Social Fabric is a collective art project and a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Western Mass. Throughout December, rug artisan Jo Hesse co-created a large and extremely colorful felt rug with members of the community. The collaborative aspect is what Jo finds most exciting about her work – the moments of complete community – where creativity, physical activity, and resources are shared. A closing reception and auction will be held for the finished rug on Friday, January 27th at 6PM and all proceeds will be donated to The Food Bank. Our friend Melissa Ferrick, who recently played a show at Bombyx and fell in love with the project, has volunteered to emcee the auction.
The first week of the project was spent designing the surface and arranging the colors of the rug. Then we moved on to turning the wool into cloth. We used traditional techniques that Jo learned in Turkey, to make high quality, durable felt. Feltmaking is by nature a particularly communal activity, utilizing shared rhythms and a dance-like coordination of bodies. The collaborative aspect is what Jo finds most exciting about her work – the moments of complete community – where creativity, physical activity, and resources are shared, and something is able to be produced that one person alone would never have had the capacity to do. We invited percussionists and improvisational musicians to jam to the rhythm of our work, keeping the beat for the feltmakers, while creating another layer of spontaneous communal art. There were plenty of ways to participate for people of all ages and abilities.
Jo Hesse led this month-long community rug making workshop & residency at Bombyx in December in the Music Room including some special events as part of the project.
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This program was supported in part by grants provided by the Amherst, Hadley, Goshen, Whately and Plainfield Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.