Thursday, March 3, 2016

Flying Free on International Women's Day



You're invited to:

'Flying Free'

Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery will continue a five-year tradition of holding community-based art events to celebrate International Women’s Day, with the culmination of its Flying Free project featuring a huge flock of hand-made fabric birds that will ‘fly free’ outside the gallery in March this year.
Timeless Textiles has collaborated with local artist, Wilma Simmons, to create the IWD art events, with local artists offering free community fibre art workshops, using techniques such as embellishing, screen printing, painting, stitching and dyeing. As well as the chance to learn new skills, the workshops allow people to brush up on their techniques and, of course, to enjoy themselves. The focus for IWD has varied each year including stitching 100 metres of white ribbon for 14 hours (2014) and creating hope flags.

Seb, one of young creative bird makers with Wilma SImmons
For IWD last year approximately 2,000 fabric tiles, created in workshops over seven months by more than 200 people, were laid into an art path designed by local Aboriginal elder, Elsie Randell, at the front of the Hunter Street Gallery and Letting Go was celebrated by over 150 local people.
Now these 2,000 tiles have been re-purposed into birds as part of the Flying Free project.
After attending the Letting Go event last year, UK fibre artist Abigail Brown was inspired to develop a template for fabric birds to contribute to Flying Free for 2016 IWD. With more than 1,070 birds created to date, Flying Free will see a huge flock of colourful creations hanging in the Norfolk pine treesoutside Timeless Textiles Gallery on 4pm 8 March 2016, to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Our first bird ..made by Abigail Brown
Each bird will be hung with a white ribbon (symbol of the anti-domestic violence campaign) and these beautiful handmade fabric birds can be purchased for a donation of $20, with all money raised donated to local women’s refuges in the Newcastle area –Jenny’s Place (Newcastle), Warlga Ngurra (Wallsend) and Carrie’s Place (Maitland).

Free Flying Free workshops
Flying Free workshops have attracted people of all ages, from three-year-old children to very elderly people, local residents and holiday makers, textile artists and absolute beginners - all stitching, embellishing and decorating these birds.
Although Abigail Brown’s template has been used, each bird is unique, reflecting the personality of its creator. Each week there is a group of regular Flying Free friends and repeat creators who offer new ideas and share different techniques, but newcomers are always welcome. While the goal has been to create fantastical birds, other benefits have been the development of wonderful friendships, exciting and fresh ideas, and improved skills – and all for free!
Workshop materials have been donated by local businesses and individuals and the Wednesday workshops have been mostly full. Timeless Textiles  Gallery have done special workshops for women’s groups, creative groups and schools, and have conducted workshops at the Tomaree Peninsula Community Centre, Tinonee Gardens Multicultural Village in Abermain, and in the recently flooded town of Dungog. Groups and individuals from North Queensland and across NSW have also sent in birds created at home, using Flying Free project kits.



The project has not only promoted the accessibility of textile art to the community but also raised awareness of the need to act against domestic violence in creative ways. Over 530 people have created birds. Timeless Textiles owner Anne Kempton said: “This project works because it creates a sense of community in the right place, with right people and at the right time.”
The birds will fly free at 4pm Tuesday, 8 March 2016 outside Timeless Textiles Gallery. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate International Women’s Day at Flying Free, which will be opened by Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon MP and Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.
Refreshments are available  from 4pm and FlightPATH exhibition will be open at Curve Gallery.

Thank you all for your kind involement in 'Flying Free' ... it has been the most wonderful of projects. Happy IWD to us all!