On December 18th I rounded off a wonderful textiles project I was running over the last 5 weeks in conjunction with the Boaz Trust.

The Boaz Trust is a Christian charity that offers safe accommodation to refused asylum seekers and refugees, allowing these individuals the opportunity to rebuild their lives. Part of the support Boaz offers is Boaz Life – a programme of wellbeing, recreational and educational activities for those in the accommodation. That’s where we came in!

I have extensive experience of working in Africa and create up-cycled clothing collections that merge the richness of African textiles with western styling.
By the end of the project the participants had completed functional pieces that they were really proud of and that expressed their identity. The process enabled the participants to learn new skills whilst relieving stress, and encouraging friendship and community. The project fostered and focused on the transference of creative skills and enabled the participants to build in confidence while interacting socially.
The participants engaged incredibly well with this project and gave lovely, positive feedback.

“I am stressed, but when I come here, I forget everything – my mind is just focused on the project.  The group feels like my family!”
“It has been fun and enjoyable – we laugh and chat and people in the group compliment your work and make you feel good!”
“I jump out of bed on a Monday morning, I don’t feel stressed. It’s good to be with other people and not lonely.”
The participants were particularly proud of their finished pieces  
“I think my bag is beautiful and I made it!”
“I am so proud I made this (cushion)! It will go in the living room, not my bedroom, because I want everyone to see it!”

The pieces will soon have an exhibition alongside Arc’s next major exhibition ‘Cherish’ that celebrates women and their identities. Follow Arc on Facebook for updates or join the mailing list.

by Mia Nisbet, lead artist