Making from scratch a print by using my own design, being able to express myself artistically and displaying our work at the V&A has been really fantastic
Texture & Textiles explored the range of textile techniques in the V&A Fabric of India exhibition. Led by artist Raksha Patel sixteen workshop sessions across London boroughs with local residents and community organisations culminated in a shared display hosted at the Museum. From block print to gota work and embroidery, sessions explored the visual expression of textiles using traditional techniques and crafts employed in Indian textile manufacture while exploring themes that relate both to the history of Indian trade and its place in contemporary society.
By the end of the exchange with the V&A Learning team and artist Raksha Patel each group had developed its own approach and built up dialogue across participants including issues of importance such as representation, locality, home, dreams and ambitions. Over 45 individual pieces of work and text were created including a large frieze of the Ramayana story by Ealing Mencap and images of the cotton trade and industry explored by Harrow Womens Centre.
As well as engaging with historic and contemporary cultural references, participants referred to personal inspirations and references through their textile works relating to the V&A Fabric of India exhibition.
A display of the work produced was held in November and the groups also visited the V&A to see the Fabric of India exhibition and take part in Festival of India activities across the Museum.
”I think its really important the work of the V&A. When we went to the Fabric of India exhibition it was really amazing and if we were not engaged in the Learning project with the block printing and everything we’ve been doing we might not have not have come… art is so important in how it connects to our lives but can easily be forgotten particularly when you are older and not being taken to exhibitions as a child through school…” Sania Sehbai, Harrow Womens Centre
Read more about the project from a blog post by Westminster Libraries Bengali Services about taking part in the project here