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Stitching Stories Workshop

In 2020, I had the privilege of visiting a class of embroidery students in Afghanistan and doing a workshop with the students there.  I sought to work together with these artisans on a project with the dual purpose of building relationships and making textile art together, focusing on our stories of family and faith.

I introduced the idea of stitching our stories by borrowing from the practice of henna designs used in cultural celebrations. I told them my story of family and faith in picture and encouraged them to draw their stories and then stitch those designs into provided fabric. 

I brought these embroideries home just as the pandemic was shutting down the world.  Setting them aside to quarantine, my mind turned to self-care and surviving isolation as the world changed.

Over a year later, the world news turned to Afghanistan. I pulled the neglected embroideries out of their lengthy quarantine and longing to care for the women who stitched them, I ironed them.  I ironed and I cried, and I prayed and I journaled, and I ironed some more. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

My heart breaks with each pass of the iron.

I sat with these young ladies and shared life stories as we stitched together. Their lives didn't look like mine, but we marveled at similar heartbreak of lost family and unexpected family struggles. Now they face unimaginable things, the loss of freedoms that were hard won and not knowing how much will be asked of them from the insurging Taliban troops. The single women fear losing their right to choose their own husband or worse; the married women fear losing their husbands and their children.  They all fear losing what little livelihood and possessions they have.

I wish I could erase their pain like this warm iron smooths the wrinkled cotton. But I pray for each as the iron works its magic causing their names stitched into the fabric to pop in bright silk thread.

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