Category Archives: Silver Thread Project

Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project tour launches

This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.
This stunning main Bloxwich tapestry is just one of those relating to the Bloxwich area.

Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team is celebrating 25 years of bringing community arts to Walsall. To mark this occasion the team is launching a tour of the Silver Thread Tapestries – eleven unique tapestries representing the six towns and other areas in Walsall Borough, created by an army of local volunteers.

The tapestries will be on display in the New Art Gallery Walsall from 21 – 29 January 2017 and will then move to various locations around the borough (see list of dates at the end of this feature) before being displayed at the NEC Sewing for Pleasure Show 17 – 19 March 2017. Commemorative postcards depicting each of the tapestries will be available to buy.

Community and heritage

To help decide what to feature on the tapestries, workshops were held around the borough in early 2016 and attended by local community groups, history groups, and individuals with an interest in local culture and history.  The Bloxwich Telegraph’s editor, Stuart Williams, also acted as an historical advisor to the project.

Each area of the borough had its own story to tell, whether it be the Pelsall poppies, meeting under the clock in Willenhall market place or the excitement when Cilla came for the first Blind Date wedding. The tapestries also focus on famous and/or historically significan faces from across Walsall borough, including Pat Collins, Ellie Simmonds, Noddy Holder, Goldie, Meera Syal, Sir Harry Smith Parkes and Rob Halford, to name but a few.

Once the content was decided, midlands artist Hunt Emerson, famous for being an artist on the Beano comic, created the designs for the 11 tapestries.

An army of volunteers
Some of the many sewers and their tapestries!
Some of the many sewers and their tapestries!

The call was then put out to local people, whether experienced in tapestry work or not, to come forward to take part in the project. Around 100 experienced volunteers worked hard on the project for around ten months, with a further 100 playing a smaller part. Each of the 11 tapestries are the result of around 2,000 hours of work – an incredible commitment from the volunteers.

Councillor Julie Fitzpatrick, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said:

“The tapestries take your breath away – they’re absolutely stunning. The volunteers have really done Walsall proud.”

“Apart from creating this wonderful legacy for Walsall, what’s lovely is the friendships made during the sewing, which will continue going forwards.”

Lottery funded

The project received Arts Council England Lottery Funding of £73,740 to deliver a unique year long community arts project for Walsall Borough.

Book commemorates the Creative Development Team
Walsall Silver Thread Project marks 25 years of the Creative Development Team
Walsall Silver Thread Project marks 25 years of the Creative Development Team

Creating the tapestries also provided the common thread to produce a commemorative book. The book features 25 of the Creative Development Team’s hundreds of participatory arts projects including the Brownhills Miner, involving thousands of local people from the 25 year history of the team’s work projects.

The book tells the story of engaging creative processes and the impact participatory arts have made in Walsall’s communities across an area so diverse in history, heritage and geography.

The Silver Thread Tapestries and the book project demonstrate how the Creative Development Team have been a thread linking people, places and policies and instigating positive change in communities. The team wished to celebrate and bring to life that thread and show people how we have sewn it.

For more information, see the project’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Walsall-Silver-Thread-Tapestries-Project-1694681744103438/

The Silver Thread Tapestries Tour

Members of the public can view the amazing tapestries in person at the venues below – photographs simply cannot do justice to the quality of the artistry and sewing, so don’t miss your chance to see them!

21 -29 Jan           New Art Gallery Walsall, Gallery Square WS2

Opening times 10am – 5pm Tues – Saturdays

12pm – 4pm Sundays

2  – 7 Feb             St Matthews Church St Matthews Close WS1 3DG

Viewing times: 2 and 3 Feb 3pm – 4.30pm

Sat 4 Feb 10.30am -2pm

Sun 5 Feb 12pm – 2pm

Mon 6 and Tues 7 Feb 10.30am – 4.30pm

8 – 14 Feb            Pheasey Library

Opening times Tues – Fridays 9am-1pm and 2pm – 6pm

Saturdays 9am-1pm and 2- 4pm

15 – 21 Feb         Willenhall Library

Opening times Tues – Fridays 9am-1pm and 2pm – 6pm

Saturdays 9am-1pm and 2am- 4pm

22 – 28 Feb         Pelsall Library

Opening times Tues – Fridays 9am-1pm and 2pm – 6pm

Saturdays 9am-1pm and 2pm- 4pm

1   –  16 March    Central Library Walsall

Opening times Tues – Fri 8.30am – 6pm

Sat 8.30am – 5pm

Sun 1pm – 4pm

17 – 19 March      NEC Sewing for Pleasure Show

Opening times 9.30am – 5.30pm (5pm Sun)

Tickets £12 (£11 Seniors)

 

Pictures courtesy Walsall Council