Creative Walsall blog

January 26, 2016

Silver Thread – 25th Anniversary Project Walsall Council Creative Development Team

Walsall Council Creative Development Team celebrates 25 years of delivering community arts in Walsall., we are proud to announce our success in receiving £73,740 Arts Council England Lottery Funding to deliver a unique year long community arts project for Walsall Borough

We will involve an army of local people to create 11 unique tapestries representing the six towns and other areas in Walsall Borough. The tapestries will reflect the borough’s living history, diversity and commonality; acknowledge the past, reflect the present and embrace the future.

Creating the tapestries will provide the common thread to produce a commemorative book featuring 25 of Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team projects, which include The Brownhills Miner, Festivals and a host of other projects from the 25 year history of the team’s work.
The book will tell the story of the 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 will demonstrate how the Creative Development Team is a thread linking people, places and policies and instigating positive change in communities. We wish to celebrate and bring to life that thread and show people how we have sewn it.

For the Silver Thread Tapestries in February and March we will host meetings in 11 different areas of Walsall to plan the content for the tapestries and are inviting local community groups, history groups, and individuals with an interest in local culture and history to attend to help decide what to feature on the tapestries. Come and help us tell Walsall’s story, if you would like to attend a meeting in your local area please let us have your details by contacting us on 01922 653114

The link will be made with the Leather industry by including leather work on the tapestries and we have discovered that Bloxwich was famous for a while for needle making as well as nails and awl blades. Local Company Somerfields (Operational in Sandbank from 1700’s til 1992) made it into the Guinness book of records for the world’s largest needle more than 6ft long for sewing mattresses made by Mr George Davies, master forger.

Picture attached is a photograph taken by local character Billy Meikle in 1915 of a typical Blade makers workshop, also attached is a letterhead of the Somerfield Company circa 1030’s
Image and research credit to Stuart Williams and Walsall Local History centre.

Once the content for the tapestries has been decided, Midlands Artist Hunt Emerson famous for being an artist on the Beano comic, will create the designs for the 11 tapestries, at which point we will need a army of sewing groups and individuals to help sew the images. The sewing will start after Easter and continue until the autumn to create a unique set of tapestries to be exhibited together and toured around the borough in January 2017. If you or your sewing group or community group would like to take part in the sewing we want to hear from you. Call 01922 653114 We are particularly looking for sewing experts able to lead groups and look after a tapestry as part of our delivery team if this is you please contact us as soon as possible.

Over the past 25 years Walsall Council Creative Development Team (Formerly known as Walsall Council Community Arts Team) delivered hundreds of participatory arts projects involving thousands of local people. We will feature 25 of the best project examples in the Silver Thread Book. We want to hear from anyone who remembers participating in our past projects to help us tell the story of local communities and impact for participants. If you remember taking part in our theatre projects, exhibitions, events, projects or festivals we want to hear from you. Contact the team on 01922 653114

Look out for further press about the Silver Thread tapestries and book as the project unfolds over the year, we want to involve as many local people as we can.

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