We finished working on the “Weave” installation at M.G. Road, Metro Station Sunday Feb 21st as part of the Open Streets event. It has been delightful to see the tapestry grow inch by inch over several weeks. 15 youth have spent close to 6 weekends building the tapestry by using scrap material sourced from tailors. Cut and stitched into log strips, the weft has been slowly woven through the warp made up of cotton rope, plastic rope, and fishing line.
The Place Arts crew were at it the whole day, and I observed that they are able to weave so much faster now. There were tons of people walking by, many who chose to become participants, from young to old to very old. Children, parents, grandparents joined us in weaving the tapestry; placeArts crew took another role on this day, of becoming facilitators. They began instructing the participants on how to weave. Some grandmothers found joy in weaving as a reminiscence of the craft of knitting and weaving they used to do or still do and some chose to share their stories verbally about their days when they would sit for long hours engaging in craft.
The idea behind weaving a large scale tapestry in a public space like the Rangoli Metro Center that has many pedestrians, is that passers-by stop to touch the tapestry, fascinated by different textures made by different weaves. Sometimes we don’t even touch the clothes we wear, we become mere hangers. Our intention was to create different visual and tactile textures through weaving on a single large scale panel, to give an experience to passers-by through touch, at the same time learn and teach different weaving techniques.
We have been quite successful in doing this – the group learnt varied techniques, at the same time the visual and tactile quality of the tapestry invited others to come and look closely and touch as well. Children were extra enthusiastic – and as far as their hand could reach, they wanted to pull everything out.
As we walked up to the tapestry yesterday, we were greeted by many people taking selfies against the tapestry. It was already a piece of ‘Public Art’ now. We had no right over it anymore, I guess, we never had. It belongs to that place and the people who can’t resist from engaging with it.