Abergavenny Based Textile Project
In 2013 Arts Alive worked in partnership with Monmouthshire Housing Association to create a new creative crafts and textile group in Abergavenny. The group was set up in order to respond to the health needs of MHA female tenants in Abergavenny and to improve their general well being. Set up by Arts Alive Wales artist Miranda Thomason for its initial 10 week phase, Miranda handed over leadership to project enabler and Monmouthshire Housing Association tenant Sue Jones.
With the support of both organisations, Sue and the members of Crafty Women have gone from strength to strength, organising their own fund-raising and working closely with other artists including Penny Turnbull on collaborative quilts and with photographer Toril Brancher who helped to document their inspiring progress. Crafty Women was short-listed for a Welsh Housing Award in 2013.
At the end of 2013, Arts Alive received the exciting news that it had secured funding from Health Control through the Health Lottery to create new Crafty Women groups for women in North Abergavenny over the next 2 years.
‘Crafty Women’ targets women who have difficulty accessing creative groups and offers opportunities for participants to take part in a wide range of textile based craft activities, to learn and develop skills and to develop confidence and self-esteem. The project aims to establish pathways for participants to play an active role in the running of the groups and to take an active role in their communities.
Participants make their own work, as well as creating collaborative pieces. They sell their work at events twice a year.
There is a big resurgence in ‘making’ currently taking place in Wales, as a means of self expression and participation. Before the project began, it was apparent that ‘making groups’ were popping up in the locality, but it was difficult for women in North Abergavenny area to access the opportunities due to transport, child care or financial considerations. This arts and craft group is tailored to the North Abergavenny community providing accessible, affordable and sustainable opportunities for making and selling.
We hope that the wider community will benefit through the creation of self-sustaining groups which increase the services and activities available in North Abergavenny. We know that the ‘making’ skills of the women taking part are being shared amongst their families and across generations and in the future, the groups may begin to run family activities.
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