Asian Women's Gardening and Crafts Club: A Shared Heritage Project

By Niti Acharya | 25 May 2008
Group photo of women

© Geffrye

Vivacious, adventurous and entertaining are just three words that can be used to describe the participants of the Geffrye Museum’s Asian Women’s Project. This shared heritage project by the museum, in partnership with Hackney’s Asian Women’s Advisory Service began in June 2007 and has grown in scope as time has passed. Testimony to this is the continuation of the project throughout 2008, though it was due to end in March.

The 15 participants have voluntarily turned up week after week to use the museum and its gardens as a springboard to stimulate their imaginations and get their creative juices flowing. The women took pleasure in the opportunity to explore their own arts and craft skills, develop them further and even learn new ones.

While some of them were a dab hand with a needle and thread and had no difficulty working with assorted fabrics to make beautiful lampshades, others showed off their culinary skills with an assortment of breads and vegetable cakes.

Other sessions included following a whole process, from cultivating plants, vegetables, herbs and spices to using them in practical workshops such as cooking and baking or making accessories, herbal cosmetics, flower arrangements and natural remedies.

Photo of women enjoying a craft session

© Geffrye

Their free-spirited and adventurous nature enabled new projects to be introduced to them and they demonstrated exactly how talented they were by mastering new skills. From painting silk scarves and making fragranced soaps to creating their own herbal cosmetics, the women have creatively engaged with the Geffrye Museum and its theme of home and garden. They have had the opportunity to explore what the notion of ‘home’ means to different people and how this has changed over time, as well as sharing what home means to them.

To celebrate and share the work of the participants, the Geffrye Museum will be holding a small temporary display from March 30 2008 until the end of May 2008 and also hosting a family day on Sunday 30 March 2008 to celebrate the Asian Women’s Project. Come and join in the fun sharing some of the same enthusiasm and energy these women have shown during the past year.

A Touch of Spice: Family Day on Sunday 30 March, 12.30-4.30pm

Make soaps from herbs, flowers and spices, create glitzy Bollywood-style frames and accessories, hear stories from across Asia and learn how to dance Bhangra-style with the 4x4 Bhangra Dancers at the Geffrye Museum’s Family Day, to celebrate the Asian Women’s Project.For more details on the project and exhibition please contact:
Head of Learning Alison Lightbown alightbown@geffrye-museum.org.uk
Project Co-Ordinator Julie Begum jbegum@geffrye-museum.org.uk
Geffrye Museum www.geffrye-museum.org.uk Tel: 020 7739 9893

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