 24 October 2013

Shilpa Rajan catwalk show....

The catwalk at Cottrell House, Wembley, poised and ready for Shilpa Rajan's Spring Summer 2014 collections unveiled tonight ....http://www.houseofbilimoria.com/
All soon for sale on her website -

So brilliant to see this: Shilpa was one of the winners of the British Sari Story 2007 and has gone from strength to strength.  See more of Shilpa's lovely clothes here....

Saturday 19 October 2013

House of Bilimoria - spring/summer 2014 collections

Looking forward to next Thursday (24th October) when Shilpa Rajan will be unveiling Spring/Summer 2014 collections for her House of Bilimoria label.  At Cottrell House, 53-63 Wembley Hill Road, HA9 8BU on  from 7.30pm - email Shilpa for more information.

Shilpa, who is the designer and founder of House of Bilimoria, was one of ten winners of the British Sari Story - the 2007 Bridging Arts project which marked the 60th year of Indian independence by seeking British Asian patterns for the sari.  Shilpa's vibrant print of mangoes (left) was inspired by market sellers on Ealing Road, Wembley.

Click here for more about Shilpa. Click here for a gallery of the exhibition, featured in the Guardian.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo: a portrait of two towns by Monica Alcazar

Good to have an update from Monica Alcazar about her photography project in Mexico - Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo- Double Vision.  Monica produced films of our project Stitch in Harrow - interviewing the Royal School of Needlework tutor Rosa Martyn, who was working with us, and also women creating embroidery.

Monica's work in Mexico looks at two small neighbouring towns on a stretch of coastline in the state of Guerroro - Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. Though close, they are worlds apart - separated by what Monica describes as an 'Upstairs-Downstairs' relationship. Ixtapa is the ritzy resort town; Zihuatanejo is where the workers live. Some examples of Monica's photos giving a glimpse of the different life styles are up on her blog. The rest will be on display at an exhibition in 2014.

Funding for this was raised via KickStart - a great way to generate interest as well as financial backing. If you want to support the project, you have the choice of donating at different levels. At each level, you are offered various incentives. Wish I could have afforded £200 - as in return for that you get a real bumper offering in exchange:

"An A3 (approx. 12x16 inch.) Giclee print on Hahnemuhle 310gsm paper from the project. You choose from a special set of ten images. A credit on the book. An invitation to the private view of the exhibition in London in 2014. My grandma's personal recipe for guacamole. And a lifetime credit in the exhibitions of the project. PLUS: A huge thank you from me, the Double Vision blog, the screensaver and the postcards."

Very tempted by the idea of the guacamole recipe....

Tuesday 24 September 2013

News of the campaign to save Southbank skateboarding

Spotted this sticker when walking across Vauxhall Bridge this morning - the campaign to save skateboarding on London's Southbank continues. The undercroft used by generations of skateboarders is under threat of development: there are plans to build shops and restaurants as part of a £120 million development. Skateboarders have been campaigning to stop the project ever since it was announced earlier this year.

Later in the day, read in the Evening Standard that the campaign's bid to have the undercroft classified as a village green under the Commons Act 2006 was turned down today by Lambeth Council. The campaign continues: too many people care too much about the space for it to stop.

Skateboarding is central to many people's lives: we saw this in Whatever It Takes which was led by Nick Jensen.

Monday 23 September 2013

An unexpected find on a Monday morning...

Reviewing projects over the past few years on embroidery and fabric, come across this short film we made to accompany A Stitch in Time, an exhibition we staged in Brent with Lorenzo Belenguer funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2009. The images are a vivid testimony to the importance of the work.
Reading The Subversive Stitch by Rozsike Parker this morning: "Has the pen or pencil dipped so deep in the blood of the human race as the needle?" 

Saturday 21 September 2013

Pretty Village - film by Kemal Pervanic

A truly impressive and moving film last night at the Frontline Club, London - marking the end of several years' hard work by Kemal Pervanic.  Pretty Village is directed by David Evans and tells the harrowing story of the 1992 Kevljani massacre in Bosnia and its continuing effect on people's lives there. Kemal himself is a survivor of the notorious concentration camp, Omarska, where among his guards were former neighbours and teachers.

Kemal Pervanic, centre, at a discussion at the FrontLine Club chaired by Ed Vulliamy after the screening of Pretty Village
In May 1992, 6,000 Bosnian Muslim men, women and children were detained, tortured and raped in the cluster of villages around Kevljani. Many of these Bosniak were killed and 1,200 are still missing. In 2000 the first Bosnian survivors returned to Kevljani, where  they started to rebuild their homes and lives. Most Serb neighbours remain silent about the past and continue to fight against an initiative to erect a memorial even after the discovery of mass graves in the village.
In Pretty Village, Kemal Pervanic returns to his village. In one of the film's most extraordinary moments, in a school corridor he intercepts his former Maths teacher, who interrogated him in Omarska,  and asks him about what happened. Incredibly, a conversation ensures  - a discussion about events that are almost beyond belief.
Kemal helped with the very first Bridging Arts project, Crimson Harvest, which brought the work of Bosnian Serb artist Pero Mandic to the UK. He also helped to develop Srebrenica Now, showing photographs of Bosnian Muslims and Serbs living in Srebrenica ten years after the genocide.
Having the personal courage to confront these nightmares is inspiring to say the very least.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Book Arts - news from Katherine Eves

Great to see Katherine Eves at the summer M.A. show at Camberwell College of Arts.  Katherine worked on our Stitch project with groups of Muslim women in Wandsworth. She also helped on the sewing circles and tea parties we trialled in Shepherds Bush at Trillington House, a residential home for the elderly.

A selection of work from her M.A in Book Arts: she researched these pincushions at the Women's Library - inspired perhaps by our visit there in 2010 to see an exhibition including a piece created by Chhaya Biswas in Stitch.

Monday 2 September 2013

What's in the pipeline

A blog to throw a spotlight what's happening at Bridging Arts.
We've got the website, of course, as an archive of what we've done. And we'll still write separate blogs linked with individual projects, as they're useful ways of reporting on how things are progressing.

But there are many random connections that are so interesting.
Daffodil pickers from eastern Europe playing football at night in Camborne, Cornwall
For anyone who has come across this blog via the labyrinths of the internet - and incredibly might not have heard of Bridging Arts.... we try and tackle difficult issues in society through art, design and photography. The aim is to bring together people, communities and organisations that might otherwise never meet to engage in a project that creates something of value and stimulates debate.

We try and make a difference through action and arts-related activities.

We've worked with 
- Claire Arymar, community worker at Park an Tansys, Camborne, apprentices at Cornwall Community Action Network, leading UK skateboarder Nick Jensen in Whatever It Takes
- socially isolated migrant workers in Cornwall in I Packed This Myself
- groups of Muslim women in London in Stitch
- British Asian communities across the country in The British Sari Story
- organisations in Bosnia and the UK working in the aftermath of the genocide at Srebrenica
 - refugee artist Pero Mandic.

Support Us

Bridging Arts depends on grants and charitable donations. To support us, click here.