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Traces: Stories of Migration Workshops for Textile Practitioners

Are you a maker with textile skills? Here’s your chance to develop your practice and produce a new work alongside internationally acclaimed artist, Lucy Orta.

Traces: Stories of Migration is a community art project exploring migration stories across East London, delivered in collaboration with Making for Change. Now, they’re looking for 25 textile practitioners to share stories, exchange craft skills and create textile artworks that will be showcased at several exhibitions from June 2023. The project draws from the migrant history of the East End Rag Trade to build on the sustainable fashion and textile practices burgeoning in the East End.

What you will do
Taking place at The Lab E20 every Wednesday from 9 November to 14 December, 6pm-8pm, the weekly workshops will be an inclusive, welcoming space to share personal stories and memories, learn new craft skills, and make textile artworks. Read on to find out what the workshops will entail. 

Sharing Stories
Traces involves sharing family migration stories. You will have the chance to listen to members of the group tell their stories, and you can share yours if you want to. To help with this, you might like to bring a personal keepsake with you. A keepsake is a personal object that helps you remember your story. 

Story Cloths
During the workshops, you will turn your story into textile artwork called Story Cloths. The resulting artworks will convey the memories, histories, and heritage of communities living in East London. Artist and project lead Lucy Orta and the team will be on hand at all times to support you. 

You will tell your story and create your Story Cloth using artistic processes and techniques including mind mapping, moodboards, block printing, stencil printing, embroidery, and appliqué. You will have the opportunity to develop existing skills or learn new practices to best represent your story.

Participants in the Traces project will be invited to a showcase on Thursday 15 December. This will give everyone the chance to share the work they’ve created, as well as the story that informed it. Lucy Orta will also present some of the work she has created in response to the stories and participants that have engaged with the project.

Where your work could be exhibited
The work made in the workshops will be displayed in public exhibitions at Nunnery Gallery, Bow; Fashion District Festival, Stratford, and London College of Fashion’s new gallery at East Bank next year. 

What we’re after 
If you’re an artist, textile practitioner, or a maker with textile skills and have first, second or third generation migrants with connections to East London, then the team would love to hear from you! 

What to send
The simple application form will ask you to write about yourself and your eligibility for the programme. For example, tell us about your relationship to east London; what textile skills can you bring to the workshop; and what would it mean to you to take part in the project?

When to send it 
Applications close on Friday 28 October. All applicants will be contacted on Wednesday 2 November.

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