A new year

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Hive community dye plant garden, January 2013

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Hive community dye plant garden August 2013

The Fabric of Bradford is now beginning the second year of projects and activities based around the city. We have set up traditional dye plant gardens in Shipley (at Hive), in Manningham (Midland Road Nursery and Children’ s Centre), in West Bowling (St Stephens Community garden) and at community allotment projects. Traditional dye plants have also been planted in the permanent displays at Roberts Park. Participants have tried traditional dyeing using locally grown dye plants and locally produced fibres and fabrics; ‘Talking Textiles’ sessions have included recording of oral histories and textile-making activities, and sessions exploring contemporary issues around sustainability and textiles have also taken place. We have also delivered shorter term events raising the profile of the project including: delivery of family activities at Saltaire World Heritage Weekend; a two day event at Hive for families with younger children; and taster and peer-to-peer skill sharing sessions at a refugee allotment project and at local libraries. Our partner organisations have provided sessions as part of these learning activities including talks and workshops at the Colour Experience and Bradford Textile Archive and regular horticulture sessions from BCEP about growing and using traditional dye plants. These projects and sessions have been delivered to families, schools, older people, mental health groups and BME community organisations.

The feedback from our participants has been really encouraging:

‘I only had a patchy idea of the textile and dyeing heritage and now I have a bit more. It’s been an absolute pleasure to approach heritage through this route.’

‘I’m fascinated by what we’ve been introduced to and the wealth of archive materials and links with the global textile industry.’

‘I have really enjoyed finding out about the history of West Bowling and particularly the dyeing heritage. Learning about dyeing has made me think about other things I can try and do.’

In 2014 we will continue to work across Bradford in a variety of community settings including InCommunities and with Age UK. There will be an exhibition of work from the project in October (venue to be confirmed) and an online and paper resource will also be available.

Would you like to get involved in the Fabric of Bradford? If you are interested in participating, volunteering or you know of a group who would be interested in taking part in the project please contact Claire Wellesley-Smith at Hive tel: 01274 598928.