Life’s rich tapestry – on show at Brownhills Library until Friday!


The Parkview Centre is a central landmark in Brownhills – Picture by John M and posted on Geograph under a Creative Commons License.

My apologies for only just spotting this, but there’s a great display of a wonderful community artwork currently ongoing at Brownhills Library in the Parkview Centre, running until next Friday, 26th May 2017.

The display is of the remarkable Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries, and Area Librarian Naomi Jones wrote to tell me:

Brownhills Library will be displaying Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries from 9th May – 26th May , in the library at the Park View Centre.

Celebrating 25 years of bringing community arts to the Borough, The Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries project has produced 11 tapestries illustrated by artist Hunt Emerson and hand stitched by an army of needlework volunteers from the local community.

Each Tapestry features a different area of the borough, capturing Walsall’s living history and diverse geographical communities. Silver Thread’ highlights Walsall’s prominent people, places and events.

Naomi Jones
Area Librarian – Aldridge/Brownhills Area

You can find out more at the project’s Facebook page here.

My apologies to Naomi and anyone else who’s send me mail that’s apparently disappeared: Google re-enabled their spam filter and I’ve just found a treasure trove of useful mail dating back 18 months. Most of it isn’t spam, which has been getting through as normal… Let joy be unconfined.

Here’s a great explanation of the Silver Thread project from Walsall’s ‘Creative Walsall’ Team.

A remarkable community artwork. Image supplied by Creative Walsall.

Launch of Walsall Silver Thread Tapestries

Walsall Council’s Creative Development Team is celebrating 25 years of bringing community arts to Walsall. To mark this occasion the team is launching the Silver Thread Tapestries –11 unique tapestries representing the six towns and other areas in Walsall Borough, created by an army of local volunteers.

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.

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 tell the story of famous faces from Walsall, including Ellie Simmonds, Noddy Holder, Goldie, Meera Syal and Rob Halford.

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.

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.

The Brownhills Tapestry – well worth a look up close! Image supplied by Creative Walsall.

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.’

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

Creating the tapestries 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 is 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.

The link was made with the leather industry by including leather work on the tapestries.

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