Our March Main Meeting involved a collaboration with Art Macabre for a life drawing class with a twist!
Fueled by the Strongroom‘s W.I meeting meal deal of Poutine, we were ready to recapture the joy and freedom of how we drew as a child!
Our muse for the evening was the mother goddess of destruction Kali (our second meeting involving the theme of goddesses!). Expertly portrayed by Geta Von Tease who had the difficult task of portraying a deity with six arms, she provided several poses for the drawers in the room to replicate this effect. Where was Kali’s infamous belt fashioned from the heads of men? Alas, we had to turn to our imagination for that, although we didn’t have to dig too deep for inspiration given current world politics…
Art Macabre warmed the room up for the activity by asking us to first draw Geeta without looking at the page. Trusting our instincts was the aim. Another approach was to work together on a joint drawing, taking it in turns to hold the pencil together and guide our partner through the image.
To finish our very own Committee Member Katie Pepper posed as the defeated Shiva!
So August, clearly the time when people want to get their craft on! We were so happy to see so many of you joyfully abandon the sun and join us for an evening of jewellery making. The evening of crafting started with some basic (stolen from the internet) instructions on how to make rope necklaces and wire wrapped bracelets and off everyone went.
My first attempt at following my own instructions before the start of the meeting, put me very firmly in the Pinterest fail category, I ended up with the saddest bit of rope that I would struggle to get my dog to wear.
Not so, these ladies – we have some genuine gifted folk when it comes to crafting… it is the WI after all!
Forget about the price tag
Ain’t about the uh cha-ching cha-ching
Ain’t about the yeah b-bling b-bling
If any of our Shoreditch Sisters have a skill, hidden or otherwise that they want to share with the world (or the Shoreditch Sisters) and you could teach at a meeting – let one of the committee know. Or if you would just like to offer up a suggestion for a meeting, don’t forget you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can hit us up on Facebook.
January, a month for fresh starts, new beginnings and resolutions for the year ahead. How appropriate then that we kicked off 2016 in a brand new venue! It was so great to welcome back current members and meet some brand new ones too. There were just so many beautiful and smiling faces everywhere – it’s no wonder the man who wandered down the stairs and found himself lost didn’t want to leave!
Our new home (The Book Club in Shoreditch) was the perfect setting for our meeting this month – our Wimin’s Quiz of the Year!
All teams battled it out admirably across 6 rounds which were completed with furious whisperings, exclamations of joy, panic and sometimes despair. I managed to shoe horn in questions about my favourite two women on the planet (Amy Poehler and Tina Fey) and everyone had a good chat and a good laugh about the year that was 2015.
We had a bumper raffle this month including many fine unwanted Christmas gifts! However it was the ‘Crafting with Cat Hair’ book and the ‘Periodic Table shower curtain’ that got the most interest.
The free cakes went down a treat and were ridiculously tasty – I certainly enjoyed ALL of them (yes ALL of them). Our amazing bakers had been hard at work producing the finest for their sisters – including a vegan friendly, dairy free, gluten free brownie that was to die for!
The scores were tallied up and after a lot of confusion and bad math skills on the part of the very beautiful but ‘slightly’ overtired quiz mistresses KPVP (Katie – yes that’s me…) the winners were announced!
In a delightful self-fulfilling prophecy style way the winning team were the Winnin’ Wimin who instantly got stuck in to their prize of a bottle of prosecco and some luxury chocolates.
Well done to you all! We can’t wait to see you in February for our next meeting which is a Galantine’s day extravaganza!
Peace, love, light and laughter to you all in 2016, let’s make it a smasher!
What better way to say adieu to our temporary home than with a Christmas Crafts extravaganza. Pom poms, penguins and printing was the order of the day. Turns out making wool Pom poms is slightly trickier than it looks, also if you forget to tie the cut strands together before removing the circles what you essentially end up with is a very long winded way of cutting wool into very short strands!
The penguin and gingerbread lady station proved popular, with people reluctant to leave without finishing their creations. There was some beautiful decorated paper at the other table too. Excellent work ladies.
There was almost a scuffle at the raffle table for Pride and Preju-knits… Rightly so, who wouldn’t want to knit their own Darcy? A lot of books at this months raffle, with a few Jaffa cakes thrown in at the last minute.
‘Oh Mr Darcy!’
It was a great meeting to get everyone in the Christmas mood… If we don’t see you at the subgroups, we’ll see you in January. In our new home…The Book Club. On a new day… The second Tuesday of every month (don’t worry Knit & Natter will switch to the fourth Tuesday in its place).
On Saturday something amazing happened. People from all over Europe congregated in London to show their support for all those refugees currently struggling to find their place in this world. Tens of thousands of men, women and children joined the Solidarity with Refugeesmarch to Parliament Square led by a group of refugees; including some of our friends made from our campaigning with Women for Refugee Women. Everyone was there to send a message to the government.
Refugees are welcome here.
Although the WI steers clear of aligning itself with political groups (all views are welcome ladies) it doesn’t mean that we won’t stand up and show support for people who need a voice.
For those who have never marched before I say – try it – stand up – use your body to demonstrate the essence of your heart – there is nothing quite as remarkable as a group of people coming together for a common cause.
Once the backlog of people cleared and we started to march forward I heard a hum in the crowd…I couldn’t believe it… a song…‘Do you heeear the people sing? Singing the song of…’
what?…why are you raising your eyebrows?
OK, OK. So the crowd didn’t burst spontaneously into that stirring song from Les Mis but – honest to God – it had the same sentiment. One collective voice. And It sang…
‘Sing it loud, sing it clear, refugees are welcome here’
The best thing about these marches is the amazing ways people find to communicate their messages – a few of my favourite included a ‘Welcome’ door mat, an intricately cross stitched placard stating ‘Refugees Welcome’ (pictured below) and a child holding a sign she’d made out of a Shreddies box that morning – my heart literally broke.
The march ended with speakers in the square including of course the Corbynator…sorry, the Corbynmeister. Crap! Sorry! Jeremy Corbyn, the newly elected leader of the Labour Party. Again the WI is non-party-political but I will say this; the agitation of both the media and of all the political parties (including Labour!) following his appointment will surely spark more debate on issues as important as this one. And that cant be a bad thing.
For those of you who are watching BBC2’s Lucy Worsely present Cake Bakers and Trouble Makers tonight – you may see some familiar faces. What a couple of crazy months it has been in the Shoreditch Sisters’ Solidarity Quilt campaign. Time to take stock and talk about what’s next, to keep this amazing momentum going.
WHERE DID WE START?
Almost two years ago now, we started a knitting project with a group of refugee women from Women for Refugee Women. Here we swapped knitting skills, women from the WI and refugee women alike, culminating in more knitted squares than anyone knew what to do with. During these knitting sessions, many of the refugee women spoke of the time they had spent in detention and the inhumane treatment they had suffered there. They had been imprisoned not because they had committed a crime, but because they had sought safety in the UK. What is more, many of their friends were still locked up in detention.
We decided to turn the squares into our beautiful Solidarity Quilt; a powerful symbol of female solidarity with women inside detention demanding that women seeking asylum in the UK are treated with justice and dignity. Kick starting a full on Solidarity Quilt tour we made a first stop at the Women of the World festival where we sewed the blanket together and the UK public wrote messages of support to the women inside. Next stop was Yarl’s Wood detention centre, where the quilt hung for a month and our Trojan horse echoed support from within detention’s walls. Finally we knitted in bright craftivist protest at the summit to End Sexual Violence with the message that if the UK Government is serious about tackling sexual violence, then decent support needs to be offered to those women who flee it.
WHAT HAPPENED THEN?
With news that the home secretary Theresa May was conducting a review into detention centres, we grabbed hold of the momentum and made even more noise: Dressing up as Theresa May at our second Women of the World festival to urge Mrs May to be ambitious in her review. In the run up to the election, our Solidarity Quilt was displayed in the Victoria & Albert’s ‘All of this belongs to you’ exhibition. We marched along with the ‘Say No to Racism’ march holding our ‘migration is beautiful’ placards. And joined 100s of people in demonstrations outside of Harmondsworth and Yarl’s Wood detention centres where the detainees inside joined in with our chants of ‘Freedom!’
The solidarity movement with people in detention is growing through great efforts by passionate individuals, sisters and organisations as the Movement for Justice and Women for Refugee Women. Not only are there now 100s of people speaking up against detention, the High Court of Justice ruled that detaining fast track asylum seekers is unlawful. Asylum-seekers would therefore no longer be detained throughout the asylum process simply for claiming asylum. A massive win, showing that ending detention is possible.
WHAT IS NEXT?
For all of you in Shoreditch Sisters’ Campaigning, the next big moment is on Saturday 8 August when we will be joining a massive protest with women outside and inside Yarl’s Wood.
But there is more to come! If you’re interested in joining Shoreditch Sisters Campaigns, let us know by emailing us or join our Facebook group to keep up to date with our meetings.
Blog post by Rachel Wandelaar for Shoreditch Sisters WI
A beautiful, small and perfectly formed Knit and Natter was had by all this month. We discussed the Sewing Bee’s insanely beautiful Liberty Quilt, roller skating, murder mystery parties and what Lottie Gough’s WI would look like if she took the helm…
Hey! So what crafting is this?
I am making a jumper. I am only part way through said jumper and there is an issue with it’s potential length. But it will be beautiful because it is made from alpaca.
So you’ve just taken over Shoreditch Sisters: you are now President! You’ve organised an absolutely amazing main meeting for this month. It’s going to be in amazing new venue: where is it?
I would have it in what was the Summer Palace in China before bits of it got destroyed in the cultural revolution. Boom.
Well that going to be amazing. And we’ve got ourselves a new bar person: who is it?
It’s Ryan Gosling. It’s Drive Ryan Gosling. I just want him.
Don’t we all, well I think I need a drink and it’s your round: what are we having?!
I’d buy everyone a Tequila and lemonade because it is the most underrated drink but once you’ve tried it you’ll say “why have I never tried this before?!”
And under the new regime the parties are always catered. What are we having for food?
One massive New Orleans barbecue: pulled pork, ribs, wings, chips of course, coleslaw, everything.
I’m going to be stuffed. We have an amazing speaker: who is it and what are they chatting about?
Frank Warren who does Postsecret, I’ve watched the TED talk about twenty times and I cry every time.
What an incredible talk… No, I’m not crying I’ve just got something in both my eyes… but anyway it’s time for the dessert trolley! What’s on it?
There’s sooo much: desert is the most important meal of the day. We are having lots of tiramisu, anything with cream. A smorgasbord of deserts, like when you go to Red Hot Buffet and you’re like “Wow”.
For the second half of the meeting we are learning a new skill: what is it?
I have just finished a Rob Ryanesque paper cutting course and I’d like to get better. It’s a skill I think loads of people should try because it’s really easy but also really good!
And now onwards to the raffle. Raffle Raffle. And you only go and ruddy win! What did you win?!
That’s my round the world ticket to fly away.
Wow, great prize. At the end of the meeting you’ve got one piece of advice to pass on: what is it?
Delete Tinder from your phone and never look back!
Haha, I think I might do it!
The next Knit and Natter will be held at Leon in Spitalfields Market on Tuesday 14th July at 6:30. Pop along and maybe you’ll be the next President for the Day!