The Installation; sharing stories gathered from the local community, inviting visitors to listen, sew and share.
On arrival in the entrance hall visitors were greeted by a Patchwork Stories team member, inviting them to the wall to choose a tag with a strip of material attached to it. The team member then showed them to the first room where they were invited to pick out from a suitcase of materials, the piece that matched the strip on the tag they had chosen. From here as visitors moved through the installation, they were taken through a series of 3 further invitations:
- listen and reflect on community stories
Holding their piece of material visitors moved over to the comfortable chairs, and took up the headphones laid out for them. Either randomly, or referring to the titles of the sound recordings, the visitors silently listened to the edited stories. They could stay for as long or as little time they wished.
- participate in patching pieces of fabric together
- share a story alone or in conversation
Surprisingly many, many people wanted to go to this room and be interviewed. This was unexpected, I had anticipated that visitors would feel this as a pressure, a big ‘ask’ and having come to an installation would not necessarily want to give something to it. However, feedback from participants has told me otherwise. People found that the flow through the first stages had stimulated the desire in them to speak and be heard. Very few people asked what we would do with these recordings, and in fact the sound quality is so bad – noisy and distracting background sound – that we can’t use them in any way. But it was enough for people to sit and speak. People said that the desire to be interviewed took them by surprise. A story simply popped out at them and they wanted to tell it. Rather than experiencing pressure about being asked to give something, visitors’ feedback described an experience of receiving; being given the time and attention of the interviewer.
Finally, back in the entrance hallway, refreshments were offered and a moment to chat and connect with others who had been there before leaving. We had expected people to stay for 10, 20, 30 minutes at most. But no one stayed less than 20 minutes and most people stayed for an hour or more. There was hunger for the stories, the conversation and the connections.
- Sharing A STORY MADE ME REALLY [feel] SOME IMPORTANT MOMENTS OF CONNECTION
- THANKS IT MAKES ME DREAM. [to] SHARE IS [to] LIVE TWICE
- THANKS FOR MAKING THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN. THIS WAS SO POWERFUL AND I REALLY ENJOYED. THANK YOU SO MUCH :)
- "ALL MY LIFE MY HEART HAS YEARNED FOR A THING I CANNOT NAME" ?
- WONDERFUL WORK, SO BEAUTIFULLY LAYERED TO DRAW YOU IN - LISTENING, SHARING + DOING. I WISH I HAD LONGER!
- WONDERING ABOUT THE STORIES I MISSED AND ABOUT THE STORIES I WOULD HAVE TOLD. WOULD LIKE TO MAKE SOMETHING MORE QUILT-LIKE WITH THE OTHERS...TO CHAT AND SWAP AND SEW WAS THERAPEUTIC (BUT I DIDN'T LIKE THE FABRIC!) THANKYOU!
- JUST GREAT! THE STORIES THE VOICES THE PREGNANT PAUSES AND CHOCKED WORDS. I LOVED IT ALL AND HAD MOMENTS WHEN I FELT THAT I OUGHT NOT TO BE HEARING WHAT I WAS HEARING.
- Gentle, inviting, non-threatening space to be, listen and share. So much to listen to, so much to share, so sadly I did not spend enough time. Loved the material, thread, sense of connectivity and the notion of mending. Great! I loved each part of it. Listening to many moving stories, recognising common ground as well as hearing/sharing in very different experiences. I do not often sew but this was a very special kind of sewing. Being with others, giving such a simple activity real unhurried attention, having 'my' piece connected by thread to so many others, it not mattering whether they were here or had left the table. - as Robert Frost wrote 'men work together though they work apart' referring to the scything of a meadow, leaving uncut some flowers for the butterflies. - And I loved being invited to tell a story which took me back to some wonderful moments thirty year ago and connected them with experiences now....
*Photos by Briana Bower and Carina Ripley. Please contact us for more detailed information.