Sunday, April 27, 2014

White Ribbon

a small section of the 150 metre embroidered white ribbon 
On International Women's Day, 8 March 2014, an amazing community event occurred.... It was a 14 hour stitch-a-thon starting at 6am and finishing at 8pm ( 14 hours for 2014). Not only did we celebrate the achievements of women doing an activity generally classified as domestic art, we also raised awareness for the national and international campaign against domestic violence. We embroidered a white ribbon .... at Newcastle's well known  gallery, devoted to textile and fibre art - Timeless Textiles 
Early morning stitchers - the first came at 6.15am 
Why White Ribbon?   This is directly from the White Ribbon website .... White Ribbon is the world's largest male-led movement to end men's violence against women. White Ribbon Australia is a non-profit organisation and Australia's only national, male-led primary prevention campaign to end men’s violence against women.Through primary prevention initiatives and an annual campaign, White Ribbon Australia seeks to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to and perpetuate men’s violence against women, by engaging boys and men to lead social change.

Family groups, and groups of friends enjoyed the beautiful  weather  stitching outside

Many of the 70 + stitchers came in groups - friends and families, male and female, all ages but there were some who came alone; some  were passing by and  stopped to stitch. Some of the stitchers were very experienced from groups like the Newcastle Creative Embroiderers and Textile Artists, and for others, this was their first experience with needle and thread. 
Both experienced and inexperienced stitchers contributing to the stitched white ribbon 
It was great to see at least three generations stitching together and the true sense of community this event generated. We had the support of community service groups like Rotary and Zonta, as well as visitors from overseas marvelling at the event. 
Standing room only? 

Hunter Zonta and White Ribbon supporters. 
The Hunter Zonta Club  treated the stitchers to a beautiful cocktail party to finish the long day. 
and  White Ribbon Ambassador, Kevin Maher offered his support of the event and reiterated his dedication  to  the anti-domestic violence campaign. 
Nicola Henley, internationally acclaimed  textile artist and the last stitch on International Women's Day 
While Nicola Henley, celebrity stitcher, put the last stitch into the ribbon at 8pm on International Women's Day, there were still quite a few metres to stitch to complete the 150 metres, so many thanks to friends who came to my house and stitched for a few more hours last week.... and now the white ribbon is finished. 

What happens to the white ribbon now? It will be the hanger for the beautifully printed and stitched "hope" flags, created by women in Pushkar, India. This is a collaborative project between local stitchers and  Indian participants in the Stitching Project , led by Newcastle textile artist, Fiona Wright. All of the flags will  hang from the white ribbon and adorn shop awnings in Islington on Mothers' Day, 11 May 2014. Each individual flag and  its section of the white ribbon will be auctioned to raise funds for micro loans and support for village women. To be involved in this project, go to the Timeless Textiles page

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