Monday, 21 September 2015

Poverty and the great sheep dog trial

It's been a strange week of highs and lows.

We started the week with The Homeless Library saying our goodbyes at The Red Door, Bury- (a homeless day centre) during that day writing down a brutally honest account of a women who as a 15 year old was let down by the authorities, falling through the cracks and ending up leading a life of prostitution and drug taking. A tragic story, re-counted through tears, a story that could be repeated up and down the country by other men and women.

I spent Wednesday at The Farming Life Centre with The Country Craft Group for Stitching the Wars,  a delightful afternoon spent stitching, drinking tea and discussing poverty associated with the war- with the distance of time, making reminiscences of hard times full of colour and humour.

Thursday was at Blythe House Hospice, a place on the first impression that could be so sad, but in reality is warm and full of life... fantastic reminiscence and stitching for Stitching the Wars...

On Friday we secured a fantastic exhibition venue for our quilt 'A Bomber's Moon' more on that soon. On Saturday we found out we have been awarded a significant grant for a new project- more or on that soon...

A Bombers Moon- detail.

Before I started Stitching the Wars, I admit much of my knowledge about farming was gained from The Archers. Working with The Farming Life Centre has been an amazing opportunity to meet and discuss life on the land with farmers who have worked the land for the last 100 years. Yesterday it was the Hayfield Country Show and Sheep Dog Trials where I exhibited the quilt 'A Bombers Moon', and worked on the new quilt for Stitching the Wars. The quilt got a great reception, with many positive comments- it's such a tactile piece- I watched as people made a bee-line to come an hold and touch the artwork (I still get nervous showing such a piece- want to do justice to the people who have contributed to the project and to all the organisations who have supported the project)  On the face of it life in the country looked as it does in the adverts, green and pleasant and for many people it is, however scratch the surface and you find a different reality. There are farmers who are doing well, but many are on the bread line, many going under. I spoke to one women, a sheep farmer who explained incredibly tight margins they work to, (like so many dairy farmers in the UK) She's just had to get another overdraft to tide them over till the income trickles in from sales of the wool. She was still smiling. A day out meeting friends, sharing a story and eating the best pies in Derbyshire.

It's Monday and I'm knackered. What will this week bring?

Thanks to the Farming Life Centre for letting me share their stand, exhibit the quilt for the 2 days of the show and promote the project.

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