Weaving women’s wisdom into Interfaith Week exhibition

Published Friday 8 November 2019 at 9:29

A colourful exhibition in Blackburn during Interfaith Week will explore ideas of wisdom, faith, tradition and industry.

Dozens of dazzling pieces, including woven rugs, will form the ‘Weaving and Wisdom’ exhibition which comes to The Exchange Blackburn from Tuesday 12 to Thursday 14 November.

The woollen rugs were created by groups of women from different faiths in Bradford and in Pakistan, through a project led by the Touchstone Centre to encourage women to debate issues relating to life and faith.

Inspired by the women who have influenced them and the wisdom passed down from one woman to another, groups of females – from interfaith groups to schools and girls’ brigades – were given the materials to produce their own colourful rugs.

The women used traditional techniques from the UK and Pakistan to make their rugs, including rag rug techniques and locker hooking.

Some textiles from the world famous Gawthorpe Textiles collection will be on display alongside the rugs. Pieces have been selected to complement those from the Touchstone project, with references to cultural, social and personal histories around a theme of place.

The Weaving and Wisdom exhibition in The Exchange Blackburn has been funded by Near Neighbours Lancashire.

Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Public Health & Wellbeing, said:

We’re so lucky to host the Weaving and Wisdom exhibition in Blackburn with Darwen. It’s recently toured the UK, exhibiting in mosques, churches, cathedrals, museums and even the Houses of Parliament.

It really is a stunning sight and promises to be thought-provoking too.

As the pieces are woven from wool, linen or cotton, reflecting the industrial heritage of the North West, it’s fitting that these should be displayed in the old Cotton Exchange building in Blackburn.

The Weaving and Wisdom exhibition is free to attend, and is open between these times:

  • Tuesday 12 November, 11am to 5pm – between 11am and 2pm, there will be a colourful display of Indian dance and Indian food will be on offer
  • Wednesday 13 November, 9am to 3pm – Rachel Midgley from the Gawthorpe Collection will be on hand to give more information on the various pieces
  • Thursday 14 November, 3pm to 9pm – with a public storytelling session on the theme of ‘being found’ from 7pm.

Near Neighbours is also staging an Interfaith Week celebration of music and dance at The Exchange Blackburn. On Tuesday 12 November the building with be filled with the sounds of traditional dancing from around the world. There will be displays of Hindu dancing, Ceilidh dancing and morris dancing, and pupils from Roe Lee Primary School will demonstrate their clog dancing skills in a special performance.

There’ll be demonstrations of how to wear saris and headscarves, the chance to decorate beads and have henna painting too.

The event takes place between 10am and 2.30pm, and free food and refreshments will be available.

Interfaith Week takes place from 10 to 17 November. It’s an annual event focused on interfaith understanding and cooperation that aims to highlight the good work already being done in communities up and down the UK. To find out more, visit www.interfaithweek.org.

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