In spring 2011, I became aware of a great little start up project that I have been continually following the progress of, named Significant Seams. The project run by the amazing and passionate Catherine West works with a wide range of individuals, and through the use of creative textile workshops has the aim of in some part changing their lives for the better. Sewing has been proven to be medically beneficial to survivors of trauma and those experiencing anxiety and depressive disorders. It activates the ‘relaxation response,’ a counterpoint to the heightened state of alertness (fuelled by ‘fight or flight’ hormones) associated with stress related conditions. Along with the scientific proof that social sewing groups can be beneficial to those suffering from the above conditions, Sewing and textile craft have a long history of promoting fellowship and social support. Through their intent to foster support, new perspectives and practical skills, all which nurture self-confidence, this exciting new community interest company will have much to celebrate over the coming months.
Recently Significant Seams has expanded and developed from the small-scale workshops of the Waiting for Baby and The Sewing Circle programmes run within local community centres across Walthamstow. These respective programmes worked with expecting mums and young parents (Waiting for baby), as well as survivors of abuse, depression and anxiety disorders (Sewing Circle). From the start of 2012 the project has undergone some exciting changes, taking residence in their own space (The Significant Seams Hub) within the newly developed Wood Street indoor market – Walthamstow.
Excitingly, Significant seams are currently working on a community quilt. The quilt will celebrate Walthamstow, citizenship and neighbourliness, posing the questions; what is it that makes you a good neighbour? What does it mean to be neighbourly? And how can this be achieved? Local residents will be encouraged to produce small pieces to add to the quilt that will represent any of the core themes. These can be produced in any number of different methods; local residents can also learn new methods and techniques by attending workshops within the new significant seams “hub”.
Significant Seams is a social enterprise funded through the sale of crafting tools (specifically those for textile crafts) as well as receiving funding and sponsorship from a wide range of high-street stores (John Lewis, Vicking and Homebase), as well as varied support and partnerships from local organisations and authorities (Waltham Forest council, E17 art house, E17 designers and Tumble in the jungle).
This brilliant organisation should be celebrated and supported, and luckily there are many ways in which you can do this – by signing up to a workshop (the price of your workshop supplements those from lower incomes and enables them to attend), buying some textile tools or donating your spare time.
For more information on the workshops offered at Significant Seams please contact Catherine West: firstname.lastname@example.org
Images courtsey of Madeline Spokes