by Alison Moger, Textile Worker, Valley and Vale Community Arts
Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of working with Valley and Vale Community Arts as a freelance Textile Artist, facilitating and taking part in workshops with Mental Health Matters in Bridgend and working with adult Asylum Seekers at a Drop-In Centre at Trinity Church in Cardiff.
At the Trinity Church project the candle-making workshop was really successful, stimulating conversations about the natural beeswax used; this encouraged discussions about nature and the environment, opening up conversations and awareness of the threat to bees. This workshop gave people the confidence to share their own information and experiences, and the group loved the fact that they could also all take home what they had made.
Other Visual Arts workshops I have been facilitating at the Centre include card-making and felt art workshops which were also stimulating and successful. The fact that group members could drop in and make something in one workshop to wear or take home gave them a real sense of achievement.
Facilitating these Visual Arts, Crafts and Textiles workshops what is most evident to me is that from Mental Health to mixed cultural backgrounds, we all have much more in common than we have differences. My workshops offer people the chance to create things easily that they can take home and share with others. In the sessions working around tables making things together also gives participants a safe, gentle space in which they can share stories, get to know each other, and feel a sense of being part of a group.
I hope the people I have been working with have had as much pleasure from the experiences as I have.