- by May Ip

Crochet is one of my hobbies. Every year, I will make small projects such as head bands, scarfs, wrist warmers for myself and to give away as gifts. Learning how to make Chinese buttons has been on my "someday I will learn" list for a long time. Recently, I found the perfect opportunity to experiment with combining the two – make a Chinese button with crochet strings.

I participated in the Community Sewing Hoop.

Two women were behind this brilliant idea; Monique Stewart is a textile artist, and Joanna Botrell is the owner of Heartwood Home. "The Community Sewing Hoop" was intended to be part of Both Wild and Cultivated. The exhibit was intended, amongst other things, to acknowledge Textile Arts and the creative possibilities in those traditional techniques. But I also wanted, always want I guess, to encourage people to experience creativity first hand," Monique explained. Both Wild and Cultivated: an exhibit of local textile artists took place at Heartwood Home from June 20 to July 13. Besides exhibition of works of a group of textile artists and the Community Sewing Hoop, Both Wild and Cultivated has another component, which is to display pieces created by participants of felting workshops Monique has done at Heartwood Home.

I have always felt that arts should always have the aspect of bring people together, building community. Monique shares my view; "Creative projects as a popular education tool in workshop facilitation provided excellent scope for difficult discussions but it was also just a great way to get a group of people working together. And it has helped me provide a safe seeming environment for creativity, even amongst people who aren't always comfortable with "art" or making it. It worked equally well for a group of Grandmothers learning English, middle school kids making connections with their peers living in South Africa or community members celebrating their neighbourhoods." When talking to Joanna, she modestly said that all she did was to provide a space. I think that was an understatement. A community arts project will not take place without a venue.

As I was sewing my Chinese button onto the Community Sewing Hoop, I felt an instant connection with the others who have participated. Thank you, Monique Stewart and Joanna Botrell, two community-minded souls.






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