What's the Story
Workshop series at Cork Migrant Centre
In 2022, I was privileged to facilitate the workshop series "What's the Story" at the Women Coffee Morning: a vibrant group that meets every Friday at Nano Nagle Place in Cork to connect and enjoy a "me" time. These women moved to Ireland seeking protection, most of them live in direct provision centres, and they created a strong bond together.
I'm interested in exposing people to experimentation and togetherness through the process of sharing and printing their narratives. Understanding scarves as the common thread among the different nationalities, each participant introduced themselves and shared their scarf-tying expertise, with a fun fact.
What's The Story is the name of a 5-week workshop series in which I invited them to create a print for a scarf that symbolizes a story or stories they want to tell. Inspired by memories, emotions, desires, wishes, cultures, or any subjective aspect that guided them to create a design with emotional attachments.
Using stencils as a technique, we practised together in green-striped chiffon. Sharing the space, the stencils, the colours, the bleeds or the kid's care. The synergy around the group made each of the 3 hours session fly. We would stay longer if we could. We all wouldn’t mind the clock.
After testing, we moved from green chiffon to white light-striped cotton as the final piece. The proximity of the technique made them more open to experimentation. I could see multi-colours on the same element, hand-written words of affirmation, and more playful and expanded compositions.
A personal ritual of encapsulating meaningful memories was made collectively each time the sponge brush dabbed each stencil by each woman. The results were not as important as the process. Each of us in that room created physical and emotional documents not only in the textiles we used but in significant and memorable moments.
I proposed this workshop series as part of my residency at Cork Printmakers funded by IN FROM THE MARGINS residency programme. It's a reminder that our stories are essential, our narratives can inspire, and that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.
IN FROM THE MARGINS is a programme of Studios of Sanctuary residencies for artists with experience of displacement, supported by the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), through its Creative Europe programme. https://corkprintmakers.ie/iftm/
Images: Giles Carey