Better Than So Sew

Yesterday saw the second workshop in the 6 week textile banner block as part of our Recycle Upcycle Project at the Broomhill Art Flat. We recapped some of the ideas we had generated in the first session, as we had some new faces and returning regulars who weren’t able to make it last week.

We’ve be working with Rags to Riches from the Govanhill Baths, Glasgow to create a banner inspired by the heritage of Broomhill and reflecting on the community today.

We’ve already generated some great ideas including the history of women in the area from the women working in the Merino Mills (nice link with textiles, ‘eh?) to those working in the Torpedo Factories during the Second World War. We also thought that using maps as a decorative background would look pretty eye-catching – you can see some photos here of some drawings by one of our younger participants, inspired by maps from Broomhill.

We had a participant who had grown up in Broomhill and the surrounding area and has returned after some time spent in Glasgow. He had a great wealth of knowledge about the industries and buildings that used to populate Broomhill, which will definitely feed into the design for the banner.

It was also thought that the banner would work well in a portrait format, echoing sense of height in Broomhill and Greenock given by the rising hills and high flats. This idea was inspired by Matisse’s Beasts of the Sea, 1950, in which he arranged his composition vertically in order to suggest the depths of the sea.

After some brainstorming, we delved into the bags of fabric and scrap material we have left over from RIG Arts projects, brought along by Rags to Riches and donated by Broomhill residents and Art Flat participants. We began thinking about colours and textures, imagining what would be good to use to represent different elements of the banner.

We then got cracking with the sewing machines. For some people it was their first time using one, and for others they were polishing off rusty skills. We have bought 5 sewing machines second hand from Gumtree, and so all of the machines need to be threaded slightly differently, and all have slightly different features and settings. This however, seems to be a good thing as we’ll now all feel confident in using different machines in the future.

We played around with the machines, altering the tension, length and width of the stitches, practising making straight lines and figuring out how to do reverse stitching in order to secure the thread. Everyone’s tries were really impressive, which bodes well for beginning work on the banner and one adult participant who hadn’t used a sewing machine before told us that she felt as if she was learning life skills! All in all, the first two sessions have gone down brilliantly, and I’m so excited to see everyone’s skill-set and confident grow, and the banner begin to take shape.

Remember, the workshops are open to all adults, and you can bring along your children with you. Sessions run from 6pm-8pm on Monday evenings at 12 Broomhill Court, PA15 4ET.


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