Written by Eva
We started thinking of this project by wanting to do a collaborative patchwork so Sujata suggested us doing a tree, knowing that would be a meaningful theme. Trees have the quality of creating small universes, they bring earth and sky together.
She was also the one who suggested a banyan tree, having in mind what special trees they are. How they’re considered sacred as a symbol of immortality, how they begin life inside of another tree and the way they spread unwearied after that.
The tree would be the vine that holds together all the pieces, the stories that each and every one will tell on a patch of cloth.
Before our Stitching Stories workshop had started, I began drawing outlines for the soon to be banyan tree on a big piece of sand-like cloth. Four banyan trees in, I stopped. I chose one and I drew it with a brown oil pastel onto the cloth.
Day 5 of the workshop we summoned every bookworm upstairs, to the activity room, and introduced them to the banyan tree collaborative project. Right away, the girls in the workshop, the interns and every other bookworm started working on their 12 by 12 cm square, first on paper, and then onto cloth. For the first time then, I could experience what this project was really about, and understand why Sujata was so tenacious that I take up initiative on it. Seeing how everybody, side by side, was so immersed in their own patch, the conviviality that was born, all that made me realise what true power hides behind stitching as a group, towards a common ideal.
The tree keeps on growing, even though its outline is still the same on the cloth. It’s roots are roping in all the new Bookworm family members, more and more patches have sprung up, promises of new ones are lined up around the corner. Then, of course, came the question: ” Are all of these really going to fit onto the tree?”.
What is this tree evolving into, even I am wondering, and soon enough we’ll all see..