Stitching for survival

Hasina Begum with some of her work. 138862 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By CASEY NEILL

WOMEN have used art and craft to capture harrowing stories of survival.
Stitching Our Stories is on display at Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens in Dandenong until 31 May.
It’s the work of refugee, asylum seeker and migrant women who attend Wellsprings for Women’s Creative Connections Through Craft program.
They took a personal object and used printed patterns, textures and text to express their feelings towards it in artist books and hand embroideries.
“This process has fostered a sense of ownership, individual identity, history and pride in sharing cultural traditions,” art therapist Holly Gordon said.
Ms Gordon has worked on Creative Connections Through Craft for almost three years.
She said it was a soft starting point for women to access further education through Wellsprings and other organisations.
The group meets for more than two hours each Monday to work on a range of skills including stencil work, painting and embroidery.
A child support worker keeps their children occupied so they can focus on their projects.
Ms Gordon said some participants had gone on to complete certificate courses and run market stalls.
Wellsprings manager Veronica Hassett said the Creative Connections Through Craft each week joined the long-running Crafty Connections group for women with special needs.
“They all come together so they’re making stitches together,” she said.
“They’re learning to speak English together – where did you get your thread from? How do you make this outfit?
“That’s how women learn.”

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